I was taking a break from writing my term paper this afternoon so I skipped on over to livejournal (my private blog) and a friend wrote about Amanda Todd. If you are not familiar with her (as I wasn’t) she was a young woman who committed suicide last week after years of emotional, mental, and physical bullying, both online and in her schools. When she was 12 she made the mistake of doing something pretty stupid, as most 12 year olds do. She flashed a guy on a video chat. He eventually came back to harass her, and sent pictures of her breasts to everyone in her life, even her school mates and teachers. She was mercilessly bullied and beaten, even when she switched schools–and her cyber bully followed her. She tried to drink bleach. She cut herself. She tried to numb the pain. She wanted to die. Her bullies wanted her to die. And now she is dead.
How anyone can live with themselves for doing this to anyone, let alone a young girl is APPALLING. As someone who grew up with bullying (although not as severe), as someone who considered suicide when she was younger, I can’t help but cry right now. Where were her teachers? Where was the schools administration? Were where these kids’ parents? Why did they not teach their own children to respect others? How can someone, even kids, think that telling someone to drink more bleach is acceptable?! Their actions are unarguably worse then the one mistake Amanda made. I am just flabbergasted, stunned, and horrified. Why didn’t anyone stop these kids? And while I try to be sensitive to both sides of a story I find it hard to believe that this was anything other then some kind of appalling mass bullying, like a pack of hyenas.
I am not going to say that I have never been a bully, most of us have in one way or another. I have admitted to it (and will re-post that blog below), but to drive someone to suicide?! I hope these kids feel awfully proud of themselves, and I hope they live with this shame for the rest of their lives. Many of these kids are the same ones who are commenting on prayer and memorial sites that they’re glad she is dead. What the hell?! How would you feel if it was you, or your sister, brother, daughter, son or cousin? I am not saying that Amanda’s actions are completely innocent, but she did not deserve the life she got and to die for her actions.
And to the asshole who tormented this girl. My god, man, what is your Napoleon complex? Did tormenting this poor girl make you feel big and strong. Was her death your masochistic orgasm? Are you a pedophile who gets off on your control over other’s lives? EDIT: The hacker group Anonymous found out who the guy was and posted it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/amanda-todd-bully-anonymous-suicide_n_1969792.html (I would like to point out that their motivation was in discovering that nude photos from Amanda’s autopsy had been leaked. How much worse can people treat this young girl. Are they not satisfied with her death, is it not enough that not they have to keep shaming her and her family?)
This will never stop until we teach kids what it means to truly love and care for others instead of themselves.
Here is Amanda’s video she made before her death about her bullying.
And here is a post I wrote two years ago entitled “Bully/Bullied”
I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about the issue of Bullying. It is on the news pretty heavily drawing attention to the bullying of LGBT kids, encouraging videos on YouTube to let kids know that things will get better. I am especially enjoying how “Glee” is dealing with the subject on both sides. We know Kurt’s story, but I feel like they are building up his Bully’s story too. Very few bullies are hateful just because, many, I think, take out their own insecurities on others who are what they cannot be, they are intimidated, and sometimes it might be the first sense of “control” in their lives.
As with this blog in the past I like discussing social issues, not with stats, but with personal experience. And, in the past, I have been both the Bullied and the Bully.
Sounds weird, does it not? How can one person be both?
For a long time I was bullied. Mostly as a young girl, awkward and clumsy, wrong clothes, wrong hair, wrong last name. I was an easy target–especially since I was pretty shy (believe it or not). I used to get notes pushed through the grate of my locker telling me that “I was so ugly and that I should just dig a hole and die in it because no one liked me” and even one note when I was a little older put in my band locker that was sexually derogatory (and while I remember it, I will not repeat it)” When I was in middle school, I was on the bus talking to a kid in the seat in front of me when a high schooler went by and threw his hip into the side of my face and bruised my nose so badly (possibly broke it? I never went to the doctor, but it was bad) that my father went to the kids house and screamed at him while the kids parents just stood by. The bus was pretty much the hell for 5 years, which was insane because I was the next to last stop, a 10 minute ride at the most–so much so in fact that as a Junior I started walking home two and a half miles when the weather was good–to avoid my favorite calls of “Watch out Fat Ass is Coming Through” with accompanied moo-ing, and on more then one instance having broken pens with leaking ink thrown at me. School was better but the kids at the time were never kind, especially when a square peg tries to fit in with the round hole kind of activities cliques. I looked at myself and I hated that something about me wasn’t acceptable. That for some reason I couldn’t stand up for myself. That for some reason I was their easy target. I sat there and blamed myself while smiling through a pain that was eating me up from the inside out. I don’t know how to tell you that I got through it without being mostly physically hurt, or hurting myself. I just did, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Even writing those last few sentence made a heavyness ache in my chest. And there are times I still cry for that little girl who really just wanted to have friends and to be liked, but was just so damn shy and scared.
So, you’ve gotta be wondering how a kid goes through all that turns into a Bully? I would like to say it’s simple and that I was not in control of myself but that would be stupid. A few years later, in college, I was desperate to fit in, to feel like part of a group. So I found a group, and laughed with them and eventually alienated people around me. I loved being ‘accepted’ and went along with what they did, hell, times I even came up with my own plans. I made people (who were friends, and since have become better friends who are nice enough not to mention this time) feel awful about themselves, I said awful things, I did shitty things, all to feel….normal (and in control)? And it was not just people my age, but also professors I was completely horrible to. This stage did not last long because after while I was outside looking in, again, but this time to two different sides. Eventually poisonous things infect themselves and when there is nothing good externally to tear apart it turns on itself, the weakest limb first. I started to look at those to whom I had bullied, and all the sudden I was ashamed of myself, and I wanted to be friends with them. Luckily I eventually pulled myself together, and I apologized to friends and professionals, and I was fortunate that eventually they forgave me. I am ashamed of this time period in my life, but grateful that I was able to move beyond. And learn.
I felt as awful as the Bully as when I was Bullied.
So perhaps, its gets better for both.
I am not sure what the point of this was, or how to end this post really. I guess I just wanted to say what happened and what I did. Everyone has a story, even the’ villain’ of a piece.