Abu Dhabi: A Dubai schoolgirl who bravely shared a bullying video on her Twitter account, calling for action against the bully, said she wants to always speak up for ‘the voiceless’.
Jawaher Wejdan, 15, an Emirati Grade 11 student, said she received the video on another social media platform on Sunday. The 57-second clip shows a young girl crying as one of her peers speaks down to her and pulls her hair.
“The video was being shared by a lot of my friends, and although we were shocked, everyone I knew was too afraid to tag the authorities. So I decided to do it myself,” Wejdan told Gulf News on Tuesday.
So Wejdan posted the video at 8pm, tagging Dubai’s education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), and the school where she believed the incident had occurred. Within hours, the KHDA replied in a tweet, asking if the school had been made aware, and requesting for the details of the girls in the clip.
Other comments soon identified the school as a GEMS Education facility, and the education provider issued a statement upon request, saying “appropriate action [had] already been taken in accordance with our safeguarding policy…”.
Sources said the girl accused of bullying had been withdrawn from the school, along with another student, and that other students had been suspended. Grade 7 students have also reportedly been spoken to and parents contacted.
But Wejdan, who is enrolled at a different school, still appears concerned.
“The UAE is a safe place, and this is the only time I’ve seen such a demeaning video shared on social media. I didn’t want it to keep happening, so I shared it,” she said.
“But is it enough that the bully has been expelled? I hear she has been accepted into another school. What if she continues her behaviour there? What I would like to see is a public apology from her, and more concrete action,” Wejdan added.
Still, Wejdan’s tweet has already been retweeted 900 times as of Tuesday afternoon, so she is pleased that people are aware of the bully’s identity.
Her parents are also aware of the incident, and she said they have been very supportive of her actions.
“My parents weren’t aware initially, but when the tweet went viral and I heard that the news media had been writing about it, I spoke to them. They said they were proud of me, and I really don’t have anything to fear,” she said.
As can be expected, Wejdan, one of seven siblings in her family, hopes to become a lawyer when she grows up.
“I have heard of so many cases of bullying around the world, and no one should be subjected to it. I want speak up for the voiceless and fight for them,” she added.
Wejdan said she was not aware of who had taken the original video, or who had initially shared it.
“But I know no one deserves to be treated like the girl who is being bullied in the video. She is so afraid that she keeps crying and asking to go home,” she said.
Sources say that the bully seen in the video is Dubai-based student and social media influencer with more than 40,000 followers on her Instagram account.
A statement to Gulf News from Instagram, said, “The safety of the people who use Instagram – particularly younger people – is our most important responsibility. We do not tolerate bullying of any kind and take action on content that violates our policies as soon as we’re aware.”