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Northern Perspectives
Trilliums in Northern Ontario
Northern Ontario

"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe?

Expediency asks the question: is it politic?

Vanity asks the question: is is popular?

But conscience asks the question: is it right?

And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular- but one must take it because it's right."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Special Features & Editorials - Girls Who Bully

Throughout my life the word bully has conjured up an image of a rather vacant faced beefy guy with a thick neck and little brain. Someone with no self confidence but with an arm strong enough to hide that fact.

Not anymore.

Last January while watching a group of beautiful, smiling and talented young girls training for a sporting event I was shocked and alarmed to find that my stereotypical vision of a bully was terribly, and very horribly, outdated.

Since that time I have been reading, interviewing, watching, studying, and all too often lying awake at night thinking about this problem. I would love to say that what I witnessed and heard was during another business trip to inner city Detroit or in far away New Orleans during a winter vacation. It was not. The events that started me on this voyage to a place that leaves me uncomfortable and rather shaken happened right here in Northern Ontario.

I've learned that today's bully is just as likely to be a beautiful, slim, fashion conscious teen or pre teen girl as it is to be "the dumb jock from the wrong side of the tracks."

I've learned that the publishing industry is growing fat over the number of books being written about this issue, I have learned that girl bullies are epidemic and have grown by over 48% in the last few years, movies are being made about them (Mean Girls was released on April 30th), news programs are running specials about them, members of the Canadian government are holding special meetings about them, some provinces are considering passing laws against them, charges are being laid against them, and even good old Dr Phil had an episode recently dealing with this issue.

In the coming weeks I will be sharing the information I've gathered. There will be information on the bullies, the bullied, and the bystanders who let it happen. There will be information on what makes a bully, how to deal with them, what is regarded as bullying, and some real live and local experiences. I'll be reviewing the books I've read, telling you about the things I've seen firsthand, and passing on information from people I've interviewed.

The first in this ongoing series will be online soon.

The Canadian government reports that 75% of girls in this country admit to being socially or verbally aggressive.

A government report says that bullying...

"reflects a complete lack of empathy or understanding of others feelings and is an inappropriate use of power in social situations.

The problem can continue into adolescence and adulthood leading to sexual harassment, dating aggression, child abuse, and elder abuse.

Any involvement in psychological bullying is associated with increased risk for other problems, including delinquency, other forms of aggression, anxiety and depression."

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