Another bully victim takes her own life

There was a girl named Amanda Todd. She was 15. She was tormented by bullies over a really stupid mistake she made with some boys. Unfortunately she couldn’t find enough help to get her through it, and ended her own life. (please read Bully Victim Sends Message to the World – Toronto Sun and watch the video)

One boy stalked her and blackmailed her into doing things that resulted in name calling. Another lied to her, convinced her it was ok to fool around because his girlfriend was out of town, and stood back while his girlfriend then beat her for it. These kids harassed her over her failed attempt to commit suicide, so she tried again.

First, FIFTEEN?? i may have been sheltered as a kid, but there was no way i would even consider showing anyone my special places at freakin 15!! and WOW, how times have changed. When did a taken man (or woman) become fair game to anyone? Don’t people know what it means to be in a relationship anymore? Darn cheaters everywhere. Its like no one really cares anymore, no morals whatsoever … which is perhaps where the bullying issue stems from.

So yes, Amanda was in the wrong for her actions, but im sure she was unbelievably vulnerable at this point. After being stalked and harassed by her tormentors every where she went, there wouldnt have been much left to her. She likely would have believed anything anyone told her.

Second, we are told Amanda had the support of the school and teachers but if this is them helping i’d rather police the school myself and whip the lips off of any kids talking trash to ANYone. I mean, what bully hates you online but is your friend infront of everyone?? yeah – NONE! So they must have been doing something in public too. How did the school sit back on this? Seems the police were involved at some point, but no article really talks about the punishment of the first stalker bully. What happened to setting a precedence – Making the punishment a public scene to deter anyone else from the same crime?

These bullies and their traveling fan party were not from Amanda’s current school so how was their presence – in the middle of the day, in the middle of class – not questioned? When i was in grade 7 ANYone from outside the school was scoped out within seconds of stepping foot on school property, and thus escorted away. Seriously, seconds! Mind you, back then, our issue was child abduction so the teachers were all eyes for strangers. Since bullying is turning into the biggest issue in EVERY school how is it not yet treated with equal attention to strangers stealing kids? Its happening on their OWN school property, with their OWN students causing harm.

I am incredibly thankful that my bullies didn’t take things this far. Perhaps it was simply that things were different back then – Kids weren’t so horribly awful and violent. In my case, kids stood in a stupid circle, saying “do something, do something”. I knew i wasn’t fast enough to avoid a hit, or strong enough to throw the first punch so i took off my glasses and said “ok. go ahead” … but my tormentor did nothing. The name calling and harassment stopped right then and there. So i acted unafraid, and it ended. I dont think bravery would have changed Amanda’s life but maybe it could have helped kill the ego of the horrible girls who were looking for a popularity boost.

I am still stunned that these kids were so bold to first trick a girl into adultery, and then ridicule and beat her for it. Perhaps it’s their lack of maturity that lead them to believe this was an acceptable solution? Or perhaps the way today’s movies create a “cool” bad guy image they wanted to copy. In my opinion though, regardless of whether Amanda wanted to press charges or not, NONE of these kids should get away with what they have done … and how truly evil do you have to be to continue to harassing a kid after they attempted to commit suicide. (and really – how did they get that information anyways?)

Considering bullying is only getting worse, i’m beginning to feel it’s going to “take a community to raise a child”. Yes, we all need to feed our children with positive reinforcement, giving them the strength to protect against the effects of bullies – if you are strong and confident in yourself, no amount of “your stupid” will hurt you. But, we also need to take a stand when inappropriate words are spoken by those who are not our children. If you overheard kids younger than you speaking harshly or rude to one another, would you step in? We are told teachers monitor our children constantly in order to stop inappropriate behavior, but what if they don’t? Do we all just let it slide because its supposed to be their job? I say no. I say lead by example.

This lack of action is actually an issue at my daughter’s school. They say they are working against bullying – trying to stop it from happening, meanwhile kids on the playground speak like filthy adults in a trashy bar. Now, this has never been noted as bully behavior, but i feel we clearly need to look further into the characteristics of a bully to determine where it comes from, and stop it before it starts.

So i will watch where our teachers say they can’t, and step in when i see inappropriate behavior. I will reassure my daughter that bullies torment because they saw it in a movie or even worse, someone is doing it to them. I will teach other kids that many peer pressure situations can actually be viewed as bullying, and help them to become better people too. Furthermore, i will stop sharing my opinion of others (or gossiping) infront of my child. I will lead by example.

So, what will you do?

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lessons of life

while wandering through updates in facebook i stumbled across this incredible video the Cocktail Deva created for her daughter…(thanks nessa for sharing)

it’s started with the question “what would you tell your 16 year old self” … until she realized she has a real life 16 year old, her daughter, to which she could be actually sharing the advice.

the video is incredible. It’s exactly what i would have told my younger self, and do tell my own daughter every day. in fact, some days she remind me of these things.

CocktailDeeva: Dear Daughter.

do you appreciate just knowing someone?

we just about lost a friend a few weekends ago. im more angry at him (you know who you are) than sad or even shocked — but made me think what our days would be like without him. you know, if the very worst actually did happen.  made me think of all the other people in my life too, even those i originally wished i had never had the pleasure of knowing.

i was tormented by bullies most of highschool, okay … all of school… but i learned something from their constant pushing. i learned to ignore. that it doesnt matter what they thought. and of course i wouldnt be where i was (like right here with the “i think i rock” clothing line) if it wasnt for that realization.

there are others too. people who may never have realized how grateful i am for all i have learned from them, and for having them in  my life.

thankyou to the one who made me dress up fancy, take care of myself, do my makeup and show off what i’ve got. it was crazy at the time, but leads to the confidence i almost have now.

thankyou to the one who taught me to do what i love, and never hold back a laugh.

thankyou to the one who was my friend when no one else was, making me realize the quiet kindness around me.

thankyou to the one who helped me learn how to raise my kid, who stood by me as i struggled with being a new mommy.

thankyou to the one who taught me stress was something i created for myself, and how unnecessary it was.

thankyou to the totally unknown stranger who got in my face one night for no reason, testing my strength of character and the ability to stand up for myself

thankyou to the one who surprised me, teaching me that not everyone is who everyone else says they are.

thankyou to the one who never changed her attitude, never let anyone get her down, never let anyone tell her what to do.

thankyou to the manager who called me lazy and a liar

thankyou to the girl who tried to steal my man

thankyou … to everyone that stood in my way, or helped me along… creating the person i am today.

 

back to school, back to games.. .

image

back to childish taunting and hurtful phrases.
but have no fear. UROCK is here
… looking out for you with tidbits from my brain — and the brains of others. i thanks to the "do it yourself" method of parenting i created — i have advice to offer from the other side of the fence.

i created a monster. my child was a kindergarten bully. at home she is an only child, and to encourage her creativity and problem solving we allowed her to work out her own issues ie. the scissors wont cut the paper = find another way. try ripping the paper. i thought this was great, she was independent and it even expanded my creative boundaries. until we started to notice an issue with trying to control situations, and demand people do it her "new" way as opposed to figuring it out themselves. her princess (aka bully) tendencies soon resulted in the dreaded words from the teacher “we need to have a meeting. seems your child is bullying her school mates”. sigh.

now was not the typical bully. she is a happy, energetic kid who is friends with everyone — but the teacher sees her attitude of "my way or no way" as bully behavior.

in kindergarten she would instruct which friends were allowed to play at which center, marching around the class, “barking commands” as the teacher put. our game plan became reminding her everyday to let her friends do as they want to do, play where they want .. but it only resulted in tears. she was upset that her friends were hurt, and didn’t like being called a bully. see… not typical bully behavior — proud of their bad attitude. it was shocking to me (and a hip-hip-hoooray) but what really changed her attitude was talking about the UROCK slogan “everybody’s different”

that summer, amidst dragging her to shows and helping me create, she learned that her friends have the right to make their own decisions. now, she stands up for friends who are being treated badly on the playground, or tells an adult.

just talking about what makes a bully made her attitude change. it wont necessarily help those who are being bullied, but my theory is in order to fix a problem you must get to the root of the issue. why fix the decay of the leaves on a tree, if the roots of have been overcome by disease. yes, we need to hold the hand of those little "leaves" while they heal from the pain of the disease.. but we also need to make an effort to help the roots too.

i will continue to research from the bully side ie. why they bully, and how to change their attitudes.
fingers crossed they all stem from something similar to my ‘princess’ and just need some positive encouragement, and a shoulder to lean on in order to change.

IF YOU ARE BULLIED… how to get thru it…

"Encourage your child to keep a diary or journal, write poetry or songs. Writing provides a safe outlet for your child and creativity and self-expression are helpful tools used to work through negative issues" from Patricia Gatto (http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/bullying_at_school.htm)