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If You See Bullying, Say Something to Stop It

A few months ago, I was honored to be asked to be apart of a youth organization that helps build good character in boys and girls. They later informed me that I would not be allowed to serve unless I took some classes on how to work with youth, how to treat youth, how to handle youth.

At first, I felt a little insulted by the suggestion that I need some class on how to work with youths. I have been working with youths ever since I been a youth myself. I have been a youth leader, youth pastor, youth minister and senior pastor overseeing youth programs for over 40 years now. I am blessed to be the founder of a youth ministry, the North Wheeling Youth Center. Why do I need class on working with youth? I think I am qualified to write a book on working with youth.

That did not seem to change their minds on requiring me to take the class on working with youth. After taking the class I was glad they did make me do so. Truth is, no matter what you think you know, there is always more to learn.

I am now convinced that the only one that knows everything is God. If you are not God, like I am not God, then there is something you can still learn. No matter how many degrees you may have, no one but God knows everything.

The classes were on recognizing abuse, neglect, bullying, emotional abuse, explosion of violence and its causes, physical and sexual abuse. Sadly, most abuse is by parents or close relatives and friends. The classes introduce me to a new word. The word was, “polyvictimization.” It can be defined as having an experience of multiple victimizations of different kinds, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, and exposure to family violence. I was taught that abuse can come from multiple abusers in multiple forms.

Sadly, we were told that no one person can eliminate all abuse in this world, but everyone can help reduce the risk of abuse by doing everything they can to look out for those who may be enduring abuse. The right kind of training and leadership can make a difference in this world.

It is said that child abuse is a leading cause of crime. No wonder someone said, “It is better to build good boys and girls, than to wait and repair broken men and women.” We must try to reach them, protect them, and help them when they are young. It has been the theme of my ministry and work for the last 40 years.

It is said that child abuse can lead to juvenile delinquency, mental issues, violence, domestic issues, and bullying. Child abuse may be the way into someone’s life, but all the other issues are the result. If child abuse is the seed, the harvest can be a variety of things, and the majority of the time, they are not good.

The good news is that with the help of God and others, no one has to be a prisoner of their past. That’s why the leaders of the fight against child abuse say, “If you see something, say something!”

One of the fruits of child abuse is said to be bullying. One of the definitions of bullying is unwanted aggressive behavior. It usually occurs when there is an imbalance of power. Bullying can be verbal, social, or physical. Bullying is not limited to children. Bullying can happen at any age, any relationship, any situation where there is an imbalance of power. Bullying can happen in-person, in groups, or it can happen online. The whole goal is to isolate someone because of some difference that the bully does not like or agree should be allowed.

New forms of bullying can come through cyber or gaming bullying. I was taught that bullying can lead to health problems, early deaths, suicide, withdrawal, and depression. A person is made to feel left out, or not being allowed in to what others are a part of in the group.

No bullying can be successful without three parts being involved in it. Number one, the bully; number two, the person being bullied; and number three, the people who watch it happen and choose to do nothing. One out five people will join in on the bullying, but four out of five will not join in — but neither will they say or do anything to stop it. The goal of all bullies it to keep it as much as a secret as possible so they can continue to do it without interference.

I personally believe that most people want to do the right thing, but never offer support or help to turn it around. For example, “Come over and seat at my table with me.”

The first step to ending bullying is to recognize it. Bullying is recognized by unexplained actions of the bullied and the bully. All bullies end up bullied themselves. It’s just a never-ending cycle of bullying.

If you are unique in anyway, and there is an imbalance of power, where unexplained, non-sense things are happening to you or yours, that could be bullying.

Did you see in the news, of a mixed family, white and black couple that got an appraisal of their house? For some reason the house was appraised for at least $100,000 less than that they thought it would be worth. They moved all their pictures of their family and only put the white members of the family pictures up. Amazingly, it got appraised by the same group months later, and it appraised for $100,000 more with no other improvements. Maybe that was financial bullying.

Did you see in the news that a city talked about hiring a police chief? Normally, they have hired from within the police force for decades, as a policy and practice, until the best person inside was unique, and looked different. Now unexplainably, they feel they must go to the outside. Is that bullying? I don’t know. Again, I don’t know all the ins or outs, but it definitely looks suspicious.

I was taught if you see something, say something.

Cummings is pastor of Bethlehem Apostolic Temple in Wheeling and Shiloh Apostolic Faith Assembly in Weirton.

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