As seen in the April 9, 2013 edition of the Red Bluff Daily News
It seems last week I struck a nerve with many of you about bullying. I even encountered a wonderful woman at a local restaurant who began crying while sharing her experience. No matter who you are or what age, you can relate to bullying. Most of the statistics on line are geared towards school-aged children and they are staggering. 160,000 students skip school every day because of bullying and one in four teachers sees nothing wrong with forms of bullying and will only intervene four percent of the time.
The fact is, the bullies who began in schools grow up and if they didn’t mature out of their socially deviant behavior, they carry it through to adult hood. Sometimes kids who were bullied turn into bullies. The old saying hurting people hurt other people certainly applies here.
After I posted my video, I was drawn to the other videos that seemed to attach themselves to mine because of a central theme. I started watching them. Video after video of people hurt by others, people on video actually defending their bullying and videos of people who had committed suicide because of being bullied.
It struck me that the theme in these videos is shame. What seems to happen in the bullying process is the bully wants the target to feel so ashamed of themselves that they hate themselves. The bully wants the target to look at themselves in the mirror and feel such disgust that they devalue their human life. Especially anonymous bullies. Anonymous bullies are the worst because they know deep down that what they are doing is cowardly and wrong and that if they signed their name to what they were doing, they would never actually say things with such hateful magnitude. These are the bullies who may be to the right of left of you at a soccer game and you never would guess it was them.
When I saw the parallel between rates of suicide, homicide and shame I realized that the thing that could help these people is simply to tell someone. Most of the videos I saw were after someone had hurt themselves. Chances are that the bullying became intense enough for that person that they simply turned the hate inward and felt that the only way out was to die. I found out something they didn’t know and I want to share it with you. I never planned to make that video. Something just came over me and I wanted to speak to the anonymous person who keeps targeting me. It seemed like this video might reach them.
The secondary and more important gain was the outpouring of love that came back. People I never would have interacted with otherwise. Because I spoke about what happened, I was healed by literally fifty times more positive people than the one negative person. If I had not spoken about being bullied, I would have never heard such positive words. How many of you being bullied don’t tell anyone? How many of your kids don’t tell you they are bullied? What if you knew? Have you asked? What if you knew that by listening to someone about being made fun of you could change their life. Maybe you could save their life? Is there anyone you can imagine who isn’t worth saving?
Parents, ask your child if they are made fun of at school or otherwise. Adults, check in with your adult family and friends and see if they are hiding any shame. Talk to them about their worth, remind them that bullies are all bark and no bite and that you are there to make it stop. Stand behind those words, be proactive. Be your child’s hero if they need a champion.
I made another video on Youtube called Bully Proof Yourself. You can see me one week after I got the letter. I look brighter, happier and healed. What a difference holding on made. Imagine if I had just kept things to myself and let the bully win. There were many hero’s who came to my rescue since I received that letter. I appreciate you all.