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Author Topic: Bullying  (Read 2563 times)

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Offline doodasaurus

Re: Bullying
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2012, 06:56:58 AM »
I dislike the way the word bullying is used.  It invokes images of grade school pranks in the schoolyard – sticking chewing gum in girls' hair sort of thing. 

In my experience, though, the word bullying is used to cover felony offenses.  If it wasn't kids, if it was adults who did that behavior to other adults, it would be stalking, sexual harassment, strong arm robbery, assault and occasionally torture (physical or psychological).  Outside of the schoolyard, “bullying” gets you thrown in jail.  But these literal felony offenses are swept under the carpet by a word designed to evoke a childlike innocence that is simply not present in the acts as performed.  So, the word is used as a cover to maintain a malevolent status quo where thugs get to terrorize other children with almost no repercussions (and, indeed, often quite a bit of praise from the faculty).

To meaningfully combat the violence and intimidation that is routine in schools, I think we have to call a spade a spade.  What we're talking about is nothing like grade schoolers making snide rhymes about each other, but literally criminal offenses.

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2012, 10:15:45 AM »
I dislike the way the word bullying is used.  It invokes images of grade school pranks in the schoolyard – sticking chewing gum in girls' hair sort of thing. 

In my experience, though, the word bullying is used to cover felony offenses.  If it wasn't kids, if it was adults who did that behavior to other adults, it would be stalking, sexual harassment, strong arm robbery, assault and occasionally torture (physical or psychological).  Outside of the schoolyard, “bullying” gets you thrown in jail.  But these literal felony offenses are swept under the carpet by a word designed to evoke a childlike innocence that is simply not present in the acts as performed.  So, the word is used as a cover to maintain a malevolent status quo where thugs get to terrorize other children with almost no repercussions (and, indeed, often quite a bit of praise from the faculty).

To meaningfully combat the violence and intimidation that is routine in schools, I think we have to call a spade a spade.  What we're talking about is nothing like grade schoolers making snide rhymes about each other, but literally criminal offenses.

I agree with that, doodasaurus.  The things in your first paragraph are exactly what most adults think of when they think of bullying.  Maybe the 'big kid' that tips your books out of your arms, or intimidates you into giving up your lunch money, at worst.  It still brings to mind something almost cartoonish - and we know that no one really gets hurt in cartoons. 

I have to wonder what the reaction would be if parents started getting reports of 'your child has been assaulting another child' instead of 'your child has been bullying another child.'

Offline doodasaurus

Re: Bullying
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2012, 10:25:41 AM »
I agree with that, doodasaurus.  The things in your first paragraph are exactly what most adults think of when they think of bullying.  Maybe the 'big kid' that tips your books out of your arms, or intimidates you into giving up your lunch money, at worst.  It still brings to mind something almost cartoonish - and we know that no one really gets hurt in cartoons. 

I have to wonder what the reaction would be if parents started getting reports of 'your child has been assaulting another child' instead of 'your child has been bullying another child.'

I think that's what parents should do, absolutely.  Take it to the *police*.  And if the police fail to treat the case seriously, sue them for discrimination -- for treating crimes perpetrated by children as insufficiently serious to merit investigation and prosecution.  A bunch of people would whine about how it's not so bad -- but what I think should be emphasized is this behavior is simply *criminal* under current statutory law.  We have, as a society, already agreed that stalking, strong arm robbery, sexual harassment, assault and torture are illegal and anyone who says that such laws should not be used to protect children is a real scumbag.

I also think we need to look long and hard at a social institution where this kind of violence and intimidation exist -- how it got that way.  Not necessarily to place blame -- though I think that the behavior of some people in the school system is frankly criminal -- but to insure it doesn't happen, again.

Certainly, we need to stop the violence and intimidation -- which is already illegal behavior under normal criminal codes -- if we're serious about protecting our children.

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2012, 11:35:44 AM »
I think the parents should be the ones investigated and held accountable when their child is reported for bullying another child.  Children need to learn to be responsible but it is the parents who are the ones to teach them to own their actions.  Punishment or reimbursement for both parent and child would make me happy.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Bullying
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2012, 01:55:50 PM »
Callie, that's awful! I hope it's all behind you now...

I think that tozhma is right in saying that it can be subjective as both types have their own varying degrees of severity. In the most extreme cases, I've heard of physical bullying shifting into the areas of sexual abuse or permanent damage. I'm going to refrain from going into anymore detail than that...

Well after a certain point in Ireland it became more mind games than one on one beatings. I grew up to be a fairly nasty kid one on one. I kicked shins and knees, in at least one anticipated encounter I brought a sprayer full of mustard powder to a fight and on one day two handfuls of lead shot in a pouch, because when a bully comes running up on you getting a face full of triple ought in the face slows them down and then a second one in the face of his backup gets you time to run clear. Today, if I was in school some of my tactics would change but odds are some of the equalizes I used and the tactics I used one on one would get me charged.

Of course most of the fights I had were typically two or three on one with no way out. One family in the area had it in for me, the Burkes back in Newtowneforbes. One of them broke an arm playing soccer and my mom, who was a nurse, took him to the hospital. Who did his brothers blame? Me. If I hadn't had the perfect alibi of being 30 miles away taking riding lessons the Guarda would have tried to charge me.

I'm betting that is why we got to spend the last six months of school in the Protestant school in Longford.

Offline Shjade

Re: Bullying
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2012, 02:00:24 PM »
I think the difficulty of bullying is probably subjective.

Also true.

Offline Katrina

Re: Bullying
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2012, 08:45:27 PM »
At least, now, there's little tolerance for bullying in schools.  I was bullied in school, but when I was in school, I'm sure the same is true for many of you, bullying was regarded by some (usually the bully's parents, who were probably bullies themselves) as it "just kids being kids."  I wish people would have cared more back then but I'm glad to see a change coming for my kids. 

My daughter just wants to fit in and a few years ago, one of the more, not sure how to put this...kids most were scared of, seemed to take her under his wing and looked out for her.  From a parents pov, third grade boys usually don't do that as thats the ew...cooties age.

But yea, bullying needs to be ended on all fronts.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2012, 10:14:15 PM »
The omnipresence that bullying can assume now -- when social media and the Internet can be motivated to essentially pursue some poor person into an early grave -- is indeed an important thing for people of earlier generations to keep in mind. It's a genuine qualitative difference between our world and that of the Eighties and the early Nineties (or earlier).

I also think that in bullying today, the stakes have gotten potentially higher for kids in many places than they were in the past. Performing gangsterism has been a common way for adolescents to act out for a long time, but now that reverence of gangsterish behaviour has become such a pervasive social norm that even investment bankers behave this way, I wonder if there isn't a much higher frequency of bullying escalating to death threats -- and I mean serious death threats, not just yahoos hyperbolically yelling "I'll kill you" -- than there was prior to the turn of the century.

People who remember bullying pseudo-fondly or at least as a growing experience mostly, I find, had the luxury of not having had to deal with it in isolation. This was certainly true in my case: I encountered many instances of attempted bullying growing up in Junior High and High School -- some of it racial, as was par for the course for a nonwhite kid in what was then a relatively redneck mid-sized Canadian city, and some of it on account of my geekiness and D&D playing drama- and band-nerd "weirdness" -- but though I was never quite cool enough to be part of the "in" crowd at those schools, I wasn't entirely without large and violent friends either. I was uncoordinated and scrawny, for instance, but just athletic enough to havea few buddies on the football team. I was awkward to some extent, but just social enough to have networked with my local "badasses." Looking back, it made all the difference: there were words and posturing but never violence or the really serious threat of violence. There was rarely anything I couldn't talk or joke my way out of. There was never a pack of bullies who could actually isolate me and go to work on me mentally or physically, as much as many of them plainly wished they could. I was never shoved in a locker, or mugged, or beaten, or chased and terrorized. I was egged once, I think; the stuff of which falsely benign memories of "bullying" are made.

What stands out to me from all this is not that Kids Today should suck it up and treat bullying as a growing experience. It's that I was extraordinarily lucky -- in ways that other kids I went to school with, whose fates I never thought about until much later, probably and in some cases almost certainly weren't -- and that going to school shouldn't be about playing a lottery of potential torment at the hands of your peers. And my status on the tolerated margin didn't always lead me to behave honourably myself. I remember vividly the night that one of my friends, or at least drinking buddies, in high school got one too many beers in him and seriously suggested that we take some baseball bats and go out gay-bashing. I shot the suggestion down as contemptuously as I could... but I didn't get up and leave. I didn't renounce his friendship. I didn't think about what might have happened on the nights I wasn't there to say "no." In fact I deliberately avoided thinking about it; the "friend" in question was one of those people I relied on for my own relatively protected status. That memory is a lifelong regret and a shameful fact... but it's a fact.

Hopefully the anti-bullying movement is paying some attention to those kinds of insidious margins of the phenomenon. Bullying is enabled as much by the kids who are "going along to get along" -- and these, as often as the actual bullies, are the kinds of people who grow up to say "just suck it up" to others -- as by anything else. If that comes across, if those insidious kinds of implication merit some real attention, it should hopefully result in more progress. But I'm happy to see the anti-bullying movement making waves.

I don't know how this all translates to the online world. I'm not invested enough in online interactions to be particularly moved when someone calls me names or behaves belligerently toward me on a forum. The kinds of people who will go crazy enough to attempt to whip up an entire forum against one person are toxic, and more deserving of the label "bully," perhaps, but the few attempts at that which I've personally encountered have typically not worked, so I weigh it differently than someone else might. The really scary variant of online bullying is the people who go nuts over online interactions and actually attempt to destroy others in the offline world -- searching out their identities, harassing their families and employers and so on -- and there's nothing to be done with such people except to shun them, because often they imagine themselves to "defending" someone, or themselves, against an imagined threat.

Offline Ryuka Tana

Re: Bullying
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2012, 10:17:03 PM »
"I was bullied, and my mother didn't tell me to fight back, she told me to make friends. I can't think of a single bully I didn't ignore or make friends with... I wonder how many people have considered that..."

"Of course, I got through high school by making sure that people felt like I might stab them if they looked at me funny. The bully is worse than the victim, but I once told my friend that if I saw him taking a beating, I'd let it happen. If I saw him even try to get away or fight back, I'd rip his bully a new one. The world's a pretty awful place, and I'm not saying you have to be a killer, but if you're not even willing to fight back... Why should someone else care if you don't care?"

"In the end, though, peaceful or violent, only an active response will change anything. I gave kids all kinds of reasons to bully me, and yet throughout school, I never encountered the worst of it. A friend of mine in high school would respond to homophobic remarks by playing along and offering to blow them."

"I'm not picking on anyone, this is just my side of the debate. Fight, console, comfort, laugh, run away, or anything, but if you just roll over, that just exposes you for more beating."

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2012, 10:22:23 PM »
I've noticed that parents who spout the kids-being-kids philosophy quickly change their tune when their kids are on the receiving end.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2012, 10:40:59 PM »
In the end, though, peaceful or violent, only an active response will change anything.

There is admittedly something to this. Some bullies, for example, are driven by the perception of cowardice and actually capable of learning respect for someone who stands up to them in some way -- even if that person could never actually plausibly fight them physically. I discovered in high school that just being willing to bristle at an insult, for example, would make some people back off. But there was context to that (see my post above) and it's a chancy strategy that isn't necessarily available to everyone, and that won't necessarily work with all bullies. Also it's the kind of thing that's easier to recommend from afar than to put into practice in the moment.

Offline Lady Grey

Re: Bullying
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2012, 12:17:02 AM »
When it comes to the internet bullying, it really comes down to common sense. People are assholes. Don't give them your information. If they become a problem, kids need to know that they can block them and that they can leave facebook. The most important thing kids need is supportive people. I didn't have that when I was made fun of at all. Making fun of me was like a schoolwide sport. I survived, but only with lots and lots of medication.

Offline Stattick

Re: Bullying
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2012, 01:45:34 AM »
I got bullied at home by my so called parents. So when I got bullied in school, I didn't tell my parents about it. Actually, for the most part, I didn't tell my parents anything that I didn't have to, because I never knew what was going to set them off. By the time I was 14, I had virtually cut my parents out of my life with the exception that I had to live under the same roof as them. I didn't tell them about my friends, my school, my problems, nothing. It wasn't too bad for me though. When I was 14, a kid that was two years older than me (he had been held back a year, so was in the same school with me), a foot taller than me, fought all the time and never lost, jumped me between classes in the middle of the hall. That was the first time the roiling rage inside me, instilled from a lifetime of abuse, burst out. I blacked out. Not passed out. Blacked out... when I came to, his face looked like hamburger, and you could see the bloody gashes on his neck where I'd tried to rip his esophagus out. People mostly left me alone after that.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2012, 07:28:34 PM »
brings up some bad memories for me, I was actually the guy who got in trouble for being picked on.
Let me explain...
I became a social pariah for reasons I still don't understand, however because I was always larger and stronger, people would bait me instead, then call a teacher and I'd get punished and given an "anti-bullying" speech.
Moreover when I would try to tell my classmates would redicule me for "snitching"
The abuse was emotional and mental mostly, the few times it turned physical people would gang up on me.

I realized instead of fighting I would play Grade School Politics, and cultivated a reputation as a peaceful, nice kid, who was big, bright, and a little nerdy. So in my second year of Jr. High when this pain in the ass basicly stood in front of my locker trying to force me to either fight him, or miss the bus. I just picked him up and moved him.
Apparently I offended his non-existant masculinity, and when he jumped me from behind, and the kids gathered going "Fight Fight Fight" Instead of decking him, I simply grabbed him by the back of the head and slammed him face first into a wall when he charged.
The teacher showed up, escorted us to the VP's office.

There he is with blood leaking out of his nose trying to put on a tough guy act, and garner sympthay when asked what happened, me next to him talking calmly and explaining my version of what happened with no florushy stuff.

He was suspended in school for a week, and basicly but in a little room with mountians of homework.
I was suspended for a day, as per school regs, and that was it.

He never messed with me after that. thinking back on it, nobody really messed with me after that fight.

Offline Koren

Re: Bullying
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2012, 11:29:18 PM »
In primary school: (from five years old to twleve for those in other countries with different systems)
I was hit by a bully, so I instinctively hit back, then my teacher called me aside a threatened me with suspension because I shouldn't have reacted
I was being sexually harrassed and threatened, the teacher told me I was misunderstanding
I was brave enough to take back an award that was stolen from me, I was told that it was wrong for me to go into that persons tub
I was having an asthma attack on a seat some other students were balencing on, I was told by the student counciller that I was rude and inconciderate and pathetic for not moving
I ran to get a teacher when another student, with ADD, was being beaten up and the teacher helped, two days later when I was beaten up, another teacher told me I was being stupid
I wore pants that were a darker blue for the last two weeks, my others had worn out and we had no money, a teacher who didn't like me tried to suspend me for it, which would have had me fail one of my tests
I reached up to get a flower for a younger kid who was crying who I was friends with, her sister who hated me reported me for harrassment and I was told to stay away, or else risk being kicked out

I was kicked down the back, resulting in injury, and had to walk across the school to find my mum, sobbing, barely able to hold my bag, because i couldn't leave it because I knew that the others would steal it, and parents pulled their children away from me, instead of trying to help, and the teachers idea of a punishment was picking up rubbish at lunch for a week

In secondary school: (from twleve to eighteen)
I stood up and reported a teacher who abused me, was told that they cant do anything because hierarchy means she would only get a suggestion to be nicer
I was walking to my locker when a guy came around the corner, hit me and told me I was a 'worthless f---ing c---', a teacher walked past and ignored it
I had a teacher tell me my opinion was worth nothing and was getting in the way of me and other learning so I should be quiet
I was told by the same teacher that my strong reading skills were detrimental to the class skill set and I'd no longer be allowed to read in class after finishing my work
I had to correct a teacher multiple times in points of history I'd already studied, resulting in my class passing with A's, everyone of them, but I got given a C, my only mark below an A in eight years, it wasn't corrected
I ended up crying in the co-ordinators most days because of bullying, and their advice was push through it
I'd go to my mum wanting to drop out, she'd say its not that bad, no worse then when she was at school, just get over it
I went to the anti-bullying student rep meeting, and was told that they wouldn't spend time on in school bullying because it wasn't that bad if you weren't gay
I would listen to girls and guys in class talk about bullying, and say how it never happened in our school, and just sit there and look at the scars on my arm, only later i learnt to scream about how wrong they were

I was mentor for the first years, and got to hand out a drawing square to each student about the most meaningful experiance of their life, and cried when I got one back from a young boy, that had him being beaten up on the playground, and then trying to kill himself in his room. He was twleve. He had the same last name as me. And he was going through exactly what I was. I wanted to take him and run and hide him.

Now: (keeping it short, millions of stuff could go in here)
A girl who use to bully me, in part responcible for one of my suicide attempts, just killed herself because of psychosis, and I'm called a bitch and unsympathic for not being able to be sorry she's gone
My conductor at choir reminded everyone to tuck in their shirts for a concert, one girl turned from the front row, and called to me in the back row, three rows back, and told me I had to tuck in and stop being a slob, didn't tell anyone else, just me, in front of everyone, ten minutes before we went on stage
Im too terrified to get facebook, even though I know it would make life easier and more accessable, because I know how easy it is to track people down through it, and I dont want that, and I dont want to be visible, and I dont want to get bullied again, and yeah, you can ignore friend requests, but their you're rude and selfish and I dont need that shit in my life
I saw an old bully on the train the other day, who grew up to be fucking gorgeous. It made me want to die.


Thats just the stuff I remember. I've blocked a good two or three years at least out of my mind. Thats not even along with the abuse that I got from my parents and everything else that happened in my life.

Bullying is abuse. Its the only way to describe it. And to blame the victim is weak and hurtful. You dont blame the old lady for being beaten up by a hooligan, why would you blame a defenseless child for being abused by those older and stronger then it, and protected by the hierarchy of society.

Bruises and wounds etc, fade, yeah they become scars and all that. But often the damage done by words and smaller actions like that, those are the wounds that stay open and bleed for a lifetime and people just really don't realise it. Yes it can be worse online, but I think these days so much effort and energy is being put into stopping the anons, that I know so many people who are being bullied in person dont feel like they have the right to say that they are having a hard time, because theres this thing at the moment that if you're not being bullied online, it wasn't legitimate bullying.
It is. Its legitimate abuse and people just dont see it at all.
I'll never recover from what was done and said to me for those, and I despair for the poor boy who drew those pictures I was given, because I know what he feels, and yet if I had of hung around and tried to help him, i KNOW i would have been told off for interfearing with junior school policy.

I hate the fact that schools systems protect the abusers over the abused, no matter what is happening, and its the same with life. Society does it. I hate it.

-exhausted now-

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2012, 11:50:05 PM »
holy crap.... where did you grow up?  :o

Even with the fucked up system in the US things never go that far

Offline Koren

Re: Bullying
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2012, 12:27:58 AM »
holy crap.... where did you grow up?  :o

Even with the fucked up system in the US things never go that far

Welcome to Australian society.

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2012, 12:32:52 AM »
I never knew the aussie system was worse than ours.

Offline Ryuka Tana

Re: Bullying
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2012, 03:45:44 AM »
I never knew the aussie system was worse than ours.

"Remember, Koren's a liege, there are parts of America where people were killed for that not too long ago. Some places where sometimes, they still are, and  plenty of places where that kind of thing will merit a person being completely ostracized."

Offline Koren

Re: Bullying
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2012, 04:03:08 AM »
"Remember, Koren's a liege, there are parts of America where people were killed for that not too long ago. Some places where sometimes, they still are, and  plenty of places where that kind of thing will merit a person being completely ostracized."

Not to be rude but that really has nothing to do with it. I joined the site as a lady, and through schooling and childhood I was in strong denial about being male in gender, and as such no one knew, so it wasn't the focus of bullying at all. What my things were more pointing out were the fact that its always the victim that takes the blame and that the school system is all about protecting itself, not about responsibility.

I never knew the aussie system was worse than ours.

I have no idea what the US system is to honest, so I cant comment. But the worst thing is, my primary and secondary schools, were very good schools compared. I know a lot of schools that are a lot worse and treat it even more harshly. I was ignored. But I know others that are quite coldly told they are weak and pathetic by adults because they cant deal with it.
Like I said above. There is no responsibility for the students in Australia. Its all about the school reputation. And its not like America either, where schools and colleges fight over students with good reputations and all that, even at college and university, often the students are highly replaceable as long as the reputation stays in tact and the money comes in.

Offline Ryuka Tana

Re: Bullying
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2012, 04:14:44 AM »
Not to be rude but that really has nothing to do with it. I joined the site as a lady, and through schooling and childhood I was in strong denial about being male in gender, and as such no one knew, so it wasn't the focus of bullying at all. What my things were more pointing out were the fact that its always the victim that takes the blame and that the school system is all about protecting itself, not about responsibility.

"Ah, well, it's something that would factor in even among adults here. However, I think it's equally unfair to say that the victim is always punished (that is, beyond the original abuse). I won't doubt your unfair treatment, but hell, being a girl may even cause people to think 'you brought it on yourself'. I just think it hurts your argument to insist that something is 'always' true."

"I view the world from the point of view that it is pretty hopeless, and only I can make my life better. So I tend to argue what one can do for themselves, because I think, who cares what other people can do to make it better when they won't. If those people were better people, this wouldn't be a problem in the first place. So, I'm not picking on you or attacking you here."

"I'll admit my bad here, though, I shouldn't have assumed. It just seemed a logical connection to make. I've got no better words for you than that, I don't offer consolation. If you want what I do offer, it's the advice that you hold your head up and remember that you fought through things the people who put you down couldn't."

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2012, 09:10:32 AM »
holy crap.... where did you grow up?  :o

Even with the fucked up system in the US things never go that far

Sorry, but yes, they do. Just would like to put that out there.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Bullying
« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2012, 05:18:09 PM »
Sorry, but yes, they do. Just would like to put that out there.

what I mean is that while abuse and problems do happen in the US system, there is no incentive to shove it under the rug for reputation's sake, unless you are at a major "better than everyone else" kind of university.
Sadly I think ever since No Child Left behind, the US system is focused far too much on testing like the SAT's as a judge of a student's performance

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Bullying
« Reply #48 on: October 15, 2012, 11:37:13 AM »
what I mean is that while abuse and problems do happen in the US system, there is no incentive to shove it under the rug for reputation's sake, unless you are at a major "better than everyone else" kind of university.
Sadly I think ever since No Child Left behind, the US system is focused far too much on testing like the SAT's as a judge of a student's performance

You want depressing.. Check out the school district taht Michelle Bachmann represents.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-war-on-gay-teens-20120202

Offline Moraline

Re: Bullying
« Reply #49 on: October 15, 2012, 05:05:24 PM »
2 Beautiful young women that took their lives because of bullying.

Quote
~ Amanda Todd tragedy highlights how social media makes bullying inescapable

full article
When the girls in Jenna Bowers-Bryanton’s class pretended to vomit when she walked into the room, or when an older student slapped her on the first day back to school, Jenna’s mom, Pam Murchison, pulled her out of school.

What Ms. Murchison didn’t anticipate was that the abuse would persist even at home. Jenna received nasty messages via SMS and on forums such as Formspring, where her tormentors posted anonymous vitriol about her looks, personality and singing ability. (Jenna had her own YouTube channel.) In January, 2011, when she was 15, Jenna died by suicide in Truro, (Nova Scotia, Canada.)

Bullying is far different today than it was even a decade ago. The entwining of social media in adolescents’ social lives has created a whole new environment for abuse. It is bullying that is almost impossible to contain, even when teens change schools or cities, and online anonymity helps shield bullies’ identities.

The persistent bullying that Amanda Todd, 15, suffered before she died by apparent suicide on Wednesday has raised alarms about how bullying can push teens into despair. Shannon Freud, a counsellor at the Kids Help Phone – which receives about 5,000 calls and e-mails a week from youth across the country – says girls who reach out to her service often say that bullying has contributed to depression, self-esteem issues, self-harming, eating disorders and feelings of suicide.

According to a study this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, ages 10 to 19; suicide rates among females have been on the rise over the past 30 years, while those among young males are decreasing. The latest data from Statistics Canada show 69 females between the ages of 10 and 19 died by suicide in 2009, and for every completed suicide, it is estimated there are as many as 20 attempts.

Ms. Freud explains that teen girls tend to be bullied in a different way. While the bullying of males typically involves physical aggression, girls tend to be the target of social and verbal harassment, including exclusion or having others talk – or in many cases now, text – about them behind their backs.

Telling cyber-bullying victims to simply shut off their computer or stop checking their Facebook accounts is far easier said than done, since social media is such an integral part of how teens now interact and communicate, Ms. Freud says. Some may even be reluctant to delete tormentors from their lists of online friends because keeping those online contacts boosts their sense of status. “And status is such a huge thing for kids and youth,” she said.

“Kids only let you see what they want you to see,” Ms. Murchison said. Sometimes, after Jenna received a mean text message, she’d pick fights with her mother. But Ms. Murchison never knew the full extent of her daughter’s online abuse.

“You can’t get away from cyber-bullies unless you take everything away from [your kids] and you can’t do that,” she said.

On nearly every front, Ms. Murchison followed the guidelines most schools and mental-health providers suggest: Jenna, who was diagnosed with depression when she was in Grade 8, regularly saw her doctor and a child psychologist. She was on medication and had supportive family and friends to help her cope with her mental illness.

Jenna’s depression may have made her feel the effects of the bullying more acutely, her mother says, but when teens die by suicide, it is difficult to dissect what exactly led to it.

“Not every young person who attempts or dies by suicide was bullied. We know that’s a high rate, that it’s a contributing factor for sure,” said Joanne Lowe, the co-chair of the Community Suicide Prevention Network of Ottawa, a group that formed after the 2010 suicide of Daron Richardson, the 14-year-old daughter of an assistant coach of the Ottawa Senators. “Trying to understand all those contributing factors, not making assumptions about what those factors are and getting somebody to talk about them is really important.”

Her network prepared a brochure to be distributed to schools that includes warning signs to watch for, including low energy, declining school performance and preoccupation with appearance. More important than what to look for is what to do. While some fear that discussing suicide may trigger a suicide attempt, she says that is a popular myth.

“Ask them if they are thinking of suicide,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of being clumsy.”

Although high-school bullies may lose interest after graduation, the effects can be long-lasting. Lindsey Belaire, 23, of Edmonton, says the social isolation, taunts and online badgering from her high-school years still haunt her; after graduating five years ago, she continues to suffer from anxiety and depression.

“I don’t think anyone ever moves on from it,” Ms. Belaire said. “It stays with you. …You’re left with a feeling of constantly looking over your shoulder, constantly wondering if people are out to get you.”

Ms. Belaire’s advice for teenaged girls now suffering what she went through: “Talk to somebody. Talk to a principal. Talk to a counsellor. If you don’t get help, keep going. … Call the police. File harassment charges. Do whatever you have to do to make it stop. I wish I did.”

Amanda Todd's Video - her story

Posted this stuff for a friend, to remember these girls. I grew up in the area where Jenna took her life and I know her family. I know the school she went to and I know the families of the people that tormented her.

Amanda has family from this area (my area) as well. She's hosting a vigil in both Truro and Halifax (they are near each other) to remember Amanda and to support anti-bullying movements.




Title of my post: Girls Get Angry Too

We here about bullying and see the causes of it. Tormenting, teasing, racism, homophobia, and the list goes on. Sometimes the behavior is really criminal in nature.

Amanda was stalked by a man that gave naked pictures of her to every single person in her school, including teachers in one massive spam email. Afterwards she was tormented at school. It never stopped.

Jenna was humiliated and tormented to death.

Even after death these girls message boards and online memorials have been subjected to bullying and abuse.

The variations of bullying are outstanding and sometimes people don't even realize they are doing it.

I spoke with a friend mine that plays MMORPG online games a lot about the things that he sees online. He's been a player for years and often works for the game companies as a sort of inside the game helper to assist other players. He said that game companies mostly have no policies in place to prevent cyber bullying. Matter of fact - most companies tell him that the company policy is that it should be sorted out between players themselves and the company has a hands off approach to it.  The company line, "Let them sort it out between themselves on the battlefields." 

My friend says that it's amazing the stuff that goes on in the public and in guild chats. (For those that don't know: Guilds are private places within a game where a group of players can form a sort of team and have a more private chat - sometimes these guilds can have hundreds of players belonging to them. They are like little communities of players within the games themselves.)

He told me about racist jokes and homophobic jokes and all sorts of things that might in face to face society be seen as harassment or maybe even criminal. The justification by the gamers online was that it was "just a joke,"  "no one in our guild is offended by it," "If they can't take it, maybe they should go play Hello Kitty Online."  I was shocked but it's true, I've seen it myself. It's hard to believe that anyone could even think that sort of thing. As if someone that is feeling bullied is going to speak up against it or they should go play another game? Isn't that sort of a big part of the problem? People that are bullied are afraid or humiliated they can't or don't speak out - they don't want to be ostracized, ridiculed by peers, they just don't want to be hurt anymore.

These conversations inevitable lead to talks about standing up for yourself and soon we talk about how one or more of the guys that I know got angry and fought back. This usually involves a lot of macho chest puffing - proof of their toughness sort of thing. Although they don't exactly use those words. Most of my friends are very articulate Uni grads with art majors and are good at flowery talk and prose filled speeches.

Now I'll tell you my story.

I was bullied.

I thought about suicide a few times. I think I came closer then I care to admit to myself but I never tried.

... but I did do something else.

Bullying doesn't always cause people to hurt themselves. Sometimes it can push a fragile hormone fueled and depressed teenager in the other direction.

I got angry. When I say angry, I mean really angry.

The first incident happened at school one day. A boy was picking on me in class - I was about 14ish? He was saying lewd things to me and passing notes around the class. Stupid things but at the time it was embarrassing and I was angry.

I hit him with a textbook, a big heavy one, it broke his nose in a very graphic way that caused a lot of shock in the school. Of course, I got in trouble (suspended.)

I know I shouldn't have hit him and DON'T cheer me for fighting back. It was wrong and it should never have come to that. When people fight there's always the risk of more serious injury. Fighting is wrong.

What if I hadn't been angry but instead got depressed about it? Instead of a violent act, it could have been a suicide. The scale that decides those two things are our basic instincts - fight or flight.

By the way... I still got picked on, even after that. Whoever thinks that standing up to bullies will help is wrong. That's just not how it works. There's no guarantees that anything will change. By being violent, I felt disgusted by myself. I blamed myself for the act and instead of getting depressed. My anger just got more bottled up and I held it back. The pressure to do something, anything was too much.

Suicide? I just didn't see a way out. I refused to give into the urge to end it all but simply pushing down the feelings didn't help.

The next time my anger really broke out was when I was around 16.

It's complicated but after months of being picked on again. I did something worse this time.

I stabbed a 17 year old boy and if it wasn't for a room full of my friends that held me back. I would have stabbed him to death and you'd be reading the words of a murderer. Believe me, I tried. I kicked, screamed, lashed out and tried so hard. All I wanted to do was kill the source of my pain and make it stop.

He wasn't seriously injured, only a few stitches and a stiff back. I guess my friends grabbed me the same time I stabbed him and kept me from sticking the full blade of the knife into his back - It was a long bladed kitchen knife.

I was lucky and so was he.


Some Resources for People:
Anti-Bullying Network - The Anti-Bullying Network was established at the University of Edinburgh in 1999 with funding from the Scottish Executive to provide free anti-bullying support to school communities.
Stop A Bully - Stop A Bully is a national non-profit organization and Canada-wide anti-bullying program developed by a B.C. teacher which allows any student who is a victim or witness of severe bullying to be able to safely report the details to school officials without risk of becoming a target themselves.
Pink Shirt Day - A campaign to raise awareness and stop bullying
Stop Bullying - StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.


Bullying hurts in a lot of different ways. Fighting and violence isn't the way to stop it.