Anti-bullying week: Start Telling Other People
Earlier this week we spoke to Lauren Seager-Smith, the National Coordinator of the Anti-bullying Alliance (ABA) – a coalition of highly skilled individuals collaborating together to stop bullying and create safe environments for young children in the UK. The Alliance was established by the NSPCC in 2002 and is hosted by the National Children’s Bureau. This year’s theme is ‘we’re better without bullying’ it aims to ‘shine a light on bullying and its effect on achievement and under achievement’. Eighteen year old Sally Briars was a victim of bullying from the age of 5 to 15. She suffered in mostly silence for over nine school years during which period the bullying escalated from verbal to physical. At 16, she sought relief from ABA. This is her story.
The first instance
Sally was first approached by her tormentors in year one, at the defenseless age of 6.
“I was shy and quiet at that age, I didn’t speak to many people unless I had to. That probably made me an easy target for bullying because perhaps they thought that I wouldn’t say anything and they were right, I didn’t, I kept it to myself which was a mistake. I was bullied up until year 10 when I was 15, both my schools really supported me, mainly my secondary school as I didn’t report the bullying during my primary years until I was in year 3 when the bullying suddenly got worse.”
At the age of eight, bulling took a new turn for Sally and she decided it was time to open up about her experiences, starting with her family.
“I reported the bullies to my head mistress after telling my parents, I had never really told them in the past about the bullying apart from the odd name calling. After I told them, I found the courage to speak to the head mistress who sorted it all out, she had teachers keep an eye on me when I moved up a year, despite this, it still continued at a low level.”
Sally found adequate support in secondary school, where teachers enrolled her in support sessions and assigned her a learning mentor. “I was introduced to the school’s anti-bullying club FAB which stands for Friends Against Bullying that’s where the support really helped me gain confidence.”
Aid from Young ABA
In year 10, at 15, Sally enrolled as a member of Young ABA, where she felt she could really get her views across about the tormentors and finding a way out. “As I got older, mainly year 7 onwards, I chose to keep small incidents to myself using skills I’d learned over the years. I learned about ABA a little when I was in year 8 receiving my first Diana Award but even more so when I became a board member for the Young ABA in 2008.”
Beating STOP: Bullying Several Times on Purpose
Sally’s STOP theory helps to identify the line when bullying can be classed as bullying. She identifies a definition to the term which can help give young people the confidence to speak out about being victimized. STOP bullying is Several Times On Purpose, once identified, the way to beat bullying is to once again STOP – Start Telling Other People. “If we keep it to ourselves and just let it happen then it will be like letting the bullies win,” she says, “we don’t want that to happen, we are the ones who want to win and stomp out bullying in young people of all ages”. Bullying can extend to a lifetime of torment if not controlled since many people cannot find the confidence to stand up to abuse. If you’re being bullied don’t be afraid to tell someone, you won’t be a snitch, you’ll be doing the right thing on your behalf and the behalf of others who are also silent victims. Just keep STOP in your head at all times, even if you’re not being bullied but know someone who is you can help put a stop to it using STOP.
Nine years later
Sally has found confidence in herself thanks to awareness and advice groups. She has matured to a confident young lady whom she defines as a ‘completely new person’.
“Thanks to FAB (Friends Against Bullying) at my secondary school and the help of ABA and Young ABA, I went from being a quiet and nervous 11-year-old to the confident and chatty 18-year-old I am today, telling my story to all. If someone had said to me back in 2005 when I joined FAB that I would be telling my story to 270 girls everyday for the entire annual anti-bullying week, I would have thought they’d be talking about somebody else. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of all the people I’ve met through anti-bullying.”Tagged in: ABA, Anti-Bullying Week, FAB, STOP
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