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Awkward conversations save lives – Do it for Dolly

Abbie Tiller

Do it for Dolly day – more than a well-branded fundraiser

Blue butterflies, bright shirts and burly blokes in trucker caps, doing it for Dolly.
Friday May 10 is dedicated to bringing communities together, spreading kindness and uniting in taking a stand against bullying.

But let’s remember that “Do it for Dolly Day” is so much more than a well-branded fundraiser. Amy Jayne “Dolly” Everett was a 14-year-old Australian teenager who died by suicide after extensive bullying. Sadly, we need to use this harsh reality to stop our kids from being arseholes and provide them a space to “speak even if their voice shakes”.

Gone are the days where bullies resemble Buzz McAllister or Draco Malfoy. Bullies are often wolves dressed up as sheep. They can be girls with pigtails, using eager-to-please boys to do their dirty work. Their parents pack their beautiful Bento lunchboxes and neatly tie their hair, oblivious of their ability to morph into “mean girls”.

I was raised in the days where “sticks and stones might break my bones, but names will never hurt me” – a statement that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Since then, society has learnt that it’s ok to feel emotions. Many would rather the sticks and stones over the constant fear, blackmail and self-worth sabotaging.

I often think that if I could change something about this world,  bullying would be right up there on the priority list. Among all of the other stressors in life, this is surely something we have the power to stamp out with early intervention and role-modelling.
If only young people were more aware of the fact that all of them arrive at school each day from vastly different homes. For some, school is a safer place than home.

I’ve recently been watching channel 7’s Spotlight program on international Scammers. In one episode a reporter travelled to Nigeria to come face to face with a ‘Sextortionist’ – another form of bullying we need to make sure the young people in our lives are aware of.

The Nigerian “scammer” was part of a sick money-making scheme which led to an Australian teenager taking his own life within an hour of being blackmailed with nude pictures in return for money or “gift cards”.

If your kids have electronic devices, they also need to know of this kind of extreme on-line “bullying”. Awkward conversations save lives. Suicide isn’t a nice topic of conversation, but sadly it’s a harsh reality for some.

So as you tie that blue ribbon and “Do if for Dolly”, use the moment to ask the tough questions. Have you been bullied? Have you bullied someone else? And do you know that “together” we can tackle anything?

Do it for Dolly ­čÖĆ ­čŽő

To donate to Dolly’s Dream AND for resources for parents click here

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