Lisa Wilkinson has bravely opened up about her battle with bullying while she was growing up, as Malcolm Turnbull wrote to schools across the country urging them to tackle the growing problem as a matter of urgency.
The prime minister pleaded with school principals to sign up to the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, on March 16, prompted by the recent and tragic death of teenager Dolly Everett. Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham confirmed the news on Twitter, as he teamed up with the PM on the new project, and said: “All students have the right to be safe at schools.”
Now, appearing on The Project last night, TV star Lisa, 58, revealed her own childhood hell, and admitted her parents were left feeling “helpless” as she battled with “humiliation”.
Speaking to anti-bullying campaigner Lucy Thomas, she said it left her feeling like she didn’t want to “excel” at anything, adding: “If I was doing well at something, that meant that I stood out and became more of a target and what it means is that kids want to disappear between the cracks, which is terrible.”
She said it eventually had a negative effect on her parents too, who felt “helpless”, explaining: “I didn’t tell my parents – I felt so humiliated and so small as a result of it.”
Lisa is not alone, and people of all ages, right across the world, struggle with bullying. Revealing the extent of her own experience, she added: “Sometimes half the school would be surrounding me because the toughest girl in the school wanted to fight me… It’s the most awful, humiliating moment I’ve experienced in my life and I really feel for kids.”
As co-host Carrie Bickmore asked how she overcame the problem, Lisa said the “girls” eventually left the school and she finally “found herself”. Sending an inspiring message to other kids going through the same thing, as well as their worried families, she concluded: “I walked out the gate and made a promise that I would never again allow somebody to decide on my behalf who I was and what I was capable of, and they do go away.”
Viewers immediately flooded social media with praise for the presenter, applauding her bravery in speaking out. One wrote on Twitter: “Powerful words from @Lisa_Wilkinson after revealing surprising bullying experience; ‘Never will I let someone else decide for me who I am or what I’m capable of’.”
Another added: “Blown away by @Lisa_Wilkinson opening up and sharing her experiences of bullying on @theprojecttv . THANKYOU!” And one wrote: “@theprojecttv @Lisa_Wilkinson brave and generous disclosure of bullying experience – and excellent advice to Govts bureaucrats & pollies – listen & help young people most affected STAND UP & TAKE THE LEAD.”