On January 23, 2012, I wrote about a mother who had encouraged her children to stand up to bullies by saying “F*** You, You Miscreant!” in order to get immediate attention from adults and possibly confound the bully and end the mistreatment. The entry received comments from people who had used the technique with good results.
Then yesterday, on Entertainment Tonight, I saw Viola Davis, Academy Award nominee for her starring role in The Help, speaking about how she was bullied by classmates in elementary school.
The actress, who was born in South Carolina and grew up in Rhode Island, said, “I have stories of being spit on. You have to realize I was in a predominantly white culture … And third grade was the worst because every day after school I would wait at the door and the bell would ring. And as soon as the bell rang I ran as fast as I could from the front door to my house, which was at least a mile away, because I would have eight to nine boys with sticks, bricks, anything they could find, who were ready to kill me.”
After getting no help from her teachers, Viola complained to her mother, who made a suggestion. The next day, instead of running home after school, Viola walked, allowing the bullies to catch up to her. When they did, she pulled out the crochet hook her mother had given her and said, “If you touch me, I’ll stab you.” She said that was the end of it.
Apparently, confronting the bullies worked for Viola Davis.
So far, I’ve heard only positive results from standing up to bullies. But surely this technique doesn’t get good results every time.
Did you or anyone you know ever try this only to have it backfire? I’d love to hear from you, too.