Young people from different parts of the world learned about “peer victimization” from the experts at Izmir University of Economics (IUE). A group of 45 people consisting of students aged 14 – 17 from Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Slovakia, Greece, and Turkey and their teachers came together at Izmir University of Economics as part of the Erasmus+ Project organized by Manisa Polinas Vocational and Technical Anadolu High school.
Clinical Psychologist Özge Yüksel, Research Assistant at IUE Department of Psychology, and Clinical Psychologist Merve Minkari from IUE Psychological Development and Counselling Center, talked about psychological impacts of peer victimization, factors that cause bullying, roles of people witnessing this, and precautions. Dance and motion therapy and creative drama techniques were also shared with students in order to promote healthy campus initiative.
Clinical Psychologist Özge Yüksel pointed out that being subject to peer victimization caused lack of self-confidence in children and adolescents and affected their school success negatively. Yüksel said, “Peer victimization is the experience among children of being the target of physical, verbal, sexual, social, emotional, or psychological harm from a peer. We need to tell these behaviors apart from simple fights or joking around, and protect these victims. We also need to help bullies express themselves better. We wanted to create an international awareness by participating in this project. Bullying does not involve two parties only (bully and the bullied). We are a crowd of curious onlookers by not getting involved. We need to defend and protect the victims, which is one of the most effective ways to empower them.” Yüksel reported that following this initial training in Turkey, students would get together with experts in Denmark and other countries.