Do you forget about the bystander when you think about bullying?
Those who bully, and the people they target, are often the focus on days like Pink Shirt Day. But they’re not the only people who can help end bullying. Bystanders can also make a big difference.
“I witnessed a lot of my peers get bullied,” says Candace Chau, a Grade 12 student at Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam, B.C. “When I was younger, I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it.”
Studies show teens are most often bullied in front of their peers. They also show that, 57 per cent of the time, bullying stops within 10 seconds when a bystander steps in. By taking action, bystanders could help cut bullying behaviour in half.
Now, Chau is a Red Cross youth facilitator and helps deliver Beyond the Hurt bullying prevention workshops to younger teens in their classrooms. She gives them tools and strategies to help put a stop to bullying, including what to do as a bystander.
They are messages Chau, along with thousands of other youth facilitators across Canada, work hard to pass along each time they bring Red Cross Beyond the Hurt into classrooms.
“I think of all the things I could have done to prevent bullying or action I could have taken to help my peers, if I had been exposed to the Red Cross workshop when I was younger. When you have youth empowering youth, it really clicks in their head and they really take the content to another personal level because they feel that you have been through that as well,” said Chau.
So, this Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 22, make nice!
Make a promise to step in and help end bullying when you see it. Post your promise on Twitter using #PinkShirtPromise, and Shaw Communications & Coast Capital Savings will donate $1 to support bullying prevention programs like Red Cross’s Beyond the Hurt.