Be an anti-bully

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Straight Talk from Girls Who’ve Been There

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Shows You How!
Felicia and Crystal are BFFs, but can you believe they
started out as rivals? Or that Ashley went from a bully to a witness to a target of other bullies? The real-life stories of these three girls featured here and originally published in the August/September 2006 issue of Girls’ Life (a magazine for girls 10-15) represent some of the violence girls face in their relationships with others. P.A.V.E. the Way (Project Anti-Violence Education) is a Girl Scout program that addresses violence and violence-prevention for girls. The P.A.V.E. the Way program focuses on issues important to girls today, including bullying, Internet safety, and crime and gang prevention. This year, 25 Girl Scout councils across the United States, and USA Girl Scouts Overseas in Germany, will conduct P.A.V.E. programs through a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Anti-Bully… Girl Scouts

Be an

If you are interested in doing anti-bullying activities or finding out if your council offers anti-violence programs, ask your local council office. You can help eliminate violence in your school and community, and just like Felicia, Crystal and Ashley, work with others to make the world a better place.

Article courtesy of Girls’ Life magazine. Subscribe now at

What Does a Bully Look Like?
“Lately, my best friend has been acting weird. She seems to hate me, and she’s always hanging out with the popular girls and ignoring me. What should I do?” —Shawna, 13, Canada “A girl in my Girl Scout troop used to be my best friend, but now she is mean. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t talk to her. She talks about me behind my back.” —Shelby, 10, Colorado “People tease me because they think I’m fat! Please help!”—Kate, 12, Minnesota “My sister really scares me. She hurts me and reads my diary. When I tell on her, she says I always get her in trouble. What should I do?” —Rebecca, 11, Massachusetts What do Shawna, Shelby, Kate, and Rebecca have in common? They’ve all written to “Ask Dr. M and Liz,”* the Girl Scout column Dr. Mosatche and her teenage daughter Liz co-author, about bullying. If you’ve ever been bullied, you know how it feels. And even if you haven’t experienced it, you may have watched while someone you know dealt with an attack. Did you do anything? Girls say they don’t act because they’re afraid that, if they stick up for someone, they’ll be the next victim. But if you witness bullying without taking action, you probably don’t feel so great about yourself. *at and

Why Are They So Mean to Me?
by Harriet S. Mosatche, Ph.D.


ired of being caught in the cycle of bullying? Kristen says something about Tina to Brittany who e-mails her buddy list, and before you know it, the whole school is buzzing. Many girls know about bullying—whether they’ve been targets, bystanders or bullies themselves. Want to do something about it? Here’s a first step: Defy self-doubt. That means listening to that small, still voice inside that says you don’t agree. It may not be easy, but it gives you a way to control the only person you can: yourself. As 16-year-old Mia of Connecticut says, “No matter who you are, there will be a person who thinks she’s smarter, better, higher than someone else. So you have to have faith in yourself.”

the Real You: 50 Fun Quizzes Just for Girls (Three Rivers Press/Random House). If some of these sound familiar, then you might be a bully, at least some of the time. • When I’m angry, I often take it out on my younger siblings or kids in school who are smaller than me. • I have spread rumors about ex-friends to get back at them. • I’m jealous when my friends do better than me on a test, so if that happens, I try to sabotage their performance on the next test. • I like the power I feel when I tease other kids. • When I hear classmates asking for help from the teacher, I let others know how stupid their questions are. While some bullies don’t see themselves as such, many know and like the power they hold over other people. (Over 80 percent of girls answered, “I wanted to feel powerful,” when asked in the STUDIO 2B poll, “Have

Are You a Bully?
Though you might not want to admit it, maybe you’ve been guilty of bullying others. Look at the following statements from the quiz “Are You a Bully?” from Getting to Know

You Ever Bullied Someone? Why?” And even if someone purposely trips you as you walk to the back of the school bus or keeps kicking your chair as you try to listen to the teacher, you’re being bullied. Using force or physically threatening others is the kind of bullying that’s easiest to identify. But there are other types, too, such as ignoring, insulting or excluding, that are probably more typical among girls. Take this common example: Say the classmate you’ve been sitting next to at lunch for five months suddenly turns her back as you walk into the cafeteria. When you try to take your usual seat, she quickly tells you it’s being saved for someone else. The same thing happens the next day. You wonder what’s going on and what you might have done to cause this change. The emotional pain you feel may be
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“Good friends stick by each other. They don’t dump each other when a better offer comes along.”

“I know what I’m good at and what I’m not. I don’t need you to point it out.”

“What you did hurt my feelings. I want you to stop!”

“You’re wrong about Lauren! She’s an amazing soccer player.”

“That’s so untrue it’s funny!”

Do you defy self-doubt? Tell us how! Connect with girls at, or e-mail your questions to Join in the fun—become a member of STUDIO 2B® by calling your local Girl Scout council. STUDIO 2B is brought to you by Girl Scouts of the USA.
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To order, contact your local Girl Scout® Council Shop or contact Girl Scout Merchandise customer service at 1-800-221-6707. Visit the Girl Scout Shop online at

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deeper than any physical hurt that would come from someone knocking you down in the hallway. Take another less well-known example: Cyber-bullying, which, since it’s done on the Internet and often hidden from adults, can make any girl a target in an instant. With a simple click of the mouse, a nasty comment or cruel description on a popular personal network site can quickly reach the whole school or neighborhood with the potential to damage a reputation, a friendship or a life.

insulting and excluding, to express themselves. It’s a way to gain power while hiding conflicts from the adults in charge. When girls have other outlets for their emotions, they are less likely to become bullies. Girls who are bullied—at home or school—may become bullies themselves, particularly when they can find a target who’s more vulnerable. But bullies are not necessarily unpopular or lacking in self-esteem. In fact, some may use their abilities to control others and rise to the top of the social group, particularly in middle school.

Why Do They Do It?
Instead of expressing anger directly, some girls use behind-the-scenes means, like

What If You Witness Bullying?
What can you do when the victim of a bully is not you, but a friend, a classmate, or the lit-

tle kid who lives down the street? Don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation. Instead, bring a parent, a guidance counselor, a Girl Scout volunteer or a teacher into the picture. But show your courage and character by standing up for what you know is right. If a bully is spreading lies, correct the misinformation. Say something like, “I don’t think you have the facts right. She actually is a very nice person.” Then stick to your statement. Sure, it’s possible that, by standing up for your friend, you’ll become the target of the bully. But think about this: If you were in the same position, wouldn’t you want your friend to stand up for you? And do you really want your behavior to be ruled by someone you don’t respect?

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Bullies…Victims… Bystanders
Straight Talk From Girls Who’ve Been There
By Janet Lombardi was a bully so my friends wouldn’t make fun of me,” admits Ashley, a ninth-grader from Colorado. Like many girls, Ashley went from being a bully to a bystander and, later, a target. “I became a bystander because I found that if you don’t do anything, you can still be friends with people who make fun of people. They will still like you. But after a while, they started doing it to my sister and other friends, and I couldn’t just sit there. So I stuck up for them…and was thrown out of the group. Then, I became the target.” Digging Out from Under For Ashley, talking to a Girl Scout volunteer was a lifesaver. “I told a leader about what happened to me. Then five months later, she got a grant to help other kids not have to go through what I did. Lisa [the Girl Scout advisor] made me realize that it’s not what they say that’s true, but what I say that’s true.” Ashley’s Advice for Bullies “Think about how it would feel if the person you were bullying started doing those things to you. I am just asking. It is up to you to change. Don’t wait for someone to make you change.” Ashley’s Advice for Victims “I know you. You are waiting for someone to save you, right? No one is going to come unless you stick up for other targets. Yes, I know it’s hard. But it is much harder waiting. Just try!” From Bully to BFF Felicia and Crystal, ninth-graders from Washington, are best friends…today. But it wasn’t always like that. “I used to bully Felicia,” says Crystal. “Then, I had P.E. with her and we started talking. We became friends, and now we’re like sisters.” Felicia agrees that their friendship got off to a bumpy start. “It was odd,” Felicia says about how she felt first meeting Crystal. “She was so much like me. I was scared she’d be the favorite.” Both in the same Girl Scout troop, Felicia and Crystal got to know each other in the group but outside barely talked. “At school,” says Felicia, “Crystal treated me like she didn’t know me. And I avoided her, didn’t talk to her.” Digging Out from Under With the help of Melissa, their Girl Scout advisor, the girls agreed to talk about their roller-coaster


But the discussion in Girl Scouts helped. “My leader is supportive of everyone, especially if there’s a problem on the outside.” Talking helped Felicia and Crystal become “best friends for life.” Felicia’s Advice “If you’re being bullied, turn to someone you can trust. It’s really hard being all alone. It doesn’t have to be a parent, just someone who can help.” Crystal’s Advice “Bullies need to stop. You and I know that if you got bullied you might be mad, so stop being so selfish.” Felicia and Crystal’s Advice “If it weren’t for others helping me and Crystal,” says Felicia, “we wouldn’t be friends.” Sometimes the duo uses non-verbal techniques to bring their friendship back. “I told Crystal,” says Felicia, “if there’s anything I did wrong, write it down so I won’t do it in the future.” The pair also share a photo album and exchange clothing, charms and other symbols of friendship. Felicia shows Crystal the keepsakes when she refuses to talk to her. “If you give this to me, you need to prove it means something,” Felicia reminds her.

friendship with their troop. “I was definitely scared,” says Felicia about discussing the friendship in front of a group of peers who didn’t know her well. “I was afraid of my feelings getting hurt.”

Check out to find out the answers to the polls on bullying and being bullied.

If you’ve been bullied, remember that you didn’t do anything wrong. Bullies are the cruel ones. That doesn’t “Don’t start mean, however, that you are defenseless. Bullies are with me.” more likely to pick on people who seem weak. What can you do to lessen your chances of being bullied? ACT LIKE YOU’RE IN CHARGE, not by stepping over others but by building your self-confidence. The way you stand and look at someone can tell a potential bully, “Don’t start with me.” TAKE SELF-DEFENSE CLASSES, which can help you feel stronger and more mentally alert. TRY NEW ACTIVITIES. You can boost your confidence when you achieve something you hadn’t dared to try before. Whether it’s rock-climbing or starting a book club, challenging yourself to do something different can make you feel strong and successful. TALK TO YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELOR OR PRINCIPAL if bullying is a big issue at your school. If it’s happening in your Girl Scout troop, ask your group’s volunteer advisor to get involved. Work with community programs and people who can help create an atmosphere of respect and safety. You’ll be making the world a better and happier place for everyone—including the bullies. Check out another book by Dr. M: What’s So Bad about Being Good? How to Have Fun, Survive the Preteen Years, and Remain True to Yourself (Three Rivers Press/Random House).

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