One in two children in Lebanon have been bullied
One in two children in Lebanon have been bullied at some point in their life, a new nationwide study by Save the Children has revealed.
A national survey has highlighted a massive underreported bullying issue in Lebanon, where children develop anxiety and even drop out of school as a result of being subjected to different forms of violence in their learning and community surroundings.
According to Bullying in Lebanon report, up to 42 per cent of children have been kicked, punched, or pushed, while 30 per cent have had verbal insults directed at them or heard offensive remarks about their appearance, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or religion.
Allison Zelkowitz, Save the Children’s Country Director in Lebanon, said, “What this national survey shows is that bullying is a serious problem that hurts a lot of children – and many parents have no idea their children have been bullied.”
“Through this campaign, we are encouraging parents to ask their children about bullying, and we hope children will speak up about the problem and seek help. Our study revealed that there is a large gap in knowledge among parents – only 1 in 4 parents reported that their children had faced bullying, while in actuality, half of children have been bullied. This is particularly worrying because, if bullying is not tackled immediately, the psychological impact of bullying can cause damage that lasts for years.”
The study comes as Save the Children launches a new campaign, Bullying Is No Joke, which aims to raise awareness among families and communities in Lebanon about a poorly understood issue – nearly 1 out of 2 parents in Lebanon are not even familiar with the term ‘bullying.’
Bullying Is No Joke will also advocate for safe environments that cater to the wellbeing of children and prohibit acts of violence among peers, which lead 16 per cent of bullied children to skip school and 12 per cent to completely drop out.
Zelkowitz added, “Our new campaign aims to reach as many parents and educators as possible and advise them that bullying shouldn’t be ‘shrugged off’ or considered a normal part of childhood. It can cause children’s great emotional and physical stress, it can cause their grades to drop, and it can have a lifelong impact on their self-esteem and how they interact with the world. Everyone in our society has a responsibility to end bullying in all its forms, and take action when we see it.”
Save the Children has been working in Lebanon since 1953 and has a long experience in responding to protection issues, offering children emotional support and raising awareness of parents and community members on issues related to protection from violence.
To read the executive summary of Bullying in Lebanon, visit this link: https://goo.gl/qCnFEt
Watch the campaign launch video here: https://goo.gl/4FgZNC
Words from Jana, 12:
“At school, it was hard getting used to people staring at my hand and whispering as soon as they saw me. For a while, my hand was the subject of every playground conversation. “Look at her hand,” one would tell another. “Why does she keep it fixed like that?” a third would whisper.
It made me quiet for hours after. I’d pretend I didn’t hear them, but nobody could understand how sad I felt deep inside. Joining my friends for a game of badminton was impossible. I thought it was of no use to even try.”
Words from Samer, 10:
“‘Stuffed zucchini,’ ‘barrel’ and ‘fat bear’ are only a few ways some of my schoolmates use to describe me. I hate the zucchini most of all because I don’t even eat that much. I love my friends and school but sometimes I feel I don’t want to be there, just to avoid the trouble of meeting bullies. It shouldn’t happen to anyone. If my friends get bullied, I stand by them. Those who say bad words to others need to know that it makes people sad. Because bullying is no joke.”