It’s not abusive to call a bully a bully!

"To Stop a Bully is NOT Abuse!" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“To Stop a Bully is NOT Abuse!” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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When I critique abusive speech and behavior… which is something I do a lot because it happens a lot… it always surprises me when I get criticized for being a bully myself for doing it. I got that several times yesterday when I posted this cartoon and post about attempts to silence people. Statements like, “You’re no different than the people you’re criticizing!”

No! Not true!

Why are so many people uncomfortable with conflict? Well, to be fair, I’m uncomfortable with conflict. I hate it and try to avoid it all costs. So, I guess the question really is, why are people not willing to get uncomfortable in order to protect the rights and freedoms of others?

Yes! That’s the question!

When I post a strong statement about providing safe places for people to share their experiences, to be heard and even believed, the furious correspondences I get overwhelm me. I’ve been accused of being…

  • a bully
  • abusive
  • untrustworthy
  • ambitious
  • presumptuous
  • dangerous
  • careless
  • disrespectful
  • disruptive
  • naive
  • stupid

I could go on, but you get my point. It never stops. The condescension is rampant. But, isn’t it interesting that these messages are from the bullies and their friends and supporters? I do get far more emails that are encouraging and appreciative, but they’re just from victims and survivors. However, that doesn’t mean anything because they aren’t important. Apparently.

Just remember: it’s not bullying to call a bully a bully. It’s not abusive to say to an abusive person that they’re abusive. It’s not immoral to march against injustice. It’s not unscrupulous to be intolerant of exploitation. It’s not unethical to speak against the suppression of free speech. It’s not wrong to let someone share their experiences. It’s not inappropriate to believe them.

Don’t let the bullies win!

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15 Replies to “It’s not abusive to call a bully a bully!”

  1. People will always make language their ally.
    For this reason, I always am suspect of fad words: Patriot, Terrorist, Bully, Abuse and many more.

    Everyone wants to use the words.
    BOTH sides.
    Word battles make me chuckle.
    We all want to cash in on the power of rhetoric.

  2. This is spot on!

    Earlier this school year my daughter and another student were involved in a situation where a teacher was bullying them. When confronted by it, especially by the students, he said that he felt like he was being attacked.

    Bottom line is, the person who is the bully never thinks that they are a part of the equation. It’s always the other person who is in the wrong.

  3. And it’s not bullying to ask the people who were defending the abuser to please review ALL the information to reconsider their position.

  4. It is honorable to have ambition too see bullying, abuse, oppression, and neglect stopped; to disrespect those behaviors; to be dangerous to their continuance; to disrupt them and to care less whether the perpetrators and their supporters attempt to shut you up! I’ve more than once been accused of loving controversy and confrontation which couldn’t be further from the truth I just like you love my neighbors too much to do and say nothing or indulge my discomfort and fear!

  5. Great point. But a question: What would think about giving the bullies in the last frame angry eyes instead? You drew them with sad eyes — eyebrows sloping downward as they move outward. But bullies are really hypocrites! And while they may pretend to be sad, wouldn’t they be more likely to express self righteous indignation at being challenged? Just a thought. But please keep it up. I really appreciate your commentary.

  6. Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and the Emergent Crowd have sent many a ‘hired hand’ to post negative posts here about Tony Jones’ ex-wife Julie, David, and to try to get control again of the narrative (as everybody has noticed). It hasn’t worked. They must be dismayed and angry. Oh well, toooooooo baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadddd.

  7. Good stuff. From your list above, “naive” is the one that gets me most. Too often I’ve refrained from saying or writing something because I’m afraid I don’t know as much, or I’m missing something that’s obvious to others, and people will laugh at me, whether they show it outwardly or not. For most of my life I’ve believed there’s a secret code that most people know that I just haven’t grasped yet. (Yes, I grew up fundamentalist and latched on to people-pleasing very early in life!)

    I appreciate your ability to thoughtfully interact with negative responses. Good modeling for the rest of us!

  8. Julia: This is the big argument used against the marginalized and their supporters by those in power: “You don’t understand!” I still get it all the time… “You don’t understand. If you knew the facts.” Etc… Use your voice to speak what you do know: that something isn’t right! Thanks.

  9. Great observations and commentary on this David. It kinda reminds me of being called intolerant because you don’t tolerate intolerance.

  10. Just a note everybody that Dee at The Wartburg Watch (North Carolina) set up a fundraiser for (Emergent leader) Tony Jones’ ex-wife Julie M., whom David Hayward featured here. (The idea came from Julie Anne at The Spiritual Sounding Board in the Northwest of the U.S.)

    Tony Jones has repeatedly taken Julie M. to court, after leaving her and their three young children, for some other woman (herself also married).

    For those of you that have donated to the fund for Julie M., that’s wonderful. For those of you considering donating, please do so in any amount. Julie needs help with family law attorneys’ bills and living expenses.

    Spring weather is almost here and we can also get creative: hold a yard sale/garage sale and declutter our homes of things we aren’t using, giving some or all of the proceeds to Julie M. For all of the good souls who want to help Julie M., let’s figure out how to continue to sustain her.

    Finally, thank you David for giving Julie M. a voice.

    I don’t know Julie M., but I care about her, her story, and her well being.

    Thanks from California.

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