February 27th is Pink Shirt Day in Canada and it’s an event that I’ve participated in since its inception in 2008. In 2008 a young male high school student wore a pink t-shirt to the first day school and was bullied for it. As a stand against bullying, a couple of guys handed out pink t-shirts and since then the last Wednesday of every February has been Pink T-Shirt Day.
I have been bullied. I was a child bullied by other children. I was a child bullied by a teacher. I was even bullied quite recently as an adult. I’d always meant for this blog to be kind of stupid, silly and fun but anti-bullying campaigns are important to me so for days I sat on this post trying to decide what to say and how much to tell. I wrote and deleted, wrote more and deleted more. In the end I decided that I won’t recount the days of being bullied because my bullies do not deserve any bit of my time and they do not deserve any recognition in my life. I have moved beyond them and I refuse to let them rule my life. But I remember those days. It’s very sad to me that there are people who don’t think about their actions and the consequences. We’ve seen it time and again when someone has been bullied so badly that they’ve taken their own lives. We see amazing sparks like Amanda Todd snuffed out by horrendous actions of a group of bullies. I wish I could say that the bullying lessens as we get older but sadly, it doesn’t bullies don’t always grow up. Take a look at Rebecca Marino; she has quit pro tennis because people who probably can’t even hit a ball were horrible to her. For a lot of us who have been bullied, it’s hard to forget.
A number of years ago I saw a commercial that aired in The Maritimes set in an office among male adults, one heavier man and a few slim men. I probably don’t have to tell you what the names used were. The bullied man walked away quietly and sat at his desk with this absolutely heartwrenching look on his face. It was an amazing commercial. The man who played the victim was so heartfelt I had tears in my eyes.
I couldn’t find that commercial but here’s a similar one but with harsher language:
The creator of this commercial says (and I’m paraphrasing) adults were featured because we’re so used to seeing kids get bullied and it’s 10 times worse to see adults in such situations; that it’s terrible to see adults bully each other and it’s just as bad as when kids bully other kids. It’s definitely disgusting to see adults do it but adults in real life can be bullies too. I’ve been bullied in the workplace (in one of my old jobs, not the current one) and as silly as it seems in a commercial it can really be a blow to your ego and self-esteem.
As adults, what can we do? We share knowledge and lead by example. We might not be able to stop the bullies of the world but maybe we can get them to think twice about their actions.
And in case there’s any doubt I come from a hockey city, check out this anti-bullying flash mob:
For more information about Pink Shirt Day, click here.
P.S. – Men who wear pink are so sexy.