Think you can’t be bullied as an adult? Think again my friend!
I’ve been bullied in the workplace before and whilst I was so grateful that I’m confident, comfy in my skin and aware of my worth – I was shocked by the reality that even I was shaken by the experience. Me. A fully grown woman with enough swagger going on to not get affected by these things!
But, that’s the irony. Bullying doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t matter whether you’re an 11 year old waiting to get picked (or not) for the sports team in PE, or a force majeure who’s killing it in the workplace (not referring to myself btw) bullying, when it hits, hits HARD.
Which is why I’m so proud to be the Ambassador for the Trutex Be True To You (bTRU2u) campaign in conjunction with The Diana Award, a charity established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, which runs an anti-bullying campaign as part of its mission to foster, develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people. ANYTHING that equips our kids for the world ahead of them and empowers them to cope with bullies, is a move in the right direction in my world.And imagine the world our kids are growing up in?
When we were at school, anyone who was being bullied could leave the school gates at 3pm and head to their “safe haven” of home to recover and get some respite from the trauma until the next day.
Now? With social media the bullying is 24/7. There IS no escape. And terrifyingly I learnt the bullying often actually amps up after school hours when the cowardly bullies can hide behind the safety of a laptop screen and become even more vicious. Cyber bulling? The feeling that the bullies have even infiltrated your home and bedroom? I can’t think of anything more invasive or terrifying.
It’s a major issue. Which is why 19,000 children miss school through bullying EVERY SINGLE DAY in the UK. Also, the pressure on the physical and how you look has also never been greater with social media and its constant stream of “perfection”on offer. News out last week that, with apps like Plastic Surgery Princess which introduces the concept of plastic surgery to children as young as 8 and 9, there’s a terrifying boom in under 18’s in pursuit of cosmetic procedures. Yeah. I know.
Thankfully, a new report is calling for limits on who can have a cosmetic procedure as, shockingly, there are currently no legal age restrictions. None. So you have to be over 18 to have a sunbed or tattoo? But messing with your face? Go for what you know.The bTRU2u Campaign is all about encouraging kids to be themselves, embrace who they are and what it is that makes them stand out and the campaign equips them to spot bullies and to know how to handle them.
And why the Trutex connection? I don’t know about you but I have memories of being taken to the local uniform outfitters to get sorted for back-to-school, not surprising given that Trutex make 4 million items of uniform a year.
Infact, Uniforms are a fact of life for British school children. Almost every secondary school (98%) and the majority (79%) of primary schools require some form of uniform plus there is increasing evidence that schools which strictly enforce uniform policies experience fewer incidences of bullying as potential bullies find it harder to identify their targets, who historically are those children who do not quite fit in.
As a kid growing up, we didn’t have much money. Dad was a preacher (still is!) so I used to exist on bags of hand-me-downs from older girls in church. And I ruddy LOVED them! I used to pile into those black bin bags like it was a net-a-porter delivery, excitedly pulling bits out and trying them on. And at school, I know uniform was key. Nobody could tell that my blazer was bought from the school second-hand-cupboard. We all looked THE SAME!
Sure, we’d all try and pimp our uniform to the max with our super skinny ties in my 1st year, then massive cravat type affairs in the 6th form – or rolling over the waistbands of our skirts to make them shorter, then rocking ankle-skimmers in the 6th form – ah, how we tried to max out the fashion!
Yet, when it comes to tackling bullying, uniform is key. In their recent research, Trutex found that teachers overwhelmingly believe school uniforms help to reduce bullying and contributes to a happier school community and better-behaved students. Teachers also claim uniform helps to children fit in and improves the perception of schools.I’m so grateful for uniforms for my kids and in recent research, Trutex found that parents, teachers and schoolchildren agreed that uniform cuts down bullying.
When we lived in LA, fewer than a quarter of schools enforced a uniform policy, preferring instead to implement dress codes. Consequently, in the US, more than 160,000 children miss school every day due to bullying. EVERY DAY??! As a parent, I just couldn’t bear that level of pressure every morning without a uniform, especially through the teenage years. Can you imagine?
bTRU2u is about Building confidence, inspiring and empowering everyone to reach their full potential. On an even playing field..
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my speech on the day. Please check out what the campaign can do to help empower your kids.
“When it comes to bullying, it’s often the thing that sets you apart and makes you DIFFERENT that gets you bullied. In those moments, be proud you have something that others are envious of! One of my favourite quotes is from Dr Seuss
BE WHO YOU ARE AND SAY WHAT YOU FEEL
BECAUSE THOSE WHO MIND DON’T MATTER
AND THOSE WHO MATTER DON’T MIND!
Today is all about celebrating the thing that makes YOU stand out! And EMPOWERING you to STAND UP to bullies.
Bullies are cowards. That’s a fact! And they make no sense!
I know a girl who gets bullied for her bushy eyebrows. Cara Delevigne – one of the worlds biggest supermodels and one of the highest paid women on the planet – has THE bushiest eyebrows you’ve ever seen! Go figure!
Bullying can even happen when you’re an adult – so quipping yourself to deal with it NOW is one of the best gifts you can ever give yourself, and one of the best life skills you can acquire.
I’ll leave you with another of my favourite quotes I put on instagram this morning.
DON’T LET ANYONE DULL YOUR SPARKLE!
Be YOU! BELIEVE in yourself! And BE TRUE TO YOU! It’s what today is all about!”