Posted on February 28, 2013.
Fourteen-year-old Tannan is a victim of bullying.
Tannan says she was bullied as a child and remembers being picked on in Grade 1.
“They looked at me as if I did something wrong,” Tannan said.
“They could call me mean names and would tell me how I’m not really important and that I don’t belong in this world and that hurts.”
Those experiences led to Tannan becoming a bully herself.
“I wanted them to feel my pain and how I felt,” she said. “I just wanted revenge.”
It’s taken years to deal with those emotional issues – but Tannan wasn’t alone.
Her ‘Big Sister’ mentor Laurie Anderson, has been working with Tannan since she was five.
Anderson says the two talk about Tannan’s feelings and how bullying has affected her.
“When Tannan and I first started spending time together, she didn’t know how she felt. There were all these feelings rolling up inside of her and she had no idea what to do with them,” Anderson said.
“We get to talk about everything. She’ll say some stuff that is so powerful that I’m driving down the Henday and there’s tears flowing down my eyes. She gets it. She’s able to look at how she’s feeling and verbalize it and recognize the people in her life that have helped her and want to give back.”
Anderson says she’s learned a lot from being a mentor to Tannan.
“Tannan’s made me realize that it’s important for everyone in this world to know somebody loves them just because, just because they are,” Anderson said.
“She’s got such an incredibly positive attitude. She’s able to look at what she’s done in the past and say, ‘that’s not who I want to be.’”
Long-term psychological effects for bully victims
New research says the long-term psychological effects for people who are bullied include panic disorder and anxiety.
The study Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence, suggests those who were both victims and bullies also expressed depression and suicidal thoughts as adults.
“Victims and bullies/victims had elevated rates of young adult psychiatric disorders, but also elevated rates of childhood psychiatric disorders and family hardships,” the study finds.
“The effects of being bullied are direct, pleiotropic, and long-lasting, with the worst effects for those who are both victims and bullies.”
Wednesday is Pink Shirt Day – also known as Anti-Bullying Day, a national campaign encouraging Canadians to take a stand against bullying.
According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, at least one in three adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recently and 47 per cent of Canadian parents have reported having a child become a victim of bullying.
‘Making a Difference’ anti-bullying club
It’s a topic junior high students at H.E. Beriault Junior High School are trying to tackle.
There’s a new club at the school called ‘Making a Difference’ and members of the club say they’ve taken a course to learn what to do when they witness someone being bullied.
“We just give people more knowledge on how it really affects people and just to stand up for people who can’t,” says club member Esmeralda Rodas.
“If you can intervene within three seconds, the whole thing could stop,” said Jordan Rennie. “If you can intervene in any way then it’s better because you can stop the bullying.”
Some members say they’ve recently put those tactics to use and say the response they’ve been getting has been positive.
“The victim came up to me and said ‘Thank you. That means a lot. I would not be able to do that by myself,’” said Monica Dyjak.
For Tannan, her bullying experiences as a child has affected her ability to trust others.
“It really changed me,” Tannan said.
But the teen says she’s learned from her past, thanks to the help of her mentor, and now focuses on treating people the way she wants to be treated.
“I regret doing that and I’m sorry for those people who I ever did anything to,” Tannan said.
“It made me a really good person. The person I am today is the person that I’m going to be from now on.”
Statistics on bullying in Canada
- 40 per cent of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis.
- Any participation in bullying increases risk of suicidal ideas in youth.
- Among adult Canadians, 38 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women report having experienced occasional or frequent bullying during their school years.
- Canada has the ninth highest rate of bullying in the 13-years-old category out of 35 countries.
- 7 per cent of adult Internet users in Canada, aged 18 and up, self-reported having been a victim of cyber-bullying at some point in their life.
- Girls are more likely to be bullied on the Internet than boys.
Statistics from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
CTV Edmonton – On Pink Shirt Day, Edmonton teen reflects on being bullied and bullying others