Friday 27 January 2012

Victims of bullying must have justice

I saw a sickening video recently featuring SEVEN teenagers viciously beating an Oriental boy. I will not be posting it here as it has already gone viral and I do not want to give these people anymore publicity.

The one filming this sickening display was a 15 year old girl who lured the victim into the path of these barbaric teens. They stomped on his head, punched and kicked him for 3.39 minutes. They could have very easily killed him. My blood boiled – I was absolutely enraged by these wicked boys torturing a helpless young boy for fun. The term 'feral' that so many people in London protest about being used to describe young people who behave in this manner definitely applies to these boys

But what I'm concerned about is that a hotshot defence attorney could cut a deal which will result in minimal punishment, if any, for the attackers and their records could be expunged so as not to harm their chances of getting a good job in the future.

If I sound cynical it is because this seems to be the way things go, especially in the US. Take the case of Phoebe Prince,15, who committed suicide after a campaign of bullying by nine of her classmates. After standing trial for the part they played in her suicide, sentences of probation and community service were handed down after Phoebe's tormentors pleaded guilty to the charges on May 5, 2011. Does this sound like an appropriate punishment for what they did to her? There are hundreds more stories like this.

Trawl the web for five minutes and you will see that seldom are bullies punished appropriately whether the victim commits suicide or not. Why are schools and local authorities reluctant to punish bullies properly? What is it about this epidemic that causes those with the power to do the most about it to turn a blind eye, thereby empowering aggressive people to continue their reign of terror? Even with all the statistics about how bad the bullying epidemic is the response from authority figures is woefully inadequate; some might even say irresponsible.

What will it take for schools and local authorities to punish bullies appropriately?

Monday 23 January 2012

Why is bullying on the increase?

I recently watched an episode of Judge Judy. The case presented to her was that of a 12 year old boy whose mobile phone had gone missing and he was suing the defendant, a 15 year old girl, Gabriella, for theft.

The phone had somehow ended up in Gabriella’s neighbourhood, which was an hour away from the boy's home. Gabriella's father had found it on the pavement and instead of taking it to the local police station or trying to call some of the numbers in the phone to find out who it belonged to, he took it home. When after a month no one called to claim the phone Gabriella decided to use it.

Here is Gabriella’s version of events: when after a month no one called to claim the phone she started using it. She thought it was a prepaid phone, but the minutes just never ran out. She didn't steal the phone so she wasn’t a thief. When the phone wasn't returned to the young boy, his family should have disconnected the phone line. Yes she used it, but the phone was pretty and she liked it. It wasn’t her fault that the boy had lost the phone. All of this was delivered in between questioning by Judge Judy with a smile in the presence of both her parents.

To add insult to injury Gabriella had run up a phone bill of over $400 and had lost the phone, both of which her parents were made to pay for, thankfully.

Even though Judge Judy then proceeded to give Gabriella’s parents a very condescending lecture on teaching their daughter right from wrong, it was very clear from Gabriella’s behaviour in front of her parents how she had been raised. She did not care at all about what she had done. In fact she couldn't understand why she was in court!

The erosion of the once clear distinction between right and wrong is a global phenomenon. Young people have nothing to fear from their parents or the authorities because there is a whole raft of laws protecting them, which has helped create an entire generation of youth who believe they are untouchable. Every time they are slapped on the wrist or simply allowed to walk away from crimes they have committed it bolsters this belief and makes it difficult for victims to get any kind of justice for the crimes committed against them. This is the main reason, I believe, that bullying is on the increase.

Few cases of bullying are ever brought to court and when they are, they seldom result in a win for the victim. Every excuse in the book is given by defence lawyers ranging from a poor home life to over exhuberant high jinks. It is rare that those who pushed them to the brink are suitably punished. Is it any wonder that an increasing number of those who are being assaulted everyday believe the only way out of their torment is to take their own lives?

Because of the incredible psychological damage bullying often causes, it needs to be made a crime and punished properly. Take a look for yourself – surf the internet and read articles on the subject at your leisure. Victims are often maimed, crippled or killed whilst being assaulted. Why shouldn't teenagers who injure people this way after a campaign of bullying be punished the same way that one person assaulting another in the street would be? Surely the bullies should receive an even stiffer sentence as they targetted their victim and harrassed them relentlessly? What am I missing?

Sunday 14 August 2011

Dealing with conflict

Hey folks! How are you doing? I know, I've broken my vow to blog weekly. But I'm here today!

Lots of things have happened since I last wrote, but I'll focus on one thing. I've learned that the best way to deal with conflict is to confront the source of the issue. It can pay off handsomely. I remember someone saying that confrontation didn't have to be a problem, and I have to say that I agree.

There is a person I work with who up a till a couple of weeks ago was a total pain; a really annoying, and at times, utterly obnoxious individual. They are one of those people who revel in how bright they are and want the whole world to do the same. For sure they are very talented, but they have been using this to try and promote themselves rather than waiting until their character is sufficiently formed to be able to handle the status they quite clearly have their eye on.

I would go home after a day's work enraged at this person and their many indiscretions. I didn't say or do anything initially because I wanted to be absolutely certain that I had got my facts right and that I wasn't imagining the whole thing. Then a couple of months ago, over a period of two weeks, I came across evidence in black and white which proved that I had been correct about this person and their behaviour; the things that I had seen in her attitude and behaviour were real. I no longer needed to torment myself over whether or not I was imagining things. I decided to confront the individual concerned about what I had observed and the things that I was unhappy about.

Firstly, I gave them the opportunity to speak so that they could air any grievances that they may have against me. Surprisingly they appeared to have none, which made her behaviour seem all the more bizarre.

I then drew some boundary lines and let them know what was appropriate and inappropriate in how we were to work together. At certain points their interjections seemed just ludricrous - the solutions were obvious if they would just stop trying to get their own way all the time and consider others. I said everything I had to say and then it was over. The anger which had been burning away on the inside disappeared. My peace of mind was restored and work was no longer the drudge that it had been up until that point.

It fixed in my mind permanently that the best way to stop a situation from getting out of control is to tackle it when it first happens. I shouldn't have waited as long as I did, even if I was unsure at first that they were being insolent. Saying what I had in my heart was like a release and was very liberating for me.

I would encourage everyone, to always confront situations that are robbing you of your peace and joy. Don't let them continue unchecked. It is more than likely that you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Monday 16 May 2011

Don't take your gifts to the grave

A few years ago, I was watching a dvd with my father about a famous Nigerian singer, whom we’ll call Samuel. Samuel, who by the time of narration was well into his 60s, recounted how difficult it had been for him when he first started out. When he was growing up, wanting to be a singer was akin to wanting to be an alcoholic or a drug dealer. It was a major league no-no. The origins of this belief are unclear, but it was every family’s worst nightmare for their child to pursue this career path.

Despite all the strong objections, when Samuel was a young man, he ventured out of his village to perform at a concert. Whilst there he received a telegram from his father saying that he was ill, almost dying, and he requested that his son come home immediately. Shocked, Samuel returned home quickly, expecting to find his father on his death bed, desperately clinging to life for just one more opportunity to see his son’s face. On arriving home Samuel was horrified to discover, as his family imprisoned him in their home, that not only was his father fully alive and well, but the whole thing had been a ruse to lure him back home and convince him using any method that the life of a singer was for those louche individuals for whom life held no purpose; singers were nothing but drunkards and no hopers.

Despite all their protestations, Samuel stood his ground and pursued his dream of being a singer, and eventually received national acclaim. My father told me that there were other professions that were scorned as well, such as nursing ("to do this meant that you were a licentious person; why else would a woman want a job peering at people's bodies all day?"!!!!). The only jobs deemed fit for any self-respecting Nigerian was being a lawyer, a doctor or something in the civil service. Again there was no point of reference for these beliefs.

I'm not sure if he is the actual author of this statement, but Dr Myles Monroe is often credited for saying "the graveyard is the wealthiest place on earth". He means that people have gone to their graves rich with unreleased or unrealised potential, robbing the world of the opportunity to benefit from the incredible gifts and abilities they had been blessed with. This thought played through my mind when I thought of the countless number of people who, because of lack of support from their parents or societal pressure, did not do what they had been created to do. It is such a sad thought. Not everyone has the courage of Samuel to persist with their dreams despite pressure to give them up.

That is one of the reasons that I decided to pursue being a writer. I didn't want to go to my grave without knowing what I could have contributed to the world with just a bit of hard work and self belief. Having turned 39 last week, I am fully aware that I have let a lot of time slip because of procrastination and fear and now really is the time to put my foot on the accelerator and get going!

Have you any dreams that you have given up on? If so, I would encourage you to pick them up again and see if you can still make it happen. Don't rob the world of your brilliance!

Saturday 5 February 2011

My article for my new client

Happy Saturday people! How are you? I'm in the library beavering away and plan to do so for the next three days straight! Gotta get some serious writing done.

Anyhow, after much hooing and haaing one of the posts I've written for my client has finally made it onto the website. We have a few glitches that we are ironing out so the other two aren't on there yet! If you know of anyone in the New York area that loves pets and would like to go to the Westminster Dog Show, show them this:

Thursday 3 February 2011

A working girl with income!

Hi there! Well, I am pleased to confirm that I am now officially blogging for a new client. What I love about blogging is that you write about completely new topics and have to do research and discover how to string things together in a sentence that make you sound like you know what you are talking about! I love learning so this is great. Plus I'm getting paid which is even better! I bought a book the other day which has a section entitled "how to write killer blogs", or in everyday parlance, blogs that will generate Internet traffic which translates into money! My book of choice for the next few weeks!

My draft book came back from the editors. I have a few amendments to make which I will get cracking on this weekend. She suggested leaving out a few chapters, which I'm not sure I agree with, but I will review the situation when I study her comments properly. No church on Sunday so I will make my pilgrimage down to the library and write up a storm.

I think I've made suitable progress on my documentary idea today. I finally managed to get in touch with a woman who is a documentary maker by profession and the ball is finally rolling. I can only imagine her expression at the end of the phone as during our conversation it emerged that I have absolutely no experience of documentary making of any kind and it is just an idea that popped into my head which I want to bring to the screen! I was supposed to email her my outline this afternoon, or as it is known in the trade, a 'treatment', but I discovered that I have either left her email address at home or in the cloak room downstairs from the library! Nuts! I'll have to wait until later to do it. I just need her guidance and expertise on how to bring my vision to fruition. We'll see how it goes!

Oh well, enough slacking, back to trying to turn my crust into a loaf of bread! Toodle-loo!

Thursday 20 January 2011


I've always had a problem asking for money in any form, whether it is outright asking my family to borrow me some money or putting a figure on the services I render. With regards to the latter I have ALWAYS undercut myself.

I have always found it totally impossible to say exactly how much I want to be paid. Well I had a break through today! I was letting someone know how much I would charge for the particular service he wanted. As I was writing the message, I toyed with the idea of putting a lesser amount or offering a two for the price of one service to make the price seem more reasonable. I had already done my research on the matter and knew that what I was charging was correct, but I struggled to do it.

I had just listened to a teaching about the power of the mind and how our thoughts direct our actions. The speaker was saying that if I wanted 2011 to be different from 2010, I would need to change the way I think and the way I see things. I reasoned that I was worth what I was asking; I wasn't scamming the guy at all. "You've got to change the way you see yourself, if you don't see your own worth or believe you worth what you are asking, then you're not going to get very far," I chided myself. So I plucked up my courage and quoted the price that I had in mind. The client then said "wow, that's really reasonable!" Wooooooooooweeeeeeeeee! What a massive breakthrough! I'm so stoked! Here's hoping this is the start of a major turnaround in the area of finances for me!