Adult bullying ‘can often be worse’

The Make Bullying History Foundation aims to instil in both victims and bullies a sense that negative situations can change. Wanaka reporter Margot Taylor caught up with foundation director Brett Murray while he was in Wanaka competing in the Wanaka Challenge.

How did you come to be an anti-bullying expert?

I was chronically bullied as a teenager at high school and so I wanted to stop any teenager ever going through what I went through.

I wanted to become what I never had, a positive male role model.

What is bullying?

Bullying is long-term ongoing violence, threats of violence or antagonism or disempowerment of an individual or group of people.

Have you been a bully?

In primary school I think I became a little bit of a bully as I was having so many issues at home with my parents stressed, which led to their divorce.

People often think of bullying as something children do. How common is bullying among adults?

Bullying is rife among adults; many adults suffer at the workplace and in abusive relationships.

It can often be worse as adults can be more sinister, manipulative and deliberate.

Other than to eliminate bullying, what is the goal of your organisation?

The aim of our organisation is to bring hope to people, to help individuals realise they have amazing self-worth and to help individuals realise their potential.

It seems the focus of bullying has turned to the cyberworld. Do you think there has been a decrease in face-to-face bullying, or an increase in bullying overall?

There hasn’t been a decrease in face-to-face bullying but cyberbullying has definitely increased with the prevalence of internet-enabled devices.

You give anti-bullying seminars in both schools and at workplaces. Do you receive different responses from the people you address in those respective places?

Workplaces who ask us to present are obviously proactive and don’t want bullying to become a part of their workplace environment, so those who book us are really positive.

The response is overwhelmingly positive and it is amazing how many people will come up to us after we present.

Schools actually really love the presentations, and they think we’re really cool.

Whereas workplaces understand we’re here to help.

How can people who see someone being bullied best respond?

The best thing is to speak up, stand with the victim.

Physically stand with the victim.

Make it known to the bully that it’s not acceptable.

What kind of things do you hear from parents when you present to them?

Many just say that they didn’t realise how big the problem is and the power they actually have to make a difference.

And many simply don’t realise how big an impact on their children video games have.

Do parents of children who are bullies and parents of children who are bullied feel the same?

No, parents of victims always feel more anxious.

Parents of bullies are more embarrassed.

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