Friday, September 10, 2010

Bullies...From the chalkboard to the Hollywood Sign

This topic strays away from the usual focus of this site, but its so relevant to many readers. Demi Lovato was in the CNN Newsroom September 7th, addressing the issue of bullying in schools. Lovato experienced bullying firsthand, and is speaking out about it. I love that many stars are speaking out about the mental and physical abuse that's happening among peers. Miley Cyrus even sings about exiting abusive relationships in her song, "Liberty Walk," which could easily become the anti-bully anthem, "Don't listen to all the people who hate 'cause all they do is help make your mistakes for ya..." Stars like Miley and Demi are leading by example, showing that bullies cannot hold them back.    
Katie Salazar who was featured on this site a few months ago, recently wrote about her own experience with bullies: 
The definition of a bully is “a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.” In many different parts of the world bulling is a prime source in teenagers committing suicide. Bullying can cause depression, insecurities, and not only can it be physically harmful but mentally as well. Certain people who are not bullied do not understand how serious of a problem this is and are not able to comprehend with others who have been intimidated. In high school bullying is very popular, especially with females. How do I know this, you ask? I have had first hand experience and been through the suffering.
Bullying is a huge issue in today’s society. Everyday millions of teenagers wake up terrified to go to school. In most cases parents, teachers and other adults do not always see what is happening and don’t realize how extreme bullying can become. Bullying doesn’t always have to be necessarily done just by one person to another, but a group of individuals with either more power, being physical or having more social strength.
Two of the main reasons people are bullied, are either because of appearance or their social status. Bullies usually target the people whom they think do not blend into the crowd, reason’s being, because of the way they look or act. For example like kids who are shy, or other reasons being because of their race or religion, or there “status”, i.e being gay or lesbian. The different types of physical harm they can cause can be by a simple shove, or tripping them, or escalating like punching or hitting, and in some cases do the unthinkable: sexual assault. Other bullies try to keep it “simple” and use mental abuse or verbal abuse to make themselves seem and look in charge. An example of this could be, the popular kids on campus often find it enjoyable to pick on the kids who they see as unusual by excluding them or gossiping about them and taunting them, which is a form of mental and verbal abuse. 
Another popular form of bullying is online bullying/cyber bullying. Verbal bullying can involve sending rude and cruel instant messages, texts, or posting insults on there via different websites like FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. 
To me, as a person who has gone through physical, mental and cyber bullying, this is a very important issue that is dear to my heart. I believe people need to start standing up for kids who have gone through horrifying experiences, like me. One of the most painful aspects of bullying is that it’s relentless. Bulling put me in a state of constant fear where I became constantly stressed, and I began loosing chunks of hair daily. I suffered depression and that caused me to not eat and I began loosing extreme about of weight in very little time, in addition to that I lacked sleep. It became difficult for me to concentrate in class knowing in the back of my head that the three boys in my class, who were constantly bullying me, were in there. My grades began to suffer tremendously. Never in my life had I gone through such a low self-esteem! There are certain traumatizing events that people did to me which I will NEVER forget; at times it’s like a constant episode playing over and over in my head.
Studies show that a person who have been abused by others/peers, are at risk for mental health problems, like low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety. They also consider suicide, which I went through when I hit rock bottom.
What many don’t realize though, is that bullies are also at risk for problems. Bullying for bullies is a way of relieving stress and taking out problems they may have at home. Although, bullying is a violence that leads to more violent behavior as he/she grows up. While doing some research on bullying, I found out that it is estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary school bullies will have a criminal record by the time they are 30. In some cases some teenage bullies are rejected by there peers and loose friends as they get older.
What I’ve been told often is that the best way to solve a bullying problem for a younger kid is by telling an adult they find trustworthy. For a teenager, the tell-an-adult approach depends on there bullying situation. One way, which is a vital report of bullying, is if it threatens to lead to some sort of physical danger. Many high school students have died when being stalked, threatened, and attacked which were unreported. Sometimes a victim of repeated bullying, can’t control the need for revenge and the situation becomes even more dangerous, for everyone.
From personal experience, what I can advise kids and teenagers to do is to avoid being alone, whether it be walking to class alone, walking home, or anywhere, try to have someone walk you to your classes or anywhere you need to go alone. Try remaining with a group of people. If you’re being bullied, try your best to ignore it and walk away; don’t let the bully see he/she is affecting you. When you’re being bullies, try to hold in your anger and DON’T get physical. Try your best to practice confidence and take charge of your life. The toughest part is finding someone you can talk about it to, by trying to find a friend, but not just any friend, a TRUE friend. Why? Because sometimes the person you may trust the most, may be the most harmful and tell everyone, everything you told them. I’ve been in that situation before and you do not want it to happen to you, so make sure you know who to trust and who to speak to.
As a victim of bullying, it was hard for me to speak out about it, but I am now. Starting my senior year of high school, I made an agreement with myself that I would NOT stand for this any longer!
Spread the word! Bring awareness to your schools!

Bullying is a real problem, let's work together to try and put an end to it, for the sake of all the future stars out there!  

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