DIARY OF A 'failed' ACTOR. Ep#13. Bullying.
A bully, like a thief, has little care and no understanding of the deep sense of loss, helplessness, personal intrusion and hurt felt by their victims. However, a house burglary drifts toward frustration and annoyance before eventually life regains its daily routine once more, whereas the trauma experienced by a victim of bullying can be carried for a lifetime by some; the damage caused being far reaching and ever present.
Statistics on bullying related suicides amongst the young are shocking: 4,400 deaths per year globally by victims of bullying, 160,000 children stay home every day because of fear of bullying, and a study in Britain found that half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.
One would have thought and hoped that once you had grown out of short pants, and were away from the playground that your encounters with bullies would be remnants of your childhood, but sadly this is not always the case. You may, as I did, face them at drama school, and sometimes, later on, within a theatre company or on a film or tv set.
As an adult, one's experiences of being bullied will more likely be verbal rather than physical. Words can be even more damaging and hurtful as an adult. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumours about you, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate you. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage - to the bully - of being difficult to document; there are no bruises or cut lips. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be far more insidiously disfiguring, and can result in a dramatic effect in curbing your creative process, and even depression.
In addition there can be secondary adult bullies: These are individuals who do not initiate the bullying, but join in so that they do not actually become a victim themselves. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.
This is what I encountered as a young drama student, and on a few occasions in some theatre companies. It has played subconsciously on my confidence and abilities for almost three decades, before I finally took responsibility for their actions and my reactions, ceased playing 'the victim' and reclaimed my power.
Last year, I was invited by a friend of mine in LA, Craig Bobby Young, who had suffered as a youngster at the hands of bullies to participate in the global BOO2Bullying campaign, set up to support young victims of bullying, and to shame bullies into ceasing their pernicious practices, and not carry them forward into their later lives.
It was after reading an article in THE STAGE journal in the UK on bullying in the acting world by multi-award winning director, Phil Willmott, and meeting up with him on his last visit to New York that brought me to explore the subject further in this week's episode.
It is not acceptable at any point in someone's life that they be subjected to bullying, and there is no place for it in the drama school classroom, the rehearsal room, on stage or before the cameras. It must be nipped in the bud and stamped out immediately. Nobody has the right to treat others in such a fashion, no matter who they think they are or what position of power they hold. In such circumstances, you hold the power, and must wield it.
Say, "No!" to bullying.
DIARY OF A 'failed' ACTOR.
Directed by Cécile DELEPIÈRE