Although Gingerfightback is (hopefully) somewhere you visit for entertainment and laughter, we have had a number of people get in touch who have experienced bullying because they have had the fortune to be blessed with Red Hair!
We have trawled through the web to find some practical tips, phone numbers and websites you can use for dealing with bullying.
If you are being bullied always remember – you are not alone and there is always someone willing to listen and help.
What is bullying?
Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological. It includes behaviour such as name calling, spreading hurtful rumours, excluding someone from groups, taking possessions or money, hitting, pushing or kicking and unwanted sexual touch. Cyberbullying has the same effect as face to face bullying but takes place over the internet or through phones.
Bullying is often driven by prejudice and can be targeted at someone’s gender, culture, religion or perceived sexuality. Children and young people may also find themselves a target because of a disability, disfigurement or illness.
What can I do if I’m being bullied?
- Firstly you need to understand that it is not your fault. Whatever the person, or people bullying you have said, this is everything to do with their negative thoughts and behaviour, and nothing to do with you. Believe that you deserve better and seek help.
- Talk to someone. Problems rarely get better by keeping them inside. If you can, talk to an adult that you trust – like your parent or a teacher. Talk to friends that you trust. Or, if you are scared of what might happen if you tell your parent or a friend, then contact Childline (see details below).
- Protect yourself – if you can, avoid situations where you are likely to be bullied. Never retaliate with violent actions such as hitting or punching – this can lead to you being seriously hurt or getting in trouble yourself. If the bullying is online, block or unfriend contacts that are being abusive. Make sure you have the highest privacy settings.If you are not sure how to do this then ask for help.
- Take part in activities outside of school – or wherever the bullying is taking place, that help to raise your confidence and make you feel good about yourself. Some ideas could include Guides and Scouts, cadets, drama and dance classes, art classes, exercise classes and swimming. Remember that you deserve the very best in life.
- If the bullying is making you feel very desperate and scared then don’t take it out on yourself – get immediate help. You can contact Childline any time, night or day for support and advice.
If you need help or advice about bullying there are helplines and websites that can provide you with information and support:
ChildLine - ChildLine is the UK’s free, confidential helpline for children and young people. They offer advice and support, by phone and online, 24 hours a day. Whenever and wherever you need them, they’ll be there. Call 0800 1111
Cybermentors - CyberMentors is a safe social networking site providing information and support for young people affected by bullying.
EACH - EACH has a freephone Actionline for children experiencing homophobic bullying: 0808 1000 143. It’s open Monday to Friday 10am-5.00pm