04 October, 2010

On Sticks And Stones

Trigger Warning for discussions of suicide, self harm, bullying and depression.

I wanted to finish my post about euthanasia, but this became to great a weight on my soul. You may have heard about the recent epidemic of suicides; QuILTBAG youth taking their lives because of bullying.
I won't list them, because I can't. But Click Here for more information. Trigger warning for that link.

What that post reminded me of, what this epidemic reminds me of, is my own history with bullying.

When I was ten, I witnessed my older brother being taunted and shoved by bullies. He was a little guy back then, and very close friends with another boy. They accused him of being gay and made his life Hell. My parents heard about it, and had talked to the school. The principle assured them he would "keep an eye on it".

One afternoon, while waiting for our dad to pick us up, a bully shoved him down and started tormenting him. My father arrived in time to see this. He was furious. He grabbed the bully and took ohm to the principle's office, telling hm everything that happened. The principle said he would deal with it.
Both boys were taken out of class, and asked why they were "fighting". Nothing was done to stop future attacks.

When I was thirteen, my youngest brother was being bullied. I have written about this previously. After he was shoved into a urinal, I went to speak to his teacher. She told me that it was his fault for having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. That he brought it on himself by being "weird".

I was bullied a lot growing up. Mostly it was just name and shunning, and I tell you it hurt. It hurts to be told day after day after day that you aren't worthy of love. And always the same old adage would be thrown at me, sticks and stones, sticks and stones, sticks and stones. It wasn't taken seriously by anyone, teachers, my parents, no one.

So after all this, when I started being beaten up by my "friends" at fourteen, what do you think i did? Did I tell people about it, or did I shut up and take it, thinking I deserved everything they were doing to me?

When you do nothing, when you know of violence and just stay silent, you perpetuate that violence. It's not enough to tell victims to speak up, you have to be willing to listen and to act.

This recent set of suicides is not the first; children have been taking their own lives, cutting themselves, hurting themselves, and it's about damn time that was recognised.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so right. Bystanders - particular adults in charge like teachers and parents - have an obligation to intervene. That so many people stay silent is what gives bullies such power.

When I was 9-10 years old I was suicidal. I ache for that little girl now, who was bullied so viciously that life was simply unbearable. I'm thankful I survived. But I shouldn't have had to 'survive' childhood - no child should.

It is heartening that people with your convictions are working with children - a real difference can be made by just being there, and caring, and not staying silent.