I’m very fortunate to have a close working relationship with the amazing folks from Media Out Loud who publish Compete Magazine and StandUp Magazine. They are true champions of sports equality and undisputed leaders in the global effort to stop bullying.
They’re also getting ready to present the 2013 Compete Sports Diversity Awards, which will take place in Los Angeles on Tuesday, November 12 at 6:30 PM (PST). This year’s Sports Diversity Award recipients include Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers and several other leaders in the fight for equality in athletics. I’m thrilled to be serving as a co-host for the event. Please email me at Troup@troupconsulting.com for more information about the Sports Diversity Awards!
I’m also excited to share the full text of a new article I wrote for StandUp Magazine’s Fall 2013 edition, which focuses on innovative and effective partnerships that have the power to end bullying. You can read my article below, and make sure to click here to check out the digital version of the magazine.
The Potential of Powerful Partnerships to Stop Bullying
StandUp Magazine – Fall 2013
“Instead of focusing on their individual agendas, collaborative partnerships establish common goals. In order to address problems that lie beyond any agency’s exclusive purview, but which concern them all, partners agree to pool resources, jointly plan, implement, and evaluate new services and procedures, and delegate individual responsibility for the outcomes of their joint efforts.” – Atelia I. Melaville with Martin J. Blank, What It Takes, Washington DC, Education and Human Services Consortium.
In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, here are some statistics that indicate just how pervasive bullying is in the digital age –
- Roughly 30% of all students in the U.S. are regularly involved in bullying, either as the victim or the perpetrator.
- The highest percentage of bullying incidents involves students in grades 6 through 10.
- 77% of students have experienced “verbal bullying,” which includes harassment, infliction of mental anguish or distress, and discriminatory or hate speech based on the victim’s race, gender, sexual identity, religion, etc.
- Of the 77% of students who experienced verbal bullying, 14% had a “severe or bad reaction.” These reactions include low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts or behavior.
- 80% of all U.S. high school students have “encountered being bullied in some fashion online. These growing numbers are being attributed to youth violence including both homicide and suicide.”
- 35% of all teenagers say they have been threatened online on at least one occasion.
- 50% of teens report having used the Internet to write or share something intended to be mean or hurtful to at least one of their peers (All facts and figures provided by isafe.org and BullyingStatistics.com).
When aggregated, these statistics illustrate that bullying is a systemic problem in the U.S. – one that touches every student and teenager at one time or another. As with any complex social issue, stemming the tide of bullying requires a sustained, multi-pronged movement that simultaneously engages and unites parents, students, educators, administrators, advocates, law enforcement personnel, government officials and corporate leaders.
With such a wide range of concerned parties, getting everyone on the same page is no small feat. If you look at other pervasive social problems, collaborative opportunities frequently fall off track because the key players can’t agree on an understanding of the problem, let alone the optimal way to intervene. Despite these challenges, partnerships have tremendous potential to create positive change when executed effectively. Whether in politics or activism, I always encourage collaboration over competition. I’m fortunate to apply this on a daily basis to my work on AT&T’s diverse partnership with the Trevor Project.
Though appearing last in my preceding list of key players, corporations aren’t any less important than others in the anti-bullying movement. On the contrary, they MUST play a very active, collaborative role if the movement is to be successful. Nonprofit expert and writer Erdin Beshimov provides an excellent perspective on this issue –
“Not so long ago the business and non-profit sectors stood at arms length from one another and were even seen as polar opposites whose agendas conflicted. Businesses today are exhibiting broad receptivity to the socioeconomic agendas of nonprofit organizations. In their turn, nonprofits are putting greater trust in the message of social responsibility emanating from the business world. Businesses and nonprofits today are exhibiting patterns of genuine collaboration, especially in areas where their interests intersect” (Beshimov, Trends to Watch: Non-Profit and Business Partnerships, http://www.experience.com).
Corporations certainly have the resources to uplift other key players in the anti-bullying movement. But their role goes far beyond providing financial support. Because corporate America is responsible for most of the advertising messages and entertainment content that students and teens see on a daily basis, they also have the power to create widespread awareness about social problems. Integrating anti-bullying messages and themes into mass media and digital content can be very influential. Many corporations also have access to elected officials and other stakeholders whose support and engagement is necessary to end bullying. In sum, the optimal role for corporations in the anti-bullying movement is a sustained commitment that results in broad, layered partnerships.
In return for their generosity, businesses actively partnering to combat social problems cultivate a positive corporate image. They also send strong messages to consumers and competitors about their culture, priorities and values.
Corporate partnerships are one of the most effective tactics available to support the anti-bullying movement – and they’re very good for business!
TROUP there it is!!