No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it, no one asks for it,
it isn’t a rite of passage.
Bullying has to stop.
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
This week, BC has been struck with tragedy, but as you know, the impact and implications of this loss are exponential.
I have spent the morning watching local news reactions and fallout from the suicide of Amanda Todd, a fifteen year old Coquitlam, BC teenager who could no longer bear the torment of her bullies. For her to take such extreme actions can mean that she could not conceive an end to her pain, the cyber bullying, the abuse, whether at school or otherwise.
I wanted to write a post about this, not because it has anything to do with being tall, but for so, so many reasons:
– Because as women, many, if not most of us, are deeply affected by praise for our looks, and sometimes blindly so. As Amanda shares in her YouTube video posted one month before her suicide, she “got called stunning, beautiful, perfect etc…” followed by the request to flash which she fulfilled. I have no doubt that thousands of other girls have done the same; however, in this instance, the receiver took advantage of the opportunity to black mail her.
– Because our society is working so very, very hard to prevent bullying and Amanda and her family want her video shared as part of her legacy. How are we working to prevent it, and what can you do? Through anti-bullying websites, kids help phones, support programs, many of which you can find in your area by Googling “Stop bullying.”
– Because as someone who hopes to be a parent someday, it is my responsibility to accept that I need to educate my child to behave online as if each and every interaction were face to face. And I also need to accept that I cannot just cut my child off from accessing the Internet, or monitoring their every move because that will breed distrust and will not change behaviours.
– Because you have either been bullied, witnessed bullying, or been the bully. And anything you can do to stop it from happening helps, even if you think it won’t make much of a difference. We hear it again and again, that one voice, one hand, one person who cared made all the difference. Bullying damages us. To this moment, I can tell you several insecurities I have were bred from the bullying I experienced as a teenager.
In Amanda’s case, she did have a strong support network, although there was something that occurred just this week that made her feel entirely alone and that her struggle was futile.
In memory of Amanda, and in your experience of bullying in whatever form it was in, please commit to doing your part to end bullying.