By Ma. Josebelle S. Bagulaya
STUDENTS WHO ARE victims of bullying will soon have a support group to help them combat intimidation and mistreatment.
I Matter, an independent youth group in Dumaguete, will be spearheading an anti-bullying campaign to protect students from bullying and to eventually stop
bullying incidents in schools.
“Our main goal is to create awareness in the youth and in the students about bullying. [Bullying] is an issue, it is a problem. We need to create solutions for it,” said Project Coordinator Lurlyn Carmona.
Dubbed “Pages”, the anti-bullying movement will be launched next month and will run throughout the whole month of February. The campaign will kick off in Silliman
University, Negros Oriental State University and Foundation University with seventh graders as their target audience.
“They are at the bottom of the bullying food chain because they are the young ones susceptible to the hardest bullying [situation],” said Carmona.
No laughing matter
Bullying includes name-calling, ostracizing, spreading rumors and exerting power or control over someone.
According to cyberbullying.ph, 1 in every 10 students stops going to school due to repetitive bullying and nearly 9 in 10 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) students have been bullied about their gender in 2011.
Carmona added that bullying has serious and harmful effects to the
victims. “Bullying can do bad things [to the victims]. It can cause self-anxiety that
might turn to depression and lead to suicide.”
“’Pages’ was created because it stemmed up from the bullying that I got, personally, when I was young,” said Carmona. “But at the same time, it was created for those people who are being bullied right now. We want to change the lives that are being inflicted with the issues of bullying.” I Matter is also tapping graduating education students to help in this campaign to prevent bullying in
the future. Bullying incidents, the group said, are rampant in the school
“Eventually they will be the next generation of teachers They are the
biggest witnesses where bullying happens—in the classroom or the
school. They are the ones who are capable of stopping bullying and
creating change,” she said.