Bullying isn’t child’s play

Today is National Anti-Bullying Day.  There are discussions and links flying around the net today with resources to help kids in danger.  Bullying is rampant, and I’m not sure what’s to blame, but it seems a lot worse than when I was growing up.

But I’m not talking about kids here, I want to talk about the bullying of adults: in the workplace, in Social Media and in Forums.

Bullying isn’t child’s play.

I remember during my uni days, working at a Caryard to try to pay my way through school.  It was (and still is) a male-dominated industry and there was a clear ‘boy’s club’ mentality.  The blokes would stand around together, making sexist jokes and innuendos and it was ok.  Well, it wasn’t ok, but there was nothing we could do about it.  Like it or lump it was the general consensus.  I worked there for about two years with the fear of upsetting one of the alpha males and losing my job.  I spoke up once about a situation where someone made a highly inappropriate comment, and it was made very clear that I should “Think hard about it” before I made a formal complaint.  Of course I didn’t, but my life was made pretty hard after that.  I was eventually ‘made redundant’ although the role was soon refilled.

If I could talk to my 22-year-old self, I would tell her to stand up for herself.  At the time, I felt I had to be quiet and keep my head down in order to stay employed and also for future employment prospects.  That’s not the case nowadays.

I’ve seen so many women bullied online in various forums, and there’s something about sitting behind the computer screen that makes others feel they can say whatever they want.  It’s not just our children being bullied.  Not at all.  In fact, sometimes adults can be a lot more malicious than teens or children.

So today, I’m wearing an orange scarf to show my support for ALL of the victims of bullying out there.

If you’re a victim of workplace bullying, in any form, please seek help.  I know it’s hard, but you don’t have to put up with it.

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Comments

  1. Bullying is hidden in blogging and social media as ‘free speech’, ‘My own opinion’, ‘sticking up for a friend’ etc.

    I see it way too often.

    Sadly, I am often too chicken to throw my own opinion in to defend people, which is nearly just as bad. I have at times sent DMs to people I think are being attacked on social media. They have always been shocked and thankful that someone else has noticed.

  2. Hear hear!!! One of the things you don’t get taught at university is how to deal with intimidation in the workplace, and it’s a real struggle (especially for young woman) to know how to respond to bullying and sexism without losing their dignity, self-esteem or even their jobs. If you start out with a tough, no-nonsense approach, you’re labelled as a humourless man-hater – and that’s just by the men, the lipstick mafia can be even meaner. But if you decide to put up with it until your position in the company is more firmly entrenched, you are likely to be derided as moody and (grrr) ‘hormonal’. I remember finally putting my foot down at a board meeting when the MD referred to one of my female colleagues as a ‘bitch’, and he wasn’t describing her behaviour or attitude, he just used the word in place of ‘woman’ as though the two terms were interchangeable. When I objected he suggested that it might be ‘my special time’. I stood up, told him he was offensive, packed up my pencils and walked. That was 1988, looking back I wish I’d punched him… Guess I’m not so evolved after all.

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