The RCMP reminds bystanders to do their part to stop bullying. Today (Spet. 13) is "Stand Up Against Bullying Day" in Nova Scotia and youth across the province are showing their support by wearing the colour pink.
The RCMP reminds citizens that bullying situations usually involve more than the bully and the victim; they involve bystanders who watch bullying happen or hear about it afterwards. Depending on how bystanders respond they can either contribute to the bullying or stop it. "Bystanders provide the audience a bully craves and by doing nothing a bystander allows a bully to continue their hurtful behavior." says Sgt. Brigdit Leger of the Nova Scotia RCMP. "Often without realizing it, these bystanders can contribute to the problem." As bullies can be very intimidating, some bystanders are afraid to speak up or intervene on behalf of the victim for fear of being singled out, becoming a target, or fear of reprisal after the crowd has dispersed. If this is the case the bystander should go get help right away or tell someone, such as a teacher or school counselor. Often the victim is too embarrassed or afraid to speak out themselves. Bystanders can intervene by discouraging the bully and drawing support from others. Bullying often stops as soon as someone steps in on behalf of the victim.
The RCMP offers the following safe and effective suggestions to stop bullying before it begins:
- Make it clear to your friends that you won’t be involved in bullying behaviour;
- Never stand by and watch or encourage bullying behavior;
- Do not harass, tease or spread gossip about others, this includes on social networking sites and never forward messages or photos that are offensive;
- Report the bully to someone you trust such as a teacher or parent.