We've been busy working on our youth pop-up exhibit. In February we will be curating a multi-artist exhibit featuring the work of several talented youth artists in Burlington. The hope is that the work will bring a profound sense of emotion to the exhibit by depicting what bullying truly feels like either from the perspective of an onlooker or a victim.
The problem with most anti-bullying campaigns is that they lack a sense of emotional depth, so they become simply slogans on a wall, general assemblies or posters in the school gym. We often don't identify with the campaigns because they seem too general and vague. What we need is a an authentic glimpse into the effect that bullying has on victims so that we can connect with that on a more human level and change our perception about bullying.
Teenagers have it harder than ever. High school is an intense place, and now thanks to social media and online communities bullying often continues at home, giving the victims no solace or sense of security. This leads to emotional problems, depression, anxiety, mental illness, and in some cases suicide. If we just took a minute to think about our actions and words and their emotional impact on others, perhaps we could move to a place of greater love and respect for each other. It's not just teenagers who need to embrace this inclusive attitude, adults do too. How can we expect our younger counterparts to respect and love one another when bullying happens in the workplace, online, and in adult communities too? We all need to think before we speak, love before we judge, and listen before we act.
Selina Jane Eckersall is a content marketing strategist, freelance writer and entrepreneur living and working in Burlington ON. Selina is the Executive Director of No Vacancy.