Toronto Mayor Rob Ford helped kick off Bullying Awareness Week at city hall on Monday and admitted that he was the victim of taunts in his youth.
This year the City of Toronto has partnered with police, anti-violence group PREVNet, the Toronto Coalition for the Awareness and Prevention of Bullying and others to launch Bullying Awareness Week, which goes until Nov. 18.
“You have to stand up to bullies,” he said. “But if you keep it inside, I think, it could mentally harm you. Make sure people know and point out the bullies.”
Asked if he ever endured bullying, Ford said he was taunted for being overweight as a kid.
“When you’re overweight like I have been all my life, [I’ve] been made fun of and it’s not good growing up.”
Ford issued a Bullying Awareness Proclamation on Monday. Read it here.
In 2003, the Family Channel co-founded Bullying Awareness Week and developed the Stand UP! to bullying campaign in association with PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network).
The latter is a national network of Canadian researchers, community organizations and governments committed to ending bullying and promoting positive relationships.
The channel has special bullying-prevention themed programming and events planned for the entire week.
More than 1.1 million Canadian school-age students are bullied at least once a week, according to PREVNet. However, the bullying stops 57 per cent of the time in 10 seconds or less when peers intervene.
The most notorious bullying incident in recent memory involved Amanda Todd, the 15-year-old B.C. teen, who committed suicide last month after being tormented relentlessly online.
Click here to learn more about the Stand UP! Bullying Awareness Week campaign.
Have you been bullied? Share your stories in the comments below.