bullying boyI have heard a lot of people talk about strategies to cope with bullying.

If you are being bullied, you are told to either ignore the bully/bullies, walk away, or ask for help.

If you are a bystander, you are told to not encourage the bullying, walk away and/or tell someone.

In either scenario, the victim feels very, very alone.

When you see someone being bullied, I beg you to do the following:

STOP, SCOOP and GO.

Stop whatever you are doing and focus on the victim.

Go to them, kindly put your arm around them, pull them away from the situation and gently say “Let’s go”.

(that is the “scoop” part)

Leave the area, go somewhere safe, talk with the victim.

Ask them how they are feeling and what they want to do next – talk about the bullying?  Go talk to a person of authority?  Address it with police as a harrassment issue?

If they say they don’t want to do anything at this time, tell them that is their choice…but they have the right to feel safe and to stand up for themselves.

This can be done for anyone, even if you don’t really know each other.

The best thing you can do for someone being bullied is to say to them: I saw what happened.  I am a witness.  What they did was not okay.  You have the right to feel safe.  Let me know how I can help. You are not alone.

When I was in the 9th Grade, I remember one scenario very clearly.  It was an early summer day and our class had been let out early to enjoy the sunshine.  A group of us were standing around in a large circle, deciding what activities we wanted to do next.

Then, out of the blue, a very mean girl that had intimidated me in the past said loudly: “(My name), what are YOU doing here?  Nobody wants to hang out with you, nobody wants you here.”

It was one of those moments where everything stopped.  I felt singled out and rejected.

Then a boy that I barely knew said gently, “I want her here.”

It wasn’t a romantic gesture.  It was a sweet and perfect moment of kindness.

He wasn’t a super popular guy and he didn’t have a lot of “pull” with the group, but that one sentence deflated the balloon of tension.  The mean girl muttered something like “Well, I’m getting out of here, let’s go”.  The group broke up and I left with some of the other classmates to get some ice cream.

Nobody talked about what had just happened.

At the time I didn’t realize the weight of what had happened in that circle, but I can tell you this:

Every time I think back to that moment, I get choked up.

I was really struggling with depression and bullying that year – and that one moment of kindness might have saved my life.

If you find yourself in one of those moments…

Show some kindness to the victim in that moment.  Focus on THEM, not the bully.

Say something so they feel less alone.depressed-girl

Or Stop, Scoop and Go.

You might just save a life.

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