Abuse and neglect big factors in bullying
"If we don't tackle the root; i.e. abuse, neglect, pedophiles, sexual grooming, for example, and stop being reactive as a society, youth will always be lost."
While persons should be held accountable for their actions, the Barbadian society must also look at the factors which are driving deviant behaviour among youth, if there is to be a positive change.
This was the message from founder/director of I Am A Girl Barbados, Alian Ollivierre.
Speaking to Loop News about recent cases of girls involved in bullying, she said that while social media has made these situations more visible, there is not necessarily an increase in bullying and other violent behaviour among girls and young persons in general:
"The increase is not necessarily significant. The difference between 20-30 years ago is one, the prevalence of social media and the heightened desire to do anything for likes and, two, the fearlessness of actions or desire to be the bully versus being bullied."
Addressing the second issue, she stressed that many children who turn to bullying are doing so as a cry for help, as they are dealing with challenges in their lives which they are not properly coping with:
"Coping mechanisms have shifted.
"Youth have decided that they cope by lashing out and speaking out more aggressively than to just suffer in silence."
Founder and director of I Am A Girl Barbados, Alian Ollivierre.
Ollivierre is therefore urging adults to start focusing on the root of the problem in order to have real change in the Barbadian society. Noting that many persons become appalled at situations such as the Lester Vaughan student being beaten, but lose interest after they die down, she warned that change can only be possible through ongoing initiatives to address the cause of the negative behaviour.
"Change will not happen overnight and is a process that may take years to alter. It's important however to start the process from today, in every segment of society; i.e. educators, parents, institutions, government, corporations, etc. Intervention is needed but not solely to the girls. Adults must realise that in order to divert reactions, first, we must address the root actions that have caused this ripple effect. We forget this behavior is a learnt one and it comes from all aspects of society, i.e. home, school, church and the list goes on.
"If we don't tackle the root; i.e. abuse, neglect, pedophiles, sexual grooming, for example, and stop being reactive as a society, youth will always be lost.
"We tend only to be moved when something severe has occurred, and fail to realise that if we are doing the same things we will generate the same results, within homes, schools, the workplace, and the economy to a larger extent."
Stating that persons should be held accountable for their action, the social activists called on Barbadians to take action.
"I believe all girls and boys should be held accountable for their actions on that day and it's mind blowing that such an incident would occur over such frivolous reasons, however let's stop burying our heads in the sand and identify the root causes so we can progress as a society with healthy minds in the youth."