Andrew Matthews and his wife, Julie Matthews releases their latest book, Stop the Bullying


AUSTRALIAN motivational speaker and self-help author Andrew Matthews took a different approach when he released his latest book, Stop the Bullying – a collection of true stories of bullying victims.

Most of his previous books were on the topic of happiness, which is what Matthews’ is best known for.

The idea for the book came because his wife, Julie Matthews had a deep desire to share true stories of bullies and the bullied that she had collected over several years – especially stories involving young children.

“I’ve had these stories with me for three years, believe it or not,” said Julie, a Malaysian who has lived in Queensland, Australia with Andrew for many years now. The couple were in Malaysia to promote the book and their anti-bullying pledge campaign.

“I kept them but I had no idea what to do with them as I never intended on writing a book about bullying. But those stories meant something to me emotionally.

“And when bullying became so rampant and regular, I decided and told Andrew that we had to do a book on bullying.”

During an event at MPH 1 Utama, Selangor last Saturday, Julie told some of the heart-wrenching stories contained in the book, stories of school children who died as a result of bullying. She also made sure the audience knew it wasn’t just a problem in Australia, by reading out several local cases as well.

Launched in Malaysia on July 28, Stop the Bullying is the first book Julie and Andrew have published together.

The book identifies the types of bullying, the ways to stand up against bullying, and how bystanders should act against bullying.

The couple did not only speak to families of bullying victims, but also the families of bullies, which proved to be quite difficult as some were unwilling to share honestly. Nevertheless, they were able find out their side of the story.

“In Stop the Bullying, you’ll certainly read real-life stories of bullies, what they say about what they have done and why they did it,” said Andrew.

Julie added: “Some families try and pretend that they are not harbouring a bully. But at the end of the day they just have to admit they do have a bully in the house.”

Stop the Bullying also touched on some of the things that can cause their children to become bullies, and how to detect signs that their children may be victims of bullying.

On top of that, the book has a strong focus on the role of “bystanders” – the people who witness bullying.

“We want to hit the bystanders hard. Bystanders see these things happen and they don’t do anything about it,” said Julie sternly. “Some bystanders would even record and broadcast the incident online. They are just as guilty.”

The book will be able to help victims of bullying to find the right solutions to the problem. Andrew says that victims need to understand that it is not their fault that they are bullied, and they need to tell someone.

A survey called The Voice Project was conducted by the couple to find out what worked for bully victims and what did not. The findings of the survey proved that the number one solution to fight against bullying is to first tell someone, and keep on doing it.

“Victims should feel okay about telling people that they’re bullied, whether it’s to teachers, parents, friends, or the authorities,” said Andrew.

Chief Inspector Gurdial Singh from Rawang Police Station was a guest at the Stop The Bullying event. He is one of the officers in charge of handling bullying cases in primary schools located in Rawang.

Gurdial said that the case of bullying is most common in secondary schools. However, there has been a rise in bullying in primary schools recently. “End of 2011 and early 2012 was when the phenomena of bullying rose in primary schools as well, involving children aged 10-12.”

He also said that bullying often comes in the form of gangsterism here in Malaysia, where bullying is not normally committed by one individual, but a whole group of bullies.

Gurdial also found that most of the children in schools didn’t know where to seek help from if they were bullied. Most of them wouldn’t even tell their parents.

To help address that problem, a new “Back To School” system was implemented by the Selangor police in June.

Police officers were required to visit primary and secondary schools on a weekly basis to mingle with students during recess.

Students can even communicate with the officers privately, through telephone, Facebook and email.

“The most effective way to fight bullying is to tell someone about it,” said Julie. “Bullying has never been like this before. Now, it has taken a turn to a point of causing death.”

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