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OvercomeBullying.org Newsletter, Issue #001 -- Premiere Edition
June 14, 2008
OvercomeBullying.org Newsletter #001
Premiere Edition of the OvercomeBullying.org Newsletter
Welcome to our first edition of the OvercomeBullying.org newsletter. Thank you for subscribing and taking a personal interest in the issue of bullying. Those who have experienced bullying know all too well the reasons why we need to eliminate bullying from our schools and workplaces. The personal costs are staggering. The mental, emotional and physical toll on health, the financial ruin and the impact on our society as a whole make bullying far too costly to be tolerated.
Bullying in schools is still rampant and workplace bullying is epidemic. At OvercomeBullying.org we recognize the need to raise awareness, encourage reporting and insist on followthrough but we also understand that targets of bullying need help now. Those who have been targeted by bullies are suffering and need help to "overcome bullying". That is why we include not only information about bullying but "Stress Management", "Depression Treatment" and "Health and Wellness" (We are also working on an "Anger Management" section).
We also understand that no matter how well intentioned school administrators or business managers are they have an uphill battle without the proper tools to effectively deal with bullying. In order to fill the gap that currently exists we have partnered with Speak Out Now to provide the Speak Out Now Bullying Incident Reporting and Management System. You will hear us mention this online reporting system often. We believe it represents the best and most powerful tool available to schools and businesses who are serious about stopping bullying and protecting their students and employees as well as their schools and businesses from the liabilities and costs arising from bullying.
I encourage you to visit OvercomeBullying.org often and take advantage of the information offered to help you overcome bullying. I would like to hear from you about your experiences and with how you are dealing with bullying personally. Tell me how can we make OvercomeBullying.org even better. If you have expertise in a related field I would be happy to consider adding your articles to OvercomeBullying.org. Send any comments, questions or suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How You Can Help
Bullying is a huge problem and we need your help. Special thanks to those of you who have already made a donation. If you would like to make a donation just follow this link and click on the "Donate" button. It's easy to do and you can use your PayPal account or credit card. If each of us donates only $5, $10, or $20 it will make a big difference. However, there are many other ways that you can join us in working to stop bullying.
For example, if you have a website you can help us by simply adding a link to OvercomeBullying.org from your website.
If you are a professional or expert on any subject related to bullying, health and wellness (physical and mental), legal issues, human resources, employee assistance programs, etc.you can help us by submitting an article. This also helps to promote your website, product or services. You benefit, we benefit and most importantly our readers benefit.
Businesses can help stop bullying by deploying the Speak Out Now system in their workplace or by sponsoring a school in their area. This is a great way to give back to your community. You can give children a voice to Speak Out against bullying. School bullying can destroy a child's self-esteem and limit their potential, sometimes for life. It has been related to many instances of suicide and now, all too frequently, to school shootings. If you would like to sponsor a school and help stop bullying please contact us for more information.
Have a look at the link below for more ways to help. We would be happy to hear any other ideas you might have too.
Sometimes just being able to talk to someone who understands what we are going through can be a huge help in dealing with bullying. As we come together for support we can also work together to accomplish our goals. Whether its finding ways to deal with workplace bullying, petitioning governments to provide anti-bullying laws or a parents group coordinating efforts to help their children's school tackle the bullying problem, there are others like you who are willing to lend a hand.
We encourage our support group members to develop action plans to find ways to educate the public and raise awareness about the seriousness of both school and workplace bullying with politicians, school administrators and business leaders.
We are pleased to announce new OvercomeBullying.org support groups:
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - The Circle of Friends Bullying Support Group is aimed at kids, parents and educators, bullies, victims and bystanders. As of right now, we don’t have any meetings set up, but I will arrange for a meeting as soon as I have people contact me who would like to be involved. If you are interested, or if you know of someone who is in need of this kind of support, please email Karen for further information. email@example.com
Teachers - North Coast of NSW, Australia - If you are a teacher who has experienced workplace bullying or mobbing and would like to correspond by email and potentially meet for a support group email Linda for more info. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are looking for a support group in your area or online have a look in our directory.
If you don't find one close to you it's easy to start your own OvercomeBullying.org support group.
Workplace Bullying - The Business Case Against Bullies
Why should business managers care about workplace bullying? Isn't bullying just a personality conflict that people can work out among themselves? Bullying doesn't seem to be costing our business anything, what's the problem?
Part of the problem of workplace bullying is that it flies under the radar of management. The issue of bullying is confused with a simple personality conflict or legitimate management practices. Everyone who doesn't get along with others is not a bully and tough management styles or unpopular management decisions don't necessarily constitute bullying.
Let's back up and look at a definition of bullying. Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute provides this definition:
"Bullying at work is repeated, health-harming mistreatment that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; conduct that is threatening, intimidating or humiliating; or sabotage of work such that legitimate business interests are undermined."
This definition begins to provide clues to how workplace bullying can not only be harmful to targeted individuals but to your business and your bottom line.
Workplace Bullying Stories - How are You Dealing with the Stress?
We have created this section where you can share your workplace bullying stories. You can tell us about your experience and what strategies have worked to help deal with the bullying, the stress and the impact on your health. You are not alone. Share your story and give feedback to others. We can all learn from each other.
This is also a useful feature for managers and human resources professionals. In reading these accounts a pattern will soon begin to emerge. Generally it is above average workers who receive postive evaluations that are targeted by bullies. The effects of bullying plague the target who eventually approaches management with the issue. Managers and human resources staff who are unaware of the dynamics of workplace bullying then often side with the bully. Once the ongoing abuse takes its toll for long enough victims report serious health issues which often affect attendance and productivity. Eventually, the victim is terminated or having enough of the disfunctional workplace simply quits. (Although some end tragically in suicide or workplace violence.)
The company loses another competent worker and the bully finds their next victim and the cycle of abuse (and costs) begins anew. Managers and HR staff need to understand bullying and how it plays out in the workplace. They need to understand that bullies cost the company far more than they are worth and that they will continue to cost the company. They need to implement a serious bullying policy and deploy a reporting and tracking system such as Speak Out Now in order to protect their employees and their company from bullying.
Workplace Bullying Consequences More Severe than Sexual Harassment
A recently released meta-study by Sandy Hershcovis of the University of Manitoba and Julian Barling from Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., compares the consequences of workplace aggression and sexual harassment. 110 studies over 21 years were reviewed as part of the research. A total of 128 samples that were used, of which 46 included subjects who experienced sexual harassment, 86 experienced workplace aggression and six experienced both. Sample sizes ranged from 1,491 to 53,470 people. Participants ranged from 18 to 65 years old.
The study examined effects on businesses and targets of workplace aggression including staff turnover, job satisfaction, relationship with employer and emotional ties to the job as well as impact on mental and physical health. While we all understand the serious consequences of sexual harassment some may be suprised by the findings of this research which determined that workplace aggression resulted in more severe impacts on both the targets of the abuse as well as the workplace itself.
Workers who were subjected to bullying, incivility or interpersonal conflict were more likely to quit their jobs, experienced poorer mental and physical health and had worse relationships with management than those who had been subjected to sexual harassment.
While there wasn't a great difference between how abused workers related to co-workers or their job satisfaction there were marked increases in job stress, anger, anxiety and, understandably, less commitment to their job.
This study underscores the fact that workplace bullying and aggression cost victims and employers alike. Workers shouldn't have to tolerate bullying any more than they should have to tolerate sexual harassment, especially considering that the costs to both the victim and employer are even greater than for sexual harassment which is understood to be morally and legally proscribed behavior.
School Bullying - Pretty Girls at Greater Risk of Being Targeted by Bullies
We all want to be good looking and popular, but for teenage girls these traits come at a price.
University of Alberta Educational Psychology PhD student Lindsey Leenaars published results of a study on what types of high school students are being indirectly victimized. This behavior includes demeaning notes/emails, social isolation, malicious rumors and threats of physical harm.
In the study 2,300 students filled out anonymous questionnaires asking about how they rated their own attractiveness, sexual activity, friendships and social problems.
Leenaars found that girls who considered themselves to be pretty had an increased risk of 35% of being bullied. While this may seem counterintuitive it makes sense when seen from the bully's point of view. Evolutionarily speaking traits of attractiveness make one more desireable to potential mates. The girls who bully attractive and popular girls are simply working to eliminate the competition, albeit by nefarious means. The tactics used in indirect bullying such as spreading rumors and social isolation can make it difficult for the victim to even know who the bully is.
The opposite is true for boys though. Good looks reduced the chances of being bullied by 25%. This is attributed to girls being attracted to traits such as physical strength and the ability to provide for her needs rather than simply good looks.
Interestingly, students aged 16-18 who were sexually active were also at an increased risk of 35%.
Leenaars hopes that this information will alert parents, teachers and counselors to the need to look past stereotypical ideas of who is bullied. Anti-bullying programs need to address this overlooked group of bullying victims. It is clear that we need continued research to help us understand who is being bullied, who is bullying and what measures we can take to stop it.
Thought for Today
The world is a dangerous place,
- Albert Einstein
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