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Stand together, stop bullying

Stand together, stop bullying

Monday 13 April 2013

Bullying awareness campaign Pink Shirt Day will be painting New Zealand pink this Friday 17 May. Flashes of pink will be popping up on trains, in schools, shops, and workplaces.

The Pink Shirt Day committee has encouraged New Zealanders to take the Pink Shirt Day messages and run with them – and Kiwis have come up with some amazing ideas.

There’ll be a parade in Raglan, a mural painting session in Lower Hutt, flash mobs in Auckland and Wanganui, and mufti days, breakfasts, talks, and self-defence lessons at schools and workplaces all around New Zealand.

The key message of Pink Shirt Day 2013 is to stand together, stop bullying. By wearing pink on Friday, Kiwis will be saying that they are united against bullying, and will work together to find solutions.

“Each year up to 2500 young people contact Youthline’s national 0800 helpline and free txt service for support around bullying,” says Hannah Sellars, Youthline Manukau Centre Manager.

“There will be plenty more who haven’t yet been able to reach out.”

The power to ask for help is something that everyone has, and organisers hope PSD will encourage those who are experiencing bullying to reach out and tell someone they trust.

“New Zealanders know that bullying is unacceptable,” says Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Judi Clements. “But we need to talk to each other about what bullying is, and what we each can do about it.

“It’s not enough to say ‘someone has to do something.’ Ask yourself ‘what can I do prevent bullying?”

This year Pink Shirt Day also falls on the same day as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

“Same or both-sex attracted youth in New Zealand are three times more likely to be bullied than their heterosexual peers," says Tabby Besley, Chairperson of QSA Network Aotearoa.

“For workplaces it’s a great opportunity to host a breakfast for staff, review your workplace anti-bullying and complaints policy, talk to your employees about communication, and promote activities that better connect your teams,” says Sellars.

“Schools might consider allowing students to wear pink shirts, or hosting a lunchtime anti bullying seminar. individuals might simply ask a mate how they’re getting on.”

Caroline Ongleo from the Peace Foundation says her organisation supports PSD because it aligns with their goals of promoting positive and caring relationships in schools, homes, workplaces, and communities.

“We believe it is important to support PSD as it builds awareness of bullying, and promotes respect for differences and diversity,” she says.

The Pink Shirt Day website (www.pinkshirtday.org.nz) has resources for those who want to organise Pink Shirt Day celebrations in their school, workplace or community. We also have information sheets and contact information for those who are experiencing bullying, and would like to seek help.

The PSD campaign partners are the Mental Health Foundation, Youthline, Rainbow Youth, The Peace Foundation, New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association, Q-Topia, and QSA Aotearoa.


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