Bullying Isn't Supposed To Happen

Bullying Isn't Supposed To Happen

Stop saying it's a part of childhood.
Jessica
Jessica
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I've been an impassioned, outspoken person about bullying. It seems like the issue will just never go away and just continues to get worse regardless of certain efforts by communities and even lawmakers. Many people argue it is just a part of childhood, and that it teaches children how to be "tough" and how to "face adversity". They argue it builds character and people will bully you as an adult, too. Well, to those people, is suicide also a fact of life? Do you consider suicide a "rite of passage" as much as bullying?

Recently in Staten Island, New York, a little boy committed suicide. He was 13 years old. His name was Daniel Fitzpatrick, and his parents have set up a GoFundMe account (consider donating). He had been bullied at a private Catholic school by numerous classmates. At 13, no kid should be thinking about committing suicide. The boy pictured told school officials who did not do anything to alleviate the bullying, telling him it will pass and not to worry. In other words, they essentially told him bullying is a fact of life. He is now deceased as a result of the blatant inaction.

Are you aware now of how dangerous the statement "bullying is a fact of life" really is?

Okay, I'm going to put this in different terms. Murder is a fact of life. Murder happens. People kill each other, daily, somewhere in the world. Does that mean when someone is murdered we look the other way, tell their loved ones it's a fact of life, and move on? Does that mean we don't hold the murderer accountable? Does that mean if someone goes to the police, and says, "I think I might be murdered by someone", we tell them it's a fact of life? It'll just pass, and don't worry?

No.

Bullying should not be treated any differently. Just because it's common does not mean it should be allowed to happen. Bullying, especially when suicidal ideations are involved, is a form of murder. Suicide is not an exceptional or rare response to bullying, either: a very large portion of bullying survivors either attempt or contemplate committing suicide (and in some cases, succeed). There is literally a Wikipedia article called: "List of suicides which have been attributed to bullying". I am sure that list is incomplete. This article includes names you have likely seen before or vaguely remember: Phoebe Prince. Tyler Clementi. Amanda Todd. David Molak. Perhaps the most interesting about that list, is that at least one of the people listed were no longer considered "children"; Tyler Clementi was 18 years old and in college. So if bullying is a part of childhood, why would it happen to an 18 year old in college?

Let me further explain: I am a bullying survivor. I love all the articles that say stuff like "Thank You To My Bullies", and "Bullying Made Me Stronger". Truly, I do. They might give people hope when there is no hope, and they might see their circumstances through or seek to change it. But let me also inform you of a few things.

True, traumatic bullying can actually change your brain chemistry. Bullying has long term effects into adulthood, such as anxiety, difficulty to form long lasting relationships, physical health issues, higher anxiety, and higher incidence of depression, to just name a few. You may also get lower grades well after the bullying has ended. They have difficulty trusting people. There are, of course, more effects that I have not listed. The dangerous way of thinking that "bullying is a fact of life" is literally helping people become traumatized - that is, of course, if they don't commit suicide. In other words, you shouldn't have to contemplate death to be "tough" or "face adversity". You shouldn't have live the rest of your life affected by what people did to you in elementary school because nobody would listen. There are other ways to become tough or grow as a person. Take up a hobby, maybe.

I can only hope with the national spotlight on such a young child who felt trapped by his pain can help change this way of thinking. Next time you say it's a fact of life, think of all the people you're telling there's no way out. Think of all the people you're telling there is nothing that can be done and they have to just deal with constant pain and harassment. Think of all the people who feel trapped and may resort to drastic measures.

Think of the preciousness of childhood, and that preciousness and that innocence being robbed of you, either through trauma or even death.

I don't know the right answer to stop bullying, but "it's a fact of life" isn't one of them.


Cover Image Credit: parade.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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