Sara Ward is the author of the recently released Aesop Lake. In today’s Indie Spotlight, Sara explains why it’s critical in this day and age to teach our young adults how to combat and overcome bullying and intimidation in an environment that currently appears to encourgage it….
– Do listen and ask how you can help / Don’t expect another person to educate you about their identity.
– Do accept criticism thoughtfully / Don’t broadcast your qualifications for being an ally.
– Do speak up when you hear biased language / Don’t apologize for the actions of your identity group.
– Do seek support from experienced allies within your identity group / Don’t expect credit for being an ally.
– Do acknowledge intersectionality / Don’t selectively support one group over another.
– Recognize the feeling in your gut when something is not okay. When your stomach tightens up, your pulse quickens, you can hear the tone shift in a conversation, where someone is trying to exert power over another, verbally or emotionally.
– Be aware of your surroundings. Who else is around? What is your location? If you decide to act, can you reasonably assure your safety and that of the other person?
– Take a deep breath, and center yourself. Finding the courage to step out of your comfort zone and speak up requires some confidence. Many parents actually tell their children to mind their own business, don’t get involved if someone else is causing a problem. As a parent, a social worker and a youth group leader, I’ve talked with many teens who want to do the right thing, but don’t feel well equipped to even try.
– Speak clearly and directly to the person being threatened. Make eye contact with them. Ask them, “Are you okay?” Do you need help?” Or, “May I talk with you for a moment?
– Wait for them to reply, and if the bully tells you to get lost, you could say, “Excuse me, I am talking with this person.” And then turn your attention back to the victim and repeat your question.
– Ask them to step away and once you have put some space between you, ask if they are okay. What can you do to help?”
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