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Miss Universe joins anti-bullying cause

Local News 06 Nov, 2023 Follow News

Miss Universe joins anti-bullying cause

By Lindsey Turnbull

A family fun day took place last weekend at Public Beach, organised by the United Against Bullying Foundation in partnership with the Miss Universe Organisation, and Cayman’s Miss Universe Ilean Powery was in attendance to lend her support to this important campaign. 

Ms Powery explained why she was compelled to support the cause:

“Bullying is an issue that not only affects one person or one demographic, but it can affect anyone because it does not discriminate,” she said. “I think it’s so important for people to stand up against bullying because there are numerous negative long-term effects, such as the development of mental disorders such as PTSD, anxiety and depression and more severely, it could result in people taking their own lives.”

Ms Powery felt it was vital that people used their voices to protect those who might be experiencing bullying and speak out if they are the one being bullied, because the cycle would only continue if people did not.

Janet Young, founder of United Against Bullying, furthered that bullying happened everywhere in schools and the workplace and the most prevalent form of bullying was cyber bullying.

“Anyone can experience bullying; no-one is immune,” she confirmed. “But victims should not allow their experiences with bullying to define who they are.”

At the event, Miss Cayman Islands Universe National Director, Derri Lee, pleaded with people not to jump on the bandwagon of glorifying bullies and elevating social media platforms that promote bullying. 

“Just because some people who are educated, are considered elite or officials, are supporting it for the likes does not mean it should be standardised in our small community.  What it does is break down the element of humanity in a society.  Children and adults are facing some serious mental health issues because of bullying and defamation in our community. Remember negativity is the root cause of mental health issues,” she warned.

Miss Lee said people ought to be careful as to what they fed their mind daily.

“You should wake up in the morning thanking God for a new day with a grateful heart and ready to be a force for good,” she said. “Let’s join forces to work on spreading positivity and eradicating bullying.”

Shihan Floyd Baptist from Purple dragon dojo also spoke about how finding an outlet such as karate or any sport could help children overcome the effects of bullying.

Ms Powery said, as Miss Universe Cayman Islands, some of the greatest ways that she could use her position to ensure that she stood up against bullying was by using things such as her social media platforms to voice her knowledge, understanding and experiences of bullying, as well as connect with and provide hope to those who felt voiceless and helpless in this area.

“Also, whenever I have school visits and radio interviews, I can ensure that the message is spread and it continues to be an ongoing conversation throughout the Cayman Islands,” she added.

Ms Powery said she had had minor experiences with bullying.

“However, with these situations, I’ve learned at a young age to use my voice to defend and protect myself,” she confirmed.  “I did this by ensuring that I told a trusted person near me, whether it was a teacher, counsellor or my parents, about the issue that I was experiencing as soon as I could.”

Ms Powery said she encouraged any young person, or anyone for that matter who was experiencing bullying, to find and speak to someone they trusted about what they were experiencing so that they could receive the help that they deserve.

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