Today Wednesday February 28, 2018 is Pink T-Shirt day. This is a day set aside to bring attention to the issue of bullying. Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet. Each year, on Pink T-Shirt Day, people are encouraged to wear something pink to symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere. And the message is one that the original organizers want people to take and remember it all year long. The idea comes from two incredible Nova Scotia high school students in 2007. When a fellow student was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt, they decided to take a stand. They went out and bought pink shirts to give to fellow students to show their support for a boy who was being bullied simply for wearing a pink shirt.
It is so important that victims of bullying know they are not alone and there is help and support available. Wearing a pink shirt on this day sends a strong message to them that others care. Often, the simple act of wearing a shirt can start conversations – conversations can be a big step towards healing and helping! The idea is to speak up, stand together and stop bullying.
Bullying happens in many different forms. It’s doing, saying or acting in a way that hurts someone else or makes him or her feel bad on purpose. Some kinds of bullying are: Verbal (name-calling), Physical (punching, pushing), Social (leaving someone out of a game or group on purpose), Extortion (stealing someone’s money or toys), Cyberbullying (using computers, the Internet, mobile phones, etc. to bully others)
Over 13 million North American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people. The documentary film “Bully” brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.
Award winning Indie film maker Matthew Marshall is spent most of 2017 working on a 30 minute dramatic film on the issue of bullying called “Malicious Attack”. The film which is in post production takes a twist on the traditional bullying story line as at its heart it is a ‘good girl gone bad’ due to being bullied. The bully of the story Savannah not only bullies the “outcast” Raven (April Booth), the “Pregnant Teen” Sara (Tiandra Edwards) the “immigrant” Linda (Dina Jasim) and the grade nine student Jessica Brown (Emma Willsie) but also your run of the mill sweet “good girl” Naomi (Katie Ostojic). Each of these characters has a different reaction and response to the bullying they experience. Naomi is the relentless target of the bullying by Savannah and her friends. Naomi’s best friend Macey (Morgan Flanagan) tries to find ways to help Naomi expose the bullying, but Naomi is unwilling to come forward. The film gives lots of opportunity to discuss the issue of bullying and the reactions of those that are bullied.
When talking about the issue of bullying much of the cast of Malicious Attack relates in some way. Starting with Marshall. “I think we all have seen bullying in some form or another regardless of our ages. Everyone knows someone who has been bullied. It happens every day and it affects everyone”, says Marshall. The films Production Manager and co-Producer Corrinne Wood brings even a more personal aspect to the film. “Having first hand witnessed bullying when I was younger, makes this film mean a lot to me. It has been an incredible journey, with an amazing cast and crew”, says Wood. But the issue of bullying goes beyond the creative team. It is at the core of the people playing the roles. Marshall’s cast for the film is made up of mostly teenagers or students who have just moved on to post-secondary studies recently and have a very real perspective on the issue from a high school level. “They get the issue and are or have been witness to the issue, some even firsthand” says Marshall. Tiandra Edwards who plays Sara a pregnant teen in the film that gets bullied sees the film mirroring real life. “I most certainly relate to Sara and what goes through because I see it in the real world. Not only in a High School environment but also in day to day life outside of school” Katie Ostojic the films lead who plays Naomi says she sees it as well and offered these words about what teens need to know. “If you’re being bullied, you’re never alone and even though it can be scary to come forward, it’s always good to talk to someone you can trust. If you don’t have anyone you trust in your life there are many helplines available, surround yourself in positive people and healthy environments”. Morgan Flanagan offers these words, “bullying is something that touches home for everyone, and is a problem that should be faced head on. I hope this production can bring to light some of the issues people are experiencing”. The film’s bully Lattanzio has her finger of the pulse of the issue and the how it plays itself out in the movie. “This film is an excellent depiction of the culture that surrounds bullying, particularly in the school system. In spite of the numerous opportunities for different characters to intervene in the situation and stop Naomi’s persecution, she is ultimately left to endure the struggle alone. The changes that her character undergoes throughout the film are an unfortunate reality for many victims of bullying” says Lattanzio. April Booth who plays the role of Raven which is one of the girls that gets bullied offered this, “I really believe this film shows the extremes of bullying and what can happen if the bullied don’t speak up. In personal experience, I know the fear that can come with exposing bullies, but a lot worse can happen if you remain silent,” says Booth. Dina Jasim who plays Linda, an immigrant who is bullied in the film offered her words on the effects of verbal abuse and bullying, “Words can hurt deeper than we think. They get into our bodies like a disease, slowly affect our brains and hearts” says Jasim. She went on to talk about why she feels this production is important and wanted to be a part of it. “I have seen people around me struggle with the effects of bullying in their lives. It is because of that I had the desire to be part of this film. I have a hope that through this film we can help bring a light to the issue of bullying as well as I can gain a better personal understand of what those who have been victims of bullying have gone through” says Jasim.
Marshall feels together through speaking out we can make a difference. “If enough people speak out and up then others will listen. It is important that the strong speak up for the weak and that we call out practise that happen in society that lead to or encourage bullying. Parents need to stop telling their kids to ‘Toughen up’ or stop saying ‘kids are kids’. This problem only goes away when we are take steps to stop it.” Says Marshall
More information about the film can be found on IMDb at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6156436/combined
For more information about Pink T Shirt campaign go to http://www.pinktshirtday.ca/why-pink-t-shirts.html
#emotionaleffects #lockedup #beatthebully