I hate being bullied.
I hate the shock of hearing it – it always comes as something unexpected. You are never prepared for the vitriol or the lies expressed.
I hate the way that after the encounter I can think of lots of scathing, witty, clever rebuffs that just wouldn’t come when they were needed. And then I hate beating myself up about wanting to hurt someone as badly as they hurt me.
But that’s just in relation to name-calling and rudeness. I more hate the way a bully tries to coerce me into doing/thinking what they want. And if I don’t do that, I’m portrayed as a lesser person.
So who are the bullies?
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. The art form of bullying has advanced out of the playground into society at large, seemingly at all levels. But not just in our society – it is prevalent among nations in our global village: just look at the plight of the Rohinga refugees, or the bullying tactics of North Korea that are in the news currently. Not to mention the atrocities of ISIS and wannabe terrorists.
Social media has enabled people to loosen the inhibitions about being rude to people, partly because no longer are you face-to-face, looking people in the eye when you are bullying them. Using Facebook, for example, outright strangers can buy into a conversation on a friend’s post and be rude and disparaging.
It seems that it’s no longer enough to just say “I disagree” – but bullies have to vehemently launch into a diatribe about how stupid and moronic is the person with whom they disagree! Not only that, it seems that they now have permission to accuse that person of being unfair, unjust, and discriminatory, just on the basis of their disagreement.
Gone is the courtesy of hearing out an argument and, heaven forbid, actually doing some research themselves. I mean, seriously, they might find that they’re wrong!
In the current climate, if I suggest that I may vote “no” to redefining marriage, I am bullied. I am accused of hating people in the LGBTQI community and being intolerant because I’m a Christian. And this from people who claim they are standing up for equality!
George Orwell was prophetic when he wrote, in Animal Farm, that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.
Bullies in disguise
The slyness of the Safe Schools Coalition movement is astounding! You read the word “Safe” and immediately you feel secure that no harm will come to anyone. You don’t bother to read the fine print because you are sure your child’s best interests are accounted for. You applaud schools that have taken the program on board.
The Safe Schools Coalition purports to address bullying in schools. Many schools already have effective anti-bullying programs, so why did we need another one? There’s the hidden agenda. Anti-bullying, yes, but specifically anti-bullying of those children who may seem to be confused about their gender.
So to prevent this perceived bullying they bully schools to impose a curriculum that forces children (primary school age) to role-play a same-sex relationship!
The original data sheets about the program were written for children, not parents. They actually had references to X-rated, over 18, websites that children might like to refer to for information about their sexuality. These websites have now been removed, but what damage have they done in the meantime?
The sheets advocated that children not tell their parents about anything they read, because the parents may not approve. Families are the fabric of society. To see children being given the wherewithal to bully their parents is sad and demoralizing. Any group that advocates children going behind their parents’ backs about anything is crushing our society.
Intimidation works through fear
I think that many people who have a balanced view of these tricky issues are also the people who are scared to put out their true feelings.
On one hand they don’t want to be bullied for their views and on the other hand they don’t want to be interpreted as putting someone else down or being derogatory about others’ views. Society has become twisted somehow so that I will tolerate your views only as long as you agree with me.
There is a better way
Jesus, on the other hand, simply said “love”. Which is the easier path? It’s easy to kill, but very hard to genuinely love.
C S Lewis states that we need to approach people by reasoning, “never by being rude, about your opponent’s psychology” (Compelling Reason, Essays on Ethics and Theology). It is patently obvious to me that for example, some people within the LGBTQI community, the Safe Schools Coalition, some indigenous groups and particularly ISIS and supporters of terrorism, and even some Christians, have not read these sage words.
Many of these groups use intimidation and threats in order to have their say, and not just to have their say but to have their way as well. If you resist by a gentle counter argument, you are not tolerated but you are accused of discrimination and even hatred.
Edmund Burke said in a letter to a friend (1795?) that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This is why I want to speak out against the bully culture and say that there is a better way.
Aira Chilcott B.Sc (Hons), M. Contemp Sci, Cert IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, Cert IV in Training and Evaluation, Grad Dip Ed., began her working life at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, investigating characteristics of cancer cells. Turning to teaching in the Christian school system provided opportunities to learn theology, more science, mission trips and explore the outdoors through bushwalking and other exploits. Now retired, Aira is a panellist for Young Writers and volunteers at a nature park. Aira is married to Bill and they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html