by Rhonda Orr
In my day, before social media, my family moved a lot.
In fact, I had to switch high schools five times, skipped my junior year and moved three times in my senior year.
Being the new kid all the time meant I was bullied just for being different. I was different in my accent, clothes or anything else not common to that area.
I hid that from my family because one member already bullied me, and I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by another.
Still, the bullying I endured didn’t hold a candle to the horror that is bullying today. I’ve heard others tell me they were bullied when they were kids, and got over it by either ignoring the bully or punching back, literally or emotionally.
In our culture of ever-present electronic communication, the bully can’t equivocate. There’s nowhere to hide, no alternatives to take and no way to stay out of the bully’s way. There’s zero relief.
That lack of relief even drives some of our young people to suicide.
I have learned that my mission in life is helping kids. Having an anti-abuse nonprofit in California in the early 90s and producing theater to create funds and awareness for existing child abuse organizations, such as Children of the Night and KidsPeace, started that journey.
Four years ago, I began to see the need for substantive solutions to the epidemic of bullying beyond saying, “Be nice.”
Abuse and bullying fall under the same umbrella as maltreatment. I knew a better solution had to exist other than a simple platitude.
Why? Because in our complicated world of communication, “amusing” texts that often say things like, “You’re fat,” “You’re ugly,” “You’re stupid,” “Why don’t you kill yourself?” … “Just kidding,” are the norm.
Our nonprofit, Rhonda’s Stop Bullying Foundation, and our advice column, “Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri …” offer serious solutions:
- Our Triangle of Triumph™ teaches how to go from Victim to Survivor to Leader;
- Our 5 C’s of Leadership teaches five key values: Civility (exhibiting courtesy, consideration and caring), Confidence (standing tall and having eye contact, feeling well enough about yourself to focus on others), Courage (to report, report, report bullying and never just standing-by), Creativity (developing talents to share with others), and Communication with C.L.A.S.S. (Connect, Listen, Ask, Summarize, Suggest);
- Our motto, Define Yourself Before Others Do™ teaches victims how to define themselves before bullies try to define them by labeling, shaming related to sexuality and name-calling.
We know the answer to bullying is civility! We are holding a Civility March around the Courthouse Plaza on Oct. 13. Please join us for speeches, music and our awareness march. Civility begins where bullying ends.
Help Prescott to become the most civil city in the country. Think it’s a lofty goal? Why not? We can make a difference and end bullying now.
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. She does a weekly podcast at TheRhondaOrrShow.com and writes a weekly advice column with Cheri McDonald, PhD., LMFT, called “Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri…” Sundays in the Prescott Daily Courier. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation at RhondaStopBullying.org.