Simply asking that question will not resolve anything but facing and making adequate and lasting changes can lead to actually saving lives.
Most recently, the focus from the media, political leaders, gun rights activists and many others have not been focused on long-term needs or solutions but rather on short-term story lines, misleading voters and pushing policies as well as allowing misunderstandings which have led to surges in firearm sales.
The story of the century would be a day without a death from gun violence or even more so, violent crime.
Sound impossible? We are driven to think that way.
By speaking up when we see bullying, or talking and letting people know it is not okay to treat others with disrespect or cruelty, this cycle can be stopped.
According to the US Department of Justice and the National School Association of School Psychologist, 10% of students drop out due to repeated bullying and 160,000 students miss school each day due to fear of bullying.
According to the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment, the US ranks average amongst 70 countries around the world when comparing 15 year olds in reading, science and math.
The education report and the need for educational reform is not new and while many budgets are under the microscope for getting cut, America’s students may not get the much needed support they desperately need and deserve.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of boys identified as bullies have a criminal record by the time they are 24 years old.
In extreme cases, bullying has been named as the cause of student suicide and student homicide.
With an average student spending 6-8 hours a day at school, if that day includes being bullied or having the fear of being bullied, their learning ability will be diminished.
With this going on, as well as any other typical school distractions, necessary learning of lessons and social development can be missed and go unseen in today’s overstressed society. Unless there is a clear objective to focus on these issues, with the proper attention and involvement and do whatever is necessary to make life changing differences not only for those directly involved but throughout our society, the current generation as well as the future generations will continue to decline.
When the subject of bullying is brought up for discussion, it is often not clear what accounts for “bullying” or that it can often take place online within many social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other social gathering sites or through texting, messaging and email. Cyber-bullying has opened a whole new world for bullies to reach their victims either after having left them earlier or sometimes having never even met them face to face.
Half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and about the same number have engaged in cyber-bullying.
This has turned a person’s home into a place that once used to be a safe area into a place of torment as well. A person can use their phone or the computer to send threatening messages to the victim threatening them in some way or even threatening to harm their family. What can you do to help?
If you have children or family members with children, talk to them about bullying. Ask them what they know and how they feel about it. Let them know it is never okay. Tell someone. All people should feel safe.
Talk to coworkers and family about doing the same. The more people you know, the more children you know, the greater chance you know someone being bullied or possibly someone bullying. You can help put a stop to this, now.
Every place should be a bully-free zone.
Take a stand and help stop bullying in your school, workplace and community. It starts by speaking up and talking with others.
Bullying can be snuffed out by breaking the silence.
*½ of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and about the same number have engaged in cyber-bullying.
*Cyber-bullying affects all races.
*Cyber-bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide.
Stop Bullying Now – ASL
Graduate Students of Gallaudet University in hopes to spread awareness and address bullying within schools and communities, and prevent future harm to children and adolescents.
Please feel free to comment on your thoughts and/or experiences and subscribe to this blog for upcoming articles. This is an ongoing series and your thoughts may contribute to future articles. If you have not read the previous article,”The time to talk is now!“, I would urge you to do so. Thank you.
Photos from "Stop Bullying Now! One Mile Fun Walk" Photos courtesy of: Mental Health America of NE Florida
According to Gayle Eckerd, CEO of River Point Behavioral Health, “Bullying among our children and adolescents has become an epidemic and something needs to be done now.”
To stop an epidemic, there is often a source where a treatment can be implemented and then spread out from there. But, with bullying, each and every case is different because it is not only dealing with the victim of bullying but also the person or persons behind the act of bullying. It is also looking at what is causing this person to act out in this way and we also must ask a few questions; Why is this becoming such a growing problem? What is bullying? Where does the problem of bullying begin? Who is responsible to address these concerns?
The first question to address is the last one. Who is responsible to address these concerns? We all are. This is a concern for everyone to not only realize but to be part of the overall solution. The first thing to recognize is the problem. Look around. Bullying is not something that only happens on the school playground or during playgroups at the park. It is not something that is happening only amongst our young people. This is a problem in homes with siblings, at school within all age groups. Bullying is a problem within the workplace, within our political system, between parents, between parents and their children and the lists go on. What happens is, it isn’t always considered bullying and therefore the issue is getting beyond our grasp and out of control. But, it isn’t beyond help.
Preparing for the walk, everyone can be part of the solution to stop bullying.
In today’s world, anyone who wants to bully someone else can do so in a buffet of places and even without ever showing their face. Once a person becomes aware of the problem bullying has become in our society, it becomes hard to avoid or overlook this issue. The problem is so many people have begun to accept it as a way of life or have learned to overlook it until the problem becomes unavoidable or irreversible. Too many people are getting physically, mentally and emotionally hurt and many are committing suicide over it or living in silence and unspeakable pain on the verge of a meltdown. But, there is help.
Everyone who participates, tells someone else and the word spreads... that's a good sign!
With 200-250 walkers and their tremendous success, this is one of the most powerful ways to make a difference in the battle against bullying. They are reaching out to the younger generation, their friends and families, starting necessary conversations and letting it be known that it is not only okay to talk about bullying but also making it known that bullying against anyone, for any reason, at any age is never okay!
Studies have shown 15-25% of students report being the victim of bullying while 15-20% of students report they engage in bullying. These reported numbers are often low due to victims’ fear of retribution keeping them from coming forward.
Bullying is a form of abuse and can have immediate and long-term effects.
Recently, as seen on the news, reports of suicides have been on the increase due to bullying. Young people who are victims of bullying are more likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs and/or alcohol, have mental health disorders such as depression, eating disorders, self mutilation, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, etc.
Youth who bully are more likely to engage in violence, get involved in gangs, criminal behavior and become abusers as adults. These traits can often effect the next generations as well.
Mental Health America of Northeast Florida has been working to raise awareness of this epidemic of bullying in our country beginning with our local communities. With sponsors like, River Point Behavioral Health who paid for this event, allowing all proceeds to go the Mental Health America of Northeast Florida for their amazing work in not only this event but also working within schools and summer camps, this is an amazing example of what can be done to stop bullying, prevent bullying and everyone can be involved.
Mental Health America of Northeast Florida has found the necessary treatment is to not only treat the victim but also those that feel the need to bully. There is very often a reason behind the bullying but also to get people talking and raise awareness to this growing problem.
Take time to listen. Take time to talk. Talk about bullying.
The more people who get involved and the more help made available, the better the chances for everyone.
In this series of articles, I’ll share different stories from people who have had their lives affected from bullying in one way or another. The only way to effectively stop bullying is to show its hiding places, bring them out into the open and let people know the best thing to do is speak up and get the necessary help when needed. Let people know it is okay to say they need help because they are not alone.
What many people see as harmless fun is very hurtful and has long-term effects to others. This is bullying. This is causing many people a lost childhood, lifelong trauma, physical harm and as we are learning it is more often leading to suicide. This has to stop. It must stop now.
See the signs, read the warnings and act. Don't ignore what is right in front of you.
The first story is something that is horrible and should be unheard of but it is a situation that very much needs to be recognized for what it is.
This is about a young lady that had been bullied by not only one person but multiple people. She was bullied to the point of victimization in both a medical facility and her family environment. She is disabled and required help for much of her daily care.
During what should have been a 5-day admission to a hospital for medical testing for a diagnosis, she was instead bullied, made fun of, called names and left in unsanitary conditions. In the end, due to the lack of care from the medical staff, the correct tests had not been done which led to a long delay of the correct diagnosis. She said, ““It was an awful experience; the mental games were terrifying and I was stuck there because they did not want to discharge me.”
At the hands of her family, where she should have felt the most secure, cared for and loved, she was instead bullied most by her siblings until she was later sent to live with other relatives. There, she was often left alone as a live-in babysitter, neglected for her own daily medical needs and left to fall into the hands of a family friend who raped her.
When she couldn’t take anymore and tried to leave, she was locked in a room, slammed against the wall, unable to use a phone or a bathroom until she eventually crawled out a window and escaped. Yes, escaped. She said, “You hear about human trafficking nowadays, but that was kind of the case, even within my own family.”
At the time, this woman was wheelchair bound. Since getting better care after these experiences, this has changed. She has chosen to remain anonymous for very clear reasons.
The second story is about Lynda in Parkersburg.
Lynda’s has quite a different side of things. At first, in middle school, Lynda was having a lot of troubles at home and this led to troubles at school. During her 8th grade year, Lynda ran away.
This ended up getting her moved to another relative’s home and also to a new school. The kids at the new school didn’t treat her too well, in fact, they were just mean. She was poked, tripped, had her books knocked out of her hands and threatened about showing up places outside of school. So, she decided to just stay quiet and stay to herself.
In the 9th grade, she moved back in with her grandparents and returned to her old school. However, she had taken on a new attitude. She was loud, mean and a bully now. She wasn’t going to be picked on anymore. She took things to a new level you could say. Name calling and harassing was an everyday part of her demeanor and she’s sure she made the daily lives of some of her classmates a living hell.
“So many things that I look back on in shame,” Lynda says, “I cannot believe the intolerance that I showed back then.”
Now Lynda has her own children and would she never want to see them be bullied”, but she says, “I cannot stomach the thought of one of my kids being the bully.”
Lynda is making this known to help stop bullying.
Many people are stepping forward in efforts to help stop bullying. Below are some excellent links to visit for information on how you can speak with children, friends, coworkers or reach out for help.
Please feel free to comment on your experiences with bullying and how it has affected your life as well. Together, we can help in the effort by sharing information, speaking up, getting help and bringing an end to bullying in our own local communities which will prevent more victims and help save lives from the hurt or worse, from the loss of life. Please pass this along and keep an eye out for part 2 of this series.
AHMIR ANTI-BULLYING VIDEO – “Perfect”
Purchase this song on iTunes and 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the Make Laughter Count foundation (an organization that brings comedians & entertainers together to increase awareness about bullying and raising funds for charities)