I know, National Anti-Bullying Month was last October. But, I don’t have to wait ’til next October to raise awareness about an issue that affects people’s daily lives. Bullying is a serious issue that I feel needs to be discussed. As a victim of bullying myself in my early childhood, I know how it feels to be pushed unwillingly to do something against your will. After the incidents in Elementary school, I felt I couldn’t speak up about it. I didn’t want to tell the school administrators and my parents about it because I was too scared. I was afraid the boys would hate me so much that the bullying would just get worse. Now, about nine years after it happened, I feel now is the time to raise awareness for it. (WARNING: If you find yourself too immature to handle this subject, please either try to get yourself together and not post any immature comments, or get off my blog. Thank you.)
As I said, bullying is a matter that should be taken very seriously. It is the act of intimidating people, regardless of gender and ethnicity, whether you’re lesbian, gay, bi, or transsexual, and sometimes even using that intimidation factor to get what the bully wants. Some people think it’s funny to see the reaction on the victims’ faces when they’re being bullied. It’s not. Put yourself in the shoes of the victim. Imagine yourself on the first day of school, walking in the school halls wanting to make new friends, when all of a sudden a group of tough guys sees you, and say “Hey, look at that fat ass.” or “How’s it going, faggot?” After you receive your first pile of books, the same jerks intentionally push you aside, making you fall and drop your books. Meanwhile, as you lay helplessly on the ground, you can hear them in the distance laughing at you. When you’re facing this kind of situation daily, it’s torture.
There are different types of bullying: physical, verbal, and cyber bullying. Physical and verbal tend to go hand in hand. Earlier, I gave a scenario of an individual being called mean names and pushed around. That’s both physical and verbal bullying. Of course, from there, things can turn from bad to worse. Cyber bullying is basically verbal bullying taken to the next level. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site, or email, the offending party sends hateful messages to or about the victim,
Every day, month, and year, students are bullied. The sad thing is that their parents, teachers, and others may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Here are the numbers in 2011 (courtesy of “Stomp Out Bullying” http://stompoutbullying.com/aboutbullying_theissue.php):
Physical And Verbal Bullying
- 1 out of 4 teens were bullied.
- 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school and online.
- As much as 160,000 kids refused to go to school on any day because they’re afraid of being bullied.
- 1 out of 5 kids admitted being a bully, or doing some acts of bullying.
- 43% feared harassment in the bathroom at school.
- A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they thought violence increased at their schools.
- 282,000 students were physically attacked each month at their secondary schools.
- 43% of kids had been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen multiple times.
- 97% of middle schoolers had been bullied online.
- 47% ages 18-24 were cyber bullied.
- 35% of kids had been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen multiple times.
- 21% of kids had received mean or threatening emails or other messages online.
Unfortunately, because students are so scared to face the constant abuse daily and teachers, parents, and others don’t understand the severity of the situation, suicide eventually becomes the inevitable alternative to escaping the emotional pain. If you still can’t be mature enough to handle this subject, well, perhaps the following stories will change your attitude about it.
Now, if for some reason you believe that the stories I’m about to present to you are fake just because I got ’em off the Internet, they’re real. If anyone actually made up a suicide from bullying story for whatever reason, that’s just messed up. You don’t joke about that kind of thing. But anyway, these teens suffered through a tremendous ordeal of bullying that ultimately pushed ’em over the edge. Of course, it’s not like nothing could’ve been done to help ’em. Which is why for each story, I will be offering my take on what’s wrong and what should’ve been done, but it wasn’t done.
14-year-old New York student Jamey Rodemeyer was one of those who had high hopes and dreams for their future. But there was one aspect of him that wasn’t like any of his peers. He was gay. He took pride in being a gay individual. His idol was Lady Gaga. Unfortunately, it was because he was gay that he was constantly tormented by bullies with gay slurs against him online for more than a year. The bullying started back in middle school, where his family and friends say he started enduring hateful comments towards him, mostly related to his sexual orientation. On morning of Sunday, September 18th, he was found dead. As police further investigated the case, Jamey had sent signals on social networking sites that he was struggling being gay, although he had encouraged fighting off the bullies on a YouTube video. Friends reported these acts of bullying to guidance counselors to stop this bullying, but everyone especially his family had thought he’d grown stronger to bullying. Now, I like the fact that his friends decided not to be jerks and join in the bullying fest, or Jamey really would’ve been more tormented. But, never ever assume that just because someone is trying to shrug it off doesn’t mean things are getting better. There was obviously a boiling point that no one realized, and that’s what drove Jamey to commit suicide. He might have consulted with his teachers and counselors, but like most bullying victims, he must have been scared deep inside. However, even if he was scared, I felt he should’ve done something, like plead with his counselor or the school administration to take action. I mean, the whole school doesn’t have to know that he told the administration, because obviously the bullying would get worse if the whole school did know. But, he shouldn’t have just let himself just constantly get tackled by hateful comments. His mentality would have broken down eventually, which of course led to his suicide. If the school doesn’t do much or anything about the situation, take things into your own hands. That’s when you can stand up for yourself and let yourself be heard, even if it means taking the worst beating. Try to get the majority of students on your side. And if all people do is just sit there and watch and maybe even videotape, he should’ve just asked to transfer schools.
Tip of the Day: If you see a friend or just some random person being pushed around, do something about it. Talk the victim through his/her fears and have them to talk to their counselor or their teacher to offer their side of the story. Don’t ignore the dangers of ignorance.
I really hope you guys all not only enjoyed this first part of my “Anti-Bullying” series, but are now at least a little more aware of what goes on around you. I’m, obviously, not asking you guys to look into the future, or into other people’s lives without permission. But, if there’s something that you think is wrong, at least you know what to do.
Stay tuned for part two tomorrow!