March 11, 2012

Food for Bullies

Posted in Lifestyle tagged , , , at 12:07 am by potofcallaloo

Photo by Chesi-Fotos

We are a society failing the victims of bullying, while fuelling and feeding those doing the dirty work.

Every time we turn a blind eye or ear to the cries, complaints and pleas of our young people, our colleagues at work, family and friends, and let bullies go unpunished, we are failing our own.

We failed 14 year old Eden Wormer.

She committed suicide on Wednesday after enduring two years of unrelenting bullying, by classmates at the Cascade Middle School in Vancouver, Washington.

Eden’s sister said she tried desperately to fit in. She dyed her hair, tanned her skin, got contact lenses but the bullies never stopped.

She cried, and took her plight public, with frequent posts on Facebook that sent glaring red lights signalling trouble.

The Impact

We don’t know if anyone took notice, but on Wednesday Eden gave up and ended her life.

Her school has said it’s investigating to see if she ever reported the incidents, while Vancouver police said they haven’t found any evidence to suggest that “the bullying rose to the level of a crime.”

Seriously?

How many more Edens must die or suffer before society realises the devastating impact of bullying on its victims? Bullying is a form of abuse.

Apparently, one media house said it only became aware of the tragedy while investigating the case of another student, Izaya Hamilton, who suffered a black eye, bruises and a bump on the head at the hands of bullies.

Bullying takes on many different forms, and can form part of verbal, emotional abuse and physical abuse. I can only assume that society’s failure to act is due to sceptism over the seriousness of bullying. Any uncertainty or denial in that regard can easily be fixed by examining the evidence.
There’s no shortage of statistics, examples or research pointing to the ramifications of bullying in the school, workplace or home.

How to help

Bullying isn’t uncommon, and as someone who has suffered from it, I have firsthand experience of how dismissive people can be when it’s reported (people meaning society, those in authority and yes, even our loved ones!).

Some people even try to blame victims, suggesting that it’s probably something they did unintentionally to prod others into bullying them.

It gets that crass.

These attitudes do NOT help victims of bullying.

Among other things, anti-bullying charities say we can actually help by:

∙ Listening
∙ Taking victims seriously and reassuring them

∙ Helping come up with a plan of action

∙ Reporting it to those in authority

No one should have to endure being hurt like this.

Take a stand against bullying.

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