Awareness helps her speak up

2017-11-14 06:00
Andrea Morley

Andrea Morley

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Awareness has helped a bully victim find her voice.

As the Factreton-based Frontiers non-profit organisation held an anti-bullying awareness programme to educate children on school bullying at Glider Crescent Park last Saturday, an aspiring business woman, Andrea Morley, saw an opportunity to pour out her pain.

Morley says she grew up being bullied and living in fear with low self-esteem, yet she saw this opportunity as a chance to speak up and let other victims know they are not alone and it can be overcome.

She says: “Being bullied changes you. It changes the way you see yourself, it changes the way you love yourself, it changes your perception of people and the world. It sends you to a dark place where sometimes people don’t return from. You lose touch with who you are because someone felt the need to make you feel lesser than them. You turn to the wrong things to give you a sense of value, you can become withdrawn and less interactive and get lost in the world you create for yourself.”

She says a bullied child or person either becomes withdrawn or acts out at home because they feel powerless outside their home environment and often inflict pain on themselves. This could lead to suicidal thoughts and in some cases suicidal actions.

She says bullying is not something new and has destroyed the lives of many people.

She encouraged about a hundred children who attended the awareness event to report bullying and to not deal with it on their own.

Morley says she is still haunted by the effects of her childhood and sometimes still finds herself being bullied.

She says most people look at her today and think she is confident and has strong ­character.

“Yet, deep down in my heart, there is that young girl who was bullied for being poor, bullied for being extremely skinny and bullied because I was a quiet girl who had no ‘voice’ until the day came that I was confronted with a fight. At that moment I had no choice but to stand up for myself.

“This, however, did not stop the bullying. It continued to happen in my life, even until today. I just choose not to let it change my focus on becoming a successful ­entrepreneur.

“Life is hard, but you have to choose your battles wisely. So I choose to fight for myself by changing my world and channelling my energy into building people up rather than breaking them down. Every day is a challenge but every day is also an opportunity to use your challenges and circumstances as a stepping stone toward reaching your aspirations.”

She advises children to take advantage of platforms created to help them cope with situations and teach them how to handle social challenges. She also warns them of cyber bullying. She says thanks to social media the topic is nowadays exposed and discussed publicly.

She also encourages adults to watch their children for signs of bullying and to talk to them openly. She also says they need to lead by example.

“Children see how we treat other people and then act out what they see in their lives. So we need to ensure that we not only teach our children with words but that we also teach with our actions by being the first to treat everyone equally with kindness and respect,” says Morley.

One of the teenagers who attended, says Morley has given her the hope that she can still change how people see her. She says she is being bullied and she did not know whom to tell. She says she would feel powerless and frustrated but now she is going to ask a family member to help her.

Kensington police supported the initiative and has applauded Morley for speaking out about her experience.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Angeline Grill told the children that bullying was dangerous and any form of violence was against the law. She told them to avoid situations that would get them in trouble with the law.

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