We have all been deeply saddened by the suicide of 14 year old Dolly Everett who took her life this last week due to bullying.
As per what should happen when a tragedy like this happens, there is discussion about the horrors of bullying and calls for it to be stopped. But bullying in Australia is a national sport.
Just look at the furore over the name of the Margaret Court Arena since Tennis Great Margaret Court had an opinion that is not shared by some others. Now I am not discussing her actual opinion. I am discussing the fact that she had one that some people disagree with…..the outrage, the online comments, the trolls, the media and even politicians have bullied her relentlessly over the last 6 months, even to the point now that other tennis great Billie Jean King, who actually campaigned for the naming of the Arena to be Margaret Court, now has withdrawn her support.
So the lesson seems to be: if you are famous it’s ok for you to be bullied. Wait up. No. If you are famous and have a conservative view then its ok for you to be bullied.
18 months ago I wrote a blog on how Bill Shorten bullied Corey Benardi – with TV cameras blaring – no one said a word. Click here to read that blog.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Julia Gillard around the topic of bullying and in particular Cyberbullying. The morning of the meeting, I had a 40 minute conversation with model Charlotte Dawson. She told me in great detail about her journey with bullies and how relentless they had been and the impact that it had on her. Just a few weeks after this conversation, Charlotte took her own life.
I was deeply saddened by her death.
So why does the media, personalities and politicians feel that its ok the bully Margaret Court?
Surely in this age of tolerance, we should be more tolerant. I mean the volunteers at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are not allowed to call a man a man or a woman a woman for fear of offending people, yet the media will relentless bully an Australian Icon of Tennis.
And we wonder why calls to end bullying falls on deaf ears…..Sadly, maybe the people who bullied Dolly Everett were merely acting like our media, sports men and women and some of our politicians.
Anyway that’s what I think.
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