I usually keep this site to contests, workshops, promoting others, and book announcements. Rarely do I veer off and talk about myself, but I have something to share today. Some of you may have seen a clip of a video I passed around last month. It’s of a young member of my family (we’ll call her A) being jumped in the hallway of her school. She’s only twelve. Some girls decided that A wasn’t worthy of respect. Their jealousies and hatred toward her was so great that they decided to attack A and record it. Here’s the snippet I had shared …
In the video, one girl waits with phone ready while two girls stop A at the perfect spot to record the encounter. The girl recording it then yells, “Sienna, swing!” A dodges the first blow and pushes the girl away from her. That’s when the bigger girl moves in and punches A. Watching this recording made me sick. Broke my heart. My sweet A was attacked! The girls then spread the video on all their social media accounts to further humiliate A. It’s the new trend–attack someone, record it, share it, and become famous. Famous? How sick have we become as a society that our children are laughing at these cruel videos–laughing at the victims? I have no words. As I said, my heart is breaking.
Bullying is nothing new. Most of us have experienced it. I was bullied my entire sixth grade year by an eighth grader. I still remember her name. Victims always remember the names of their bullies. It stays with you like the scar that the abuse leaves behind in your memories. Nowadays, it’s even worse. I see it in our community, online, it’s everywhere. Recorded and shared so that the bullying continues way after the incident ended.
On the social media site where this was shared, it got hundreds of likes/favorites/whatever. Our kids are watching these videos as a form of entertainment. They share it with their friends and watch together and laugh at the victim and praise the attackers for getting the best of their victim. It vicious. And sad.
In the video, A is surrounded by her classmates. No one stepped forward to help. Not one ran off to get a teacher.
How can we stop it? I don’t think we can completely stop it. We could prevent more incidents. Maybe? It’s so much bigger than us. I believe we start at home. We must teach our kids to stand up for one another. That viewing and liking videos of acts of bullying is not right. We can teach our kids the meaning of empathy. And probably the meaning of compassion, too. Ask them to put themselves in the shoes of the victims. How would they feel? Help them to understand what hopelessness feels like. We can ask them to imagine being afraid to walk the halls at school, feeling that no one likes you, that you are worthless. And then we can encourage them to reach out to victims of bullying. Show them they matter. Friend them. Ease their pain.
That is what happened for A. Three beautiful girls reached out to her. Became her friends. Showed her she wasn’t alone. That she was worthy. That she mattered.
The girls who attacked A continue to say mean things under their breath when passing her. They spread horrible rumors of things that A hasn’t and would never do. There’s been whispers that they are planning another attack. But no matter what I say, A won’t leave her school. She has her new friends. Her music. She’s determined to make her stand. And I’m determined to keep her safe. I can’t wait until summer break – one more month.
Bullying doesn’t stop when we grow up. There’s bullies in the workplace, online, and in our community. I see it everywhere. So if you spot it happening, reach out to the victim. Make a stand. Let the bully know that it’s not acceptable behavior. Block them.
Some of my friends will be guest posting about their bullying experiences this month, we’d love you to stop by and read the posts. Share them with your kids. And please share your stories in the comments of this post.
To find out more about bullying and to learn the warning signs of bullying, go to http://childsafetyblog.org/.