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  • Writer's pictureProtect Self Defence Team

Stop pulling punches on bullying

I was asked to speak at an 'Anti-Bullying-Movement' Conference.

The concept is good. To bring awareness to a problem. It is something we see everyday in our work, in all facets of violence:

The problem is often NOT the problem...The DENIAL of the problem is the problem.

So bringing awareness to any subject is a good thing. But awareness without a solution creates anxiety and often further fuels denial.

To be clear: Protect supports this movement.

We have so much to discuss on the subject that this would be a 10,000 word post. So briefly, a couple of points to consider:

1) We need to STOP calling it ‘bullying’.

This is something I have been vocal about for over a decade. Calling the behaviour ‘bullying’ is minimisation. Minimisation is one form of denial. And since we only minimise things which seem large, that should tell us something.

Call this behaviour what it is:




Once it is labelled correctly it will be given the weighting it deserves.

2) "We shouldn’t be teaching people to deal with bullies, we should teach bullies not to do it.”

How many times I hear that.

In an ideological world it is true. But not the real world we live in today. People today in general are angrier than ever and sadder than ever. Most ‘bullies’ are victims of bullying themselves, or of other forms of abuse and violence.

HURT PEOPLE...Hurt people.

Bullying behaviour will never go away. Ever. Like other forms of violence, it is here to stay. It is in human DNA.

Yes, there are a multitude of ways to help support and often change the behaviour of hurt people, but not all. Not even close to all.

Yes, focus on the offenders. But equally we all have a responsibility to know how to deal with the behaviour and empower our children to as well.

After all, ‘Bullies’ only respond to strength.

3) 'Bullying will not be tolerated.’

This is the greatest lie told in many of our schools and workplaces. I’ll leave that there.

So here are a few affirmative action points to consider:

  • Can you spot and identify dangerous behaviours, including at the subtle level, happening to yourself or others?

  • Do you feel confident in your abilities to deal with the behaviour at its earliest point?

  • How would you rate your confidence, self-beliefs around personal worth, and abilities to display and maintain very clear boundaries?

  • How do you rate your abilities to deal with inappropriate or abusive behaviour at the different levels of the force continuum (Avoidance, Tactical Communication and de-escalation, and physical self defence)?

These things are some of what make a real difference in dealing with this anti-social behaviour.

Food for thought. 😍

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