Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Conspiracy of silence

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke

For the past few months I've been going through a situation in which I've had to make the sentiments of this picture my daily mantra. Without going into the details, I have been in a situation where I stood up to a bully who, as a result, lost his position. I found it a really difficult thing to do, but things had become so bad that he was making a lot of people very unhappy. Things came to a head when I was sent a bullying message by him through Facebook which left me feeling shaken up and sick to my stomach. It was at this point I felt that I had to speak up. I later found out that this wasn't the first time he'd been guilty of bullying. My friends and family tell me that I've done the right thing and that I've been 'very brave' by speaking up. So why do I feel so bad?

Like all bullies he is a coward. Recently he passed me in the street and deliberately bumped into me before walking off without a word of apology. I expect he thought that I would find it intimidating, but it just made me laugh. It's not a very good feeling knowing that there's someone out there who probably hates me, but I can understand why. In his book, I'm the reason that he lost his job, but technically it was his own actions that brought this about.

It's not always easy doing the right thing. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. When I was in younger I was bullied by a work colleague but I was young and naive and didn't do anything about it. I used to dread going to work and left the job as soon as I could. That was one of the reasons I decided to speak up on this occasion. Bullies get away with it because they make people feel intimidated and scared. They make them feel that they'll be the ones who'll get in trouble if they say anything. But this leads to a 'conspiracy of silence' which enables the bullies to flourish. 

There have been a number of incidents over the years where young people have actually committed suicide because they were being bullied. Thankfully the schools and authorities are trying to do something about it. But I believe that we have our part to play in this. Children need to be taught by their parents that bullying is wrong. It's not just 'kids being kids'. It won't stop some people becoming bullies as adults; but it's a start. 

As adults we need to show them the way. If you are aware of a situation where there is a bully, be brave; speak up. Nobody likes a bully, so why should we allow our lives to be blighted by one for longer than necessary. Yes you might make an enemy, but would you want to be friends with someone capable of this type of behaviour anyway? As Winston Churchill said you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you've; 'Stood up for something, sometime in your lifetime,' and that can't be a bad thing, can it?. 

Lessons in life photo courtesy of:

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