Don’t just wear a pink shirt on Wednesday, February 23. Take a stand by showing others that bullying is not okay.
The Government of British Columbia defines bullying as “intentional, hurtful and aggressive behavior that makes others feel uncomfortable, scared or upset”. According to the province, one in three Canadian teenagers said they experienced the abuse before Pink Shirt Day last year.
This figure seems to be quite low, considering that almost half of Canadian parents said their children had been bullied recently. Of these children, those who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit queer, or questioning (LGTBQ) were three times more likely to experience abuse than their heterosexual peers.
Bullies are likely to pick on someone else’s sexuality, but they’re not above targeting someone’s religion, disability, or culture. They weaponize the way other people look, love, and believe in order to bring them down.
Bullies and the act of bullying itself come in many forms. One becomes a bully when one chooses to participate in bullying behavior. It seems obvious, but this type of bullying may be more subtle than it seems.
Laugh when you see someone feeling hurt, put down, or scared and you’re a bully. Take a picture of abuse on your cell phone for social media and you’re a prolific bully. Choose to do nothing in this scenario, and you might as well be a tyrant all the same.
Meanwhile, bullying causes deep and lasting emotional damage in survivors. Whether it’s hitting someone over the head, dropping their textbooks in the playground, or simple, old-fashioned insults, in person or online, bullying can lead to depression and anxiety or even suicidal thoughts. It can also leave someone feeling like they need to clean up their experiences by bullying others.
Whether it’s a child or an adult, bullying is about power.
Wearing a pink shirt on Pink Shirt Day is a noble and courageous act, but we will have to stand up against bullying directly if we are to eradicate it.
None of this calls for retaliation. But think of the pink shirt you’re wearing as a promise to take action when you’re being bullied. If you see someone being bullied, put them in their place by saying, “Stop it.
Let the person being bullied know that they are wanted, valued and appreciated.
If you think it’s not safe to intervene, divert a bully’s attention until you can report their behavior to a trusted adult or co-worker. Even small acts of kindness can make all the difference to someone in need.
Whatever else may be said, bullying is positively corrosive and has no place in our schools, homes or workplaces.
So please join people across BC in wearing a pink shirt on February 23rd. We can achieve great things when we work together.
pink shirt day