Bully Pulpit and Paper

A notice was in my in box from Facebook was waiting for me today. I don’t always have time to click and open all the notices, but this came from a long-time family member. There has been quite a lot of press for the last couple years about bullying. I contend that bullying is the precursor to abuse — so we need to keep working to train all ages to recognize and reduce bullying before all our lightly funded Domestic Violence Centers are even more overloaded with victims. My title’s history comes from an expression by Theodore Roosevelt from the early 1900s.  (He had trouble with his BULLYing wildlife — many were mounted on his walls.)

“A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now… even though they said………… they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Copy and paste this if you are against bullying.”

As a survivor of DV, education is only a step in providing important information. No matter how much we know and understand, there are ways a “bully” or full fledge abuser can be slow and cunning in their effect to slowly take over and work against another person. The signs are there, however they can be masked through “classic” techniques and many modern means.


Click here for instructions to make an origami swan.

The “crumpled paper” analogy provides a visual and physical teaching tool and will reach those who make the choice to apply it to their life long learning. Sadly, there will be some crumpled papers that will be tossed in a trash can, burned in a barrel, passed over by police — and lost to the legal system.

For those of us who stay true to a higher “CIVILized” character, the behavior of bullies has to be stopped before it becomes CRIMINAL. The line of demarcation is not very wide.

I experienced clever, slick long-term bullying within the walls of a former “marriage” and “home.” I also experienced first hand the bullying through insensitive funded institutions, community counsel and predatory placement of proprietors.

My final solution to the bulling I’ve had to bear?   Turn the crumpled paper in to an Origami swan!

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