ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) — One out of every five students reported being bullied in 2016, according to the National Bullying Prevention Center.
To try and decrease that number, an anti-bullying forum was held at Abilene Regional Medical Center, shedding light on what the organizers say is becoming an epidemic.
Repetition and shift of power is the point Melissa Dulin tried to get across her listeners.
“Because then the perpetrator and the victim are on equal ground. They have not given their power to that victim and the bully has no extra power to continue the behavior,” Dulin said.
After doing a little research on bullying for her thesis class, she realized she knew very little about it.
“I knew I had to do something in our community. Something different,” she said.
Dulin has created “My Tribe”, a new organization created to focus not on the bully but the victim. It helps to teach them about confidence and worthiness and being able to shift the imbalance of power.
“Those kids feel better about themselves. Their more confident. They walk with their heads hung high and there are no opportunities of the imbalance of power to occur,” she said.
Pretty recently, she said bullying then took a personal turn, as her own two children were facing it in and outside of school.
“My son is very small for his age, so it’s difficult for him to defend himself, but it is getting better, and we’re working with the schools to put an end to that as well,” Dulin said.
The CDC states suicide, resulting in bullying is the third leading cause of death among young people, she hopes her organization will help kids understand they can reach out to “safe contacts”.
These would be mature individuals, maybe the upper classman,” she said. “Those would be safe contacts for those little guys to go talk to about being bullied, then they in turn, can make an instant report.”
With bullying on the rise, it is becoming harder to protect children as electronics become more accessible.
“Perpetrators are becoming smarter and smarter and they’re very cunning in the way they are able to get a child to give them their information,” she said. “You’ve got to know what they’re doing on social media, who they’re texting, who their calling. It’s your child. It’s your business.”
Dulin plans to hold another forum on Tuesday, May 8.