Let’s all stand up to bullies

February 22, 2018

Katherine Langford plays Hannah in 13 Reasons Why.


Let’s start straight, I was bullied at school.

Recently, with the release of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why which deals with teen suicide, I have been forced to face my past and review old memories.

Memories of coming home crying from school and the horrible feelings that were always teamed up with the events.

Unlike the 13 Reasons Why main character Hannah, I was never physically abused, but mentally yes.

I was made to feel useless and unwanted.

In saying this, I never felt the need to leave this world.

I always had a strong and secure home to go to at the end of each day and my mother always knew what I was going through.

Yes I was followed around the school yard and abused in the street but I could always get away from it in the safety of my own home.

The difference is back then when I said ‘‘I was cyberbullied,’’ it was only the early stages of cyberbullying through text messages.

These days the cyberbullying list is endless.

Do you know what’s happening in your child’s cyber world?

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation has been a topic of discussion on television lately, after the suicide of 14-year-old Dolly Everett.

The foundation runs a program where advice on how to tackle bullying runs in four ways — for principals, teachers, students and parents.

At the foundation, they hear stories every day about children being exposed to bullying that, in the worst case, can lead to anxiety, depression and suicide.

Moving on from my school days, I had trouble letting people in, this was due to the trauma of bullying and the anxiety had set in.

To this day when I hear someone say ‘‘she’’ to another person, I immediately assume they are talking about me and that I have done something wrong or even worn the wrong clothes that particular day.

Next year it will be 10 years since I left school, 10 years since I graduated and found out I got into university, and until a few weeks ago I had always said, I would never go to my school reunion.

I felt I had nothing to show for myself, nothing to show for my three years at the university with a completed Bachelor degree.

Nothing to show for my Masters degree and a published book.

I was still scared of the bullies and it took me a long time to realise that.

Working casual hours, not having a secure job, no ring on my finger and no official job title, I could hear the judgement from hours away.

Now officially a cadet journalist at my dream job, I found myself saying ‘‘I wouldn’t mind going actually’’ to the reunion.

I felt a horrible realisation of what I was hiding from.

Seven Network’s breakfast program, Sunrise, has launched a new campaign ‘Beat the Bullies’ to fight for a change in policy and behaviours.

Sunrise says the best solution to combat cyberbullying, bullying and improve cyber safety in all Australian schools is the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s eSmart Schools.

Let’s help fight, stand up to the bullies and make a secure future for our children.

If this article has triggered personal issues, help is available at Lifeline on 131114.

Madeleine Caccianiga is a News journalist.

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