Friday, January 6, 2012

About Bullying

A young woman committed suicide by stepping in front of a bus. Her family says that she was harassed and bullied by her school peers until she took her own life. They want to find the perpetrators and prosecute them. While I have every sympathy for the family and the pain that they must be suffering, placing blame on anyone will not bring her back. If she was suffering to the point of taking her life, then shouldn't her family have seen her distress and intervened prior to such a drastic act?

Bullying may be tougher than I remember, and certainly everyone has a different level of tolerance. But my feeling is, if you can be bullied to death--you have more issues than just the abuse of your contemporaries. And, the family searching for responsible parties should look closely at themselves when placing blame. If this abuse was so intolerable why didn't they seek out these culprits before? Why wait until some disaster falls before confrontation of, or mediation with, these kids? Responsibility for her act surely cannot fall on the bullies alone. but it won't help the family to be overwhelmed with guilt..

Perhaps the family would be better served looking for forums and arenas to discuss the warning signs of suicide. To look for measures to prevent this kind of incident by focusing on the ones that commit the act and how to help them, not the bullies. Bullies are a menace, no doubt, but families need to learn to build trust with their children, coupled with an awareness of who their children are, to prevent this type of tragedy. Instead of looking for bullies, look for organizations that build kids up, help them to find what makes them worthwhile, unique, lovable. An organization like that might even weed out some bullies.

1 comment:

  1. You’re right. The parents have been looking to place blame after the fact when they should have intervened sooner to prevent a tragedy. Often when children are in their teenage years, a sort of disconnect happens between they and their parents. The result is a lack of communication or in a lot of cases the only communication is miscommunication. The teens hide their emotions by living within a shell of their outer persona to protect the tender inner self. The parents for whatever the reason may be, only see the outer shell, the persona, and have no clue that their teen is suffering or even depressed. It is only after the teen commits suicide that the parents will then refer to earlier instances of their teen’s behavior that seemed odd.

    The sorrow and the anger come and they point fingers at the bullies. Yes, the bullies are very bad and do have culpability for their egregious actions but the parents are also feeling the pain and the guilt for not acting sooner. Suddenly what they didn’t see earlier becomes blatant insurmountable evidence that they failed their child. At the same time the bullies should be penalized for the verbal, mental and physical abuse they have imposed on others. Just like spouses are arrested for domestic violence, the bullies, who in my opinion have committed a type of civil violence, should be penalized. Integrating sensibility training into their penalty would help in rehabilitating these bullies before integrating them back into society.

    I agree that there should be some social programs available for teens in this type of trouble. Bullied teens are not just picked on by others, they’re also lonely. They have nowhere to turn to for help, for advice or for a sympathetic ear. And feeling alone and helpless is the gateway for despair and anguish where only death can end the pain.