When will people learn bullying is serious?

Trigger Warning: Bullying, suicide

I haven’t been posting much lately as I’m pretty swamped. But I couldn’t let this story pass me by, because I could have been this girl.

Another kid bullied to death.

This one hits close to home because, like her, I begged my parents – literally begged – them not to send me back. And they sent me back. She’s dead. I’m not.

I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t shake me. There were so many times I could have been her. So many. Why did I make it when this girl didn’t?

She’s dead now. Like Rehtaeh Parsons. Like Amanda Todd. Like Mitchell Wilson. Like Jenna Bowers-Bryanton. Like Rebecca Sedwick and Audrie Pott.

How many more kids have to die before adults wake up and realize this is abuse?! How many more have to die before schools start doing more than just making nice words about no tolerance and then punishing the victim into silence? How many more before police quit writing it off as kid stuff?

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6 thoughts on “When will people learn bullying is serious?

  1. autisticook says:

    You’re not the only one feeling shaken.

    Fuck.

    And I’ve yet to see ONE PERSON step up and take some responsibility onto themselves when stuff like this happens. But no. It’s always others who did it. It’s always “I didn’t know.” Or “I didn’t realise.” In this case they DID know. THIS GIRL TOLD THEM. AND NOTHING WAS DONE. So why can’t they see that they’re all complicit? That this stuff doesn’t happen out of the blue? I’m sorry but it just makes me so angry. OWN UP TO YOUR MISTAKES PEOPLE. Stop blaming others. Stop blaming kids. It’s the adults who need to educate kids and take responsibility and say this is not ok and DO something about it.

    • ischemgeek says:

      Yeah. I told my parents. And was lectured on how to “stand up for myself” and “set boundaries” for my troubles. And people wonder why kids don’t report this shit.

      Protip: Same reason sex assault victims don’t report. Same reason sexual harassment victims don’t report. Same reason why domestic abuse victims don’t report.

      Because far, far, far, far, far, far, far more often than not, the best we can hope for if we report is for nothing to happen. More likely? We’ll be blamed and the abuser(s) will realize they can abuse with impunity, and the abuse will get worse.

  2. Aspermama says:

    This is horrible. I have no clue why we keep letting this happen. Just one death should shake us all out of our complacency, but this happens over and over again. I’ve heard of cases where the principal just shrugged and told parents flat out that there was nothing they could do (in this particular school district one boy was badly beaten and another girl committed suicide). I’ve heard of cases where the *victim* was punished for fighting back. And then people wonder why it keeps happening. There should be serious consequences for bullying just as there are (or should be) consequences for abuse and assault, because that’s essentially what it is. School, community, and police involvement would make a big difference if we let it.

    • ischemgeek says:

      At the risk of sounding bitter, we keep letting this happen because we hold the view that different = less = deserving of it.

      Think about it: Rather than teach the bullies to be more accepting, parents and teachers alike focus on teaching the weird kid not to be weird. Because if they’re different, they should get bullied. It’s the punishment for being different.

      At least, that’s the lesson I took from all the, “Try to fit in more”s and “don’t read so much”s and “don’t use such big words”s and “try not to stutter so much”s and “if you smile with your mouth closed, your overbite won’t show as much”s and so on and so forth.

      If you’re different, you deserve to be bullied. SO don’t be different.

      That’s the lesson we teach kids.

      Is it any wonder that when some of them realize that “not being different” is a losing battle because their peers hate them so much that they’ll change the rules on what’s “same” just for spite, they decide to quit playing the rigged game that everyone thinks it’s their fault for losing?

      We prize normalcy in our society – and in so doing, we condemn difference. In our century, Einstein would’ve been locked in remedial education all his life because he acted weird and couldn’t speak fluently until 8. In our century, my parents refused me the only chance I had at getting away from torment (home schooling) because they were worried it would make me more different. In our century, the school tried to hold me back because I was too different. And, in our century, because of one of the ways I’m different, I was denied a full education in English in favor of training me to have more normal handwriting until, in high school, a teacher said, “This is bullshit. She should be doing the same stuff as everyone else.”

      We live in a world where being too different means if your parents kill you, they get called the victims.

      The refusal of schools and society as a whole to do anything about bullying is just an extension of that same sentiment, that being different is more wrong than tormenting someone to suicide, that being different is more wrong than murder.

      Sorry for the rant. I’m angry.

  3. She added: ‘I thought my kids are strong kids, and that my words for them for guidance and advice was going to have more weight than what these kids could be saying.’

    … Good job with that victim blaming right there, mother. Maybe it wasn’t so much that your kids were weak as your guidance and advice were shit. Just putting that out there.

    I realize it’s an absolutely cold thing for me to say, and I’m not about to claim she isn’t really and truly grieving. That said, having been on the receiving end of bullying, I know pretty well what the advice tends to be, and how ineffective it is. How often it’s just a sweetly worded toss under a bus.

    Ashylynn’s aunt, Kim Wright, told ABC News: ‘If she just saves one child from being bullied, if one bully gets this message and thinks about it and says, I’m not going to make another kid feel that way … she did it.’

    Or, you know, if one parent or school administrator gets this message and decides that maybe they should pay attention to bullying more…

    Seriously, did anyone learn anything here? Why are they hoping the 10yr olds get the clue when the adults frequently can’t be bothered — or is that exactly why?

    • ischemgeek says:

      Pretty sure it’s exactly why.

      Pretty sure, until adults realize that they are the ones who made the environment and culture where bullying can run so rampant and be so severe that kids kill themselves in despair from it and so they are the ones with the power to change that and furthermore, given that they’re the fucking adults, they are the ones who should feel responsibility for changing it, nothing will get done.

      Because “kids are cruel” and “kids will be kids”.

      No, fuck that. Kids are as cruel as adults teach them to be. Kids are the kind of kids that adults raise them to be.

      If you are a parent and your kid is making their peers miserable by being a bully, look in the fucking mirror. They’re acting that way because you (and/or their teachers) taught them to and you (and/or their teachers) have allowed them to.

      Kids act how they’re taught. And they learn all the time. They model what they see the adults around them doing. So if adults say bullying is serious but they do absolutely nothing about it, kids will get the message that bullying is something to say nice words about but not follow through on. If adults say bullying is bad but they do their own bullying behaviors (talking behind others’ backs, making fun of their kids, threatening their kids, humiliating their kids in public, etc), the kids will get the message that bullying is something it’s okay to be a fucking hypocrite on.

      Adults need to follow through on what they say, and take a good hard look at what they do.

      Again, sorry for the rant. I was bullied horribly throughout all of my public schooling, so it’s a hot-button issue for me.

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