voices against bullying (VAB)
VAB is an integral component of a comprehensive bullying prevention, care and support program. It has a number of different but interrelated roles. In Uganda today, bullying, hate language and discrimination of any nature have become a new lifestyle that leads to deaths in some parts of the country. When it comes to students, many have denounced school and others have been expelled due to their social differences. Often, those that stand the torture are victims of mental retardation. EHA has revised a measure to avert the nation-wide deadly tendency of bullying by initiating the VAB campaign.
This campaign can:
- Increase knowledge. VAB can ensure that people are given the basic facts about respect for each other and consequences of hate language through an approach or visual medium (or any other medium that they can understand and relate to).
- Stimulate community dialogue. VAB can encourage community and national discussions on the basic facts about bullying and the underlying factors that contribute to the vice, such as risk behaviors (suicide and mob justice) and risk settings, environments and cultural practices related to sex and sexuality, and marginalized practices (such as drug use) that create these conditions. It can also stimulate discussion of prevention, care and support.
- Promote essential attitude change. VAB can lead to appropriate attitudinal changes about, for example, perceived personal risk of HIV infection, belief in the right to and responsibility for safe practices and health supporting services, compassionate and non-judgmental provision of services, greater open-mindedness concerning gender roles and increasing the basic rights of those vulnerable to and affected by HIV and AIDS.
- Reduce stigma and discrimination. Communication about bullying prevention and hate language mitigation should address stigma and discrimination and attempt to influence social responses to them.
- Create a demand for information and services. VAB can spur individuals and communities to demand information on bullying and appropriate services.
- Advocate. VAB can lead policymakers and opinion leaders toward effective approaches to the vice.
- Promote services for prevention, care and support. VAB can promote services for STDs, intravenous drug users (IDUs), orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs); voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for mother-to-child transmission (MTCT); support groups for PLHA; clinical care for opportunistic infections; and social and economic support. VAAB is also an integral component of these services.
- Improve skills and sense of self-efficacy. VAB programs can focus on teaching or reinforcing new skills and behaviors, such as condom use, negotiating safer sex, inclusive programs in all schools and safe injecting practices. It can contribute to development of a sense of confidence in making and acting on decisions.
Improve skills and sense of self-efficacy. VAB programs can focus on teaching or reinforcing new skills and behaviors, such as condom use, negotiating safer sex, inclusive programs in all schools and safe injecting practices. It can contribute to development of a sense of confidence in making and acting on decisions.
The importance of addressing bullying in the context of VAB campaigns has programmatic implications that transcend questions of compassion and humane treatment. Failure to address bullying jeopardizes VAB programs in critical ways such as: Prevention, Quality of care, and policy.