Bullies end up in prison while victims suffer depression, says expert
Bullies usually find themselves behind bars while their victims end up suffering from depression, according to Dwayne Peace of Canadian-based organisation Dare to Care.
The former Calgary Police officer is now on the Island to put together a series of workshops for students, teachers and parents.
He told Hamilton Rotarians that while bullying has serious consequences, it can be combated.
Bullying is a learned behaviour, he said. Nobody is born and is stamped in the forehead that they are a bully. The good thing is everything that is learned can be unlearned.
Statistics prove that around 60 percent of school bullies will be arrested before the age of 24, he said.
Victims, on the other hand, are more likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide.
Suicide is murder by hate, Mr Peace said. Now we know that suicide is associated with mental health, but if we can deal with the negative, with the hate part, then the suicide rates will plummet because we will only be dealing with those with mental illness.
Many victims believe they are targeted by bullies because there is something wrong with them, he said.
When we are talking with the victims, with the targets, we let them know that its the bullies that have the problem, Mr Peace said. There is nothing wrong with them. It is the bullies who have the issues. If you got to know bullies the way I do, you would feel sorry for them.
We also want the bullies to know that if anything happens after today, they have no-one to blame but themselves.
Those who get involved in gangs or group activity dont often think about the likelihood that theyll be dead by the age of 21 or in jail, he said.
Saltus, Bermuda High School for Girls, Mount St Agnes and Somersfield have all participated in the Dare to Care programme.
Mr Peace said he hopes to extend its reach to even more students, parents and teachers.
He got involved with Dare to Care in 2003.
When I was in schools, I was seeing great children making bad choices not aware of the consequences, so I started to develop sessions to educate them, he said. I saw what the students were doing, and it was not acceptable. It was dangerous and I wanted to educate them so at least they cant say that they dont know.
He said Dare to Care generally advises victims to tell the bullies that they dont like how they are being treated. If that doesnt stop the behaviour, they are then taught to tell teachers and parents. Steps taken should be documented along the way.
The victim should not be afraid to go to the police and lay charges if necessary at any point in time, he added.
[You] do not have to go through all the steps before you call the police, but you do have to document, he said.
Mr Peace also said the issue of bullying has evolved due to the advancement of technology, with cyberbullying becoming more and more prevalent.
When I was growing up, like some of you, I had a safe place, he said. My safe place was in my house. I could get picked on my way to school, at school and on my way home, but once I got inside my house I was safe.
Our children today do not have a safe place because of texting, Facebook, myspace, twitter. They dont have a safe place. They come right into the house through technology.
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