wow. i just ran across this story about a young girl who was bullied via facebook (and at school) for being “fat” and “unattractive.” under a photo the girl posted on facebook of herself, a teen boy commented that she was so fat and disgusting that no one would want to rape her and that she should die and her body should be donated to science. not sure if those were the exact words, but it went something like that. watch the video for yourself. it disgusts me. and saddens me.
this case made news originally because the young girls mom allegedly choked the teen boy after bullying his daughter. no, didn’t choke him to death, just seemingly grabbed his neck with force. im not going to focus too much on that side of the story. i will only say that i do not agree with her actions and think things should have been handled differently.
my focus here is going to be on the bullying of this young teen girl. it breaks my heart. makes my blood boil. brings back memories i’d like to erase. bullying was bad enough when i was a teen…today it is out of control. made worse through social networking, instant photos and videos, etc. humiliation can be spread in seconds.
sadly, teasing is part of growing up. almost every kid will experience it at some point. however teasing turns into bullying when it is repetitive and done with intention to hurt.
as a child i was considered fat. i was, as i recall, the biggest girl in elementary and junior high. or at least that’s the way it felt. i recall very few days that i was not bullied at school. being called fat. fat ass. ugly. gross. wide load signs put on my back. cornered by teen boys who would steal my belongings, etc. the list goes on. i cried all the time. it was daily humiliation. i was sad. depressed. scared. and worst of all i hated myself. eventually i began to believe all the horrible words these bullying kids threw in my direction for so many years of my childhood.
words leave marks!
so what effect can such bullying have on a child. here are a few troubles that may transpire for the victim of bullying:
anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, poor social self-competence, depression, psychosomatic symptoms, social withdrawal, school refusal, school absenteeism, poor academic performance, physical health complaints, running away from home, alcohol and drug use, and suicide.
using myself as an example, by the time i was about to depart from junior high school, i was very depressed, my self-esteem was non-existent, i was horrible in social situations because i felt like no one would like me and i wasnt good enough, my self-confidence was shattered, i was often withdrawn, i faked sicknesses so i wouldn’t have to go to school, and i didn’t want to be alive. when the time came for me to join high school, i lost a lot of weight, in all the wrong ways, because i couldn’t imagine 4 more years of hell.
as an adult…i am still uncomfortable in social situations, i am very introverted and quiet by nature, my self-esteem certainly resurfaced in adulthood, but has never reached its full potential, same goes for my self-confidence, my alcoholism and addictions were in full throttle as i entered early adulthood, i am rarely happy with my physical appearance and am constantly telling myself i am fat. i believe most of these characteristics developed as a bullied child and stuck with me into adulthood. they are wired in my hard drive now. i have a great life today and i do have confidence and self-esteem, and i do like the person i have become, but the ghosts of my childhood past still linger. naturally.
so when i watched this video of this beautiful young teen, crying as she repeated the words of her bully, my heart broke. i know what it feels like, and i don’t wish those feelings on even the worst of enemies. emotional abuse is just as sad and just as dangerous as physical abuse.
how can we stop bullying? how?
although being bullied as a little girl continues to affect me in some negative ways, i am lucky in that i didn’t grow into a mean, angry, bitter adult by way of my childhood emotional abuse. i grew into a very emotionally sensitive, kind, thoughtful, and gentle woman. (most of the time-cause im not perfect) and one who knows the dangers of abuse by words, and who can’t even imagine being so mean to another human being. in fact, if i witness someone else saying hurtful things to another person, child or an adult, i feel it penetrate in me. and it makes me extremely uncomfortable. not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. but it just is.
seriously…what can schools/parents do to prevent bullying to such extremes?
i hope this little girl who recently felt such emotional pain from bullying…can keep hold of her self-esteem and confidence and is shown, by way of love, how beautiful she is and how much she shines in this sometimes very cruel world.
please watch the video from the Dr. Drew show.
i am just posting the part regarding the bullying. if you want to see the whole video, please visit HLN’s/Dr. Drew’s page.