Love from J


Love from J NEW website

You can't sit with us

**Trigger Warning. This blog contains topics such as suicide and bullying**

A few weeks back, I shared a post in my stories on Instagram of a tragic story about a young 12 year-old who took his own life from ongoing bullying.

Last week I shared another story of a young boy, who was hospitalised (for the third time) and required surgery from being physically assaulted by a bully at school.  

And next week, and the week after and the week after… I’m sure there will be more just like them; unfortunately. Because, these stories are not isloated. There are hundreds, if not thousands more just like them surfacing every week. And it breaks my heart and infuriates me equally. For these young children who are being bullied, usually for nothing more than them being their beautiful unique selves, and the families that are suffering the ongoing affects of these bullies actions.

The problem we’re finding is that firstly this behaviour is going largely unmonitored, and secondly it’s not stopping at the school gates; thanks social media. And as such children are finding it harder to escape as they see no way out. Schools are not stepping in and families are being torn apart.

  • Dolly Everett took her life at aged 14 because she was relentlessly bullied at school.
  • Riley Basford, aged 15, shot himself due to cyber bullying.
  • Nigel Shelby, aged 15, from being bullied by his classmates about his sexuality.
  • Kevin Reese, aged 10, from being relentlessly bullied by classmates both in-person and online.
  • Seven Bridges, ages 10, from being bullied for having a colostomy bag.
  • Stephanie Johnson, aged 12, from being repeatedly told she’s a ‘waste of air’ by her classmates

And the list goes on. 

It’s heartbreaking. It’s devastating. And it’s downright infuriating that young lives are being wasted because of someone else’s actions, words and the lack of accountability that goes with it.

The thing that frustrates me the most is that peers are present as onlookers in 85% of bullying interactions and play a central role in the bullying process; yet none of these peers step up or speak out. Is this because they are afraid they’ll be next? Because they don’t see anything wrong in these actions? Because the want to be considered part of the ‘cool kids gang’? Or, is it because they don’t know how to step up?

For me personally, I think it was all of the above. I can still vividly remember my first experience with bullying at school. I was in year three, all of seven years of age. It was lunch time and I came out to sit with my friends to eat before going out into the forest (so it was called) at the back of the school to play; like we did every day. I was the last to arrive to our usual lunch spot and as I sat down, the three girls who were my “friends”, looked at me before the middle girl (I won’t mention names) opened her mouth and told me “you can’t sit with us anymore, you’re not pretty enough.”

Still to this day that moment is so vivid in my head. As you can image, words like this hit pretty hard when you’re only seven and stick with you for a long time after. So, I sat there for a second trying to register what had just happened before she told me to “get lost and find some new friends because you can’t sit here anymore.” What triggered it and why that day it was decided, I’ll never know.

Now, this was just the beginning and went on until I was in about year 9. From name calling, to digs at what I looked like, to having a snippet of my hair cut from one of the boys sitting behind me in class one day. But, looking back now, I consider myself lucky because I did have a good group of friends who included me after that initial incident and when I left those school gates, I was able to leave it all behind; at least until the next time. It didn’t follow me home because the internet wasn’t a thing and cyber-bullying didn’t exist. I was able to detach, go home and enjoy my childhood at home; which was a beautiful childhood by the way.

The reason I share this short snippet of my life is because it’s the very reason that led me to create my new collection; Little Box of Kindness. I designed it in a way to educate and inspire kindness and compassion in children at a young age so that as they grow up they become more inclusive, accept people for their looks and differences, shapes the world that they are growing up in, and become confident, kind and compassion human beings who are happy to eat lunch with people who might not be as pretty as them.

As they grow older they can be the ones that include those who are different, stand up for those who need it, speak out when something doesn’t sit right and advocate for a kinder tomorrow.

With the rapid rise in technology, and the current state of our world going down the drain, we need more kindness, and compassion, and empathy; towards others, ourselves AND the environment. It’s this next generation that gives us hope for that. We’ve had Generation X, Y, Z, millennials. But this next generation, the ones that are in the young years now… they are going to be Generation Kind; they need to be. And it’s our responsible as adults, to educate, inspire and instill these values as early as we can.

Alone we can make a difference, together we can change the world.

Love from J x