Vancouver – Charlie McMartin, a young man who lives with cerebral palsy, has a message he’d like to share: “Bullying hurts people’s feelings and lowers their self-esteem. People with disabilities are just like anyone else. We just have greater obstacles to face than most people.”
Children and youth with disabilities are especially vulnerable to being bullied by their peers, according to CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Reports show this trend also permeates into older age groups. For these reasons, the Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia (CPABC) is launching the #JustLikeYou campaign as part of this year’s National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week. Victims Week takes places from May 28 to June 3, 2017 and is an annual initiative of Justice Canada. The theme for the week is “Empowering Resilience.”
CPABC Executive Director Feri Dehdar says, “People with disabilities are already strong and resilient and overcome many challenges every day. We believe that victims need to be resilient, but so do the witnesses. It’s a matter of mobilizing our thoughts and being part of the solution, not standing silently.”
While many efforts have been made to increase acceptance for people with disabilities, new media and technology have changed the landscape for bullying. “I think people are being bullied even more today because of social media and selfies that can be widely circulated,” says an anonymous member. “It is very difficult for young people to not be affected by social media and dating sites. The situation opens up a whole new set of challenges.”
Starting May 28th, CPABC will be sharing thoughtful messages and highlighting resources that can be used when faced with victimization. The campaign will be shared through social media, transit and print advertisements. Take action by joining the conversation using these hashtags:
#VictimsWeek, #StopBullying & #JustLikeYou
CPABC is dedicated to creating a Life Without Limits for people living with disabilities in British Columbia.