fromear2ear

Noteworthy progress in the community, anecdotes, recommendations, and more

What would it take?

on August 27, 2013

What would it take for you to protect the ones you love? What would it take for you to protect a stranger? What would it take for you to save a life?

I’ll start with a quote from Elie Wiesel: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Bullying is an epidemic, not just in America, but worldwide. I’ve heard some unsettling rumors alleging that it’s merely a pandemic. It makes me both sad and angry when people refuse to take this seriously. It’s the first week of school in our district and I’ve taken half the summer to write this. It can’t wait anymore. Please read this and talk to your kids, peers, teachers, coworkers, families, about bullying and how to stop it.

I don’t typically share my personal issues on here, but this affects everyone, so I am putting this out there to do whatever I can to help. I was bullied to the point of hysteria in middle school. It was hard to ignore it in elementary school, and it increased during intermediate school, but middle school was by far the most brutal, relentless, abusive environment I have even seen in my life.

In science class I was tripped and mocked for my efforts to do well in the class. One bully in particular coined the nickname “The Ugly” to refer to me when I walked in the room or even raised my hand in class. “The Ugly’s here.” I soon gave up any dedication I had in that class.
In math I was taunted for my pre-teen acne. “Pizza face.” That was my name there.
In a class I took that taught study skills for students in AP classes, I was called stupid and made fun of for my weight.
In tennis, I was ruthlessly shamed by the coach. “Run faster to burn off some of those calories.” “No, you don’t need your asthma inhaler.” He jeopardized the health of many students there.
There’s so much more…

In high school, I was called repulsive. My teachers didn’t understand me. I was the weird fat girl who hung out with the “special kids.” I was the cynic who skipped school. Little did they know, I was severely depressed and had a debilitating chronic illness. I was cast out and gossiped about by my own “friends.”

In college, I’ve been bullied. It never stops.

I’m tired of hearing that a bullying incident was a misunderstanding. I’m DONE with hearing that the targets “didn’t make it any easier on themselves.” As a student teacher during my senior year of high school, I heard that comment made by several teachers regarding a student who was being bullied. They legitimately thought that he brought it upon himself by being different! I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it happening.

These kinds of teachers, adults, peers, parents, authority figures, protectors- WAKE UP! THERE ARE CHILDREN OUT THERE DYING BECAUSE OF THIS! CHILDREN ARE DYING AND YOU ARE DOING NOTHING TO STOP IT!

To the people who didn’t help me when it was their job, to the people who didn’t help the students who are being tortured every day, to the coworker in the next cubicle who stares but stays silent- what would it take? Does someone have to die before you get up and say something? Is that what it takes?

It shouldn’t take a tragedy, but apparently it does. Need proof? I call to the stand bullying victims Amanda Todd, Gregory Spring, Felicia Garcia, Pheobe Prince, Christian Taylor, Hannah Smith, Dakoda-Lee Stainer, Audrie Pott, and countless others- oh wait… we can’t, because nobody listened to them when they asked for help! My heart breaks for all who have suffered at the hands of bullied- the ones we’ve lost, their families, friends, and the ones who are still here being bullied.

People, not just teachers or “grown-ups,” need to be aware. Be vigilant. If you see it happening, step in. Do not let anyone dehumanize, harm, ridicule, harass, or cause any pain to others! We sit by every day, even when we don’t realize we should be doing something, and we fail as humans to stand up and say “this is not okay.”

I could go on and on about my experiences, about statistics, the effects of bullying, and more… but we already know about that. Even if it was happening to one person, that doesn’t make it okay. We CANNOT continue to live like this.

How long can we ignore this? Yes, awareness is great, but no amount of “likes” on Facebook will stop a bully from victimizing others. No matter how many times we “share” a post, it doesn’t prevent bullying. Talk about it, but walk the walk. Step in! Mob mentality goes both ways.

A small act, the smallest, most seemingly insignificant movement, smile, words of comfort, anything you see that is needed- do it. Stand next to someone being taunted and show them that they are not facing this alone. Refuse to perpetuate the bystander effect. Help someone up after they’ve been pushed down, don’t walk away. If you’re not part of the solution here, you’re part of the problem.

Take from this what you will. I have to go to class but I will check for comments after. If you have anything to say, even if you disagree with something in this post, PLEASE share your thoughts! Sound off below!

From Ear 2 Ear,

Amber

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One response to “What would it take?

  1. PD says:

    Reblogged this on Eros & Psyche and commented:
    Bullies are everywhere today. Its killing kids and no one is making a valiant effort to step in.
    There was a CSI episode that a pregnant teenager killed herself due to being bullied at school and online. Cyberbullies are real and they are dangerous.
    I was taunted in younger grades. I developed early and was overweight and I was told about it everyday. It wears you out, tears you down, and it kills people. Don’t be silent. Don’t just stand by. This is real and we can do something about it.

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