Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bullying: School & Online Epidemics

Bullying in schools and online seem to have become more prevalent recently. Tragically, there has been a surge in teen suicide numbers due to anti-gay bullying in schools. I have read several tragic articles about the abuse and assaults on teens, and adults based on their appearance or sexual orientation, and articles about teens taking their own lives due to the ramifications of said abuse. No matter what a person's opinion is on the sexual orientation of another, that does not justify anyone having to endure any kind of torture or abuse, be it verbal and/or physical. Everyone has the right to live their own life. These attacks are deplorable and the attackers are cowards who, most often, group together to inflict torture to lone victims. 

With the popularity of social networking on the rise, cyber-bullying has also become more frequent. Cyber-bullying is often in the form of posting hateful comments about someone, or posting an unwitting victim's personal photos or videos online that circulate through schools and among peers, leaving the victim to deal with the horrifying aftermath. Once something is online, it is very hard to remove all traces and remnants of its existence. Often, many victims, whether straight or gay, young or older, do not reveal the incidents of bullying and abuse to authorities or school officials for fear that it may heighten the attacks.

It's sad to have experienced or know someone who has had to deal with bullying. I recently read one of Anderson Cooper's blog posts, which was a special to CNN entitled "Crystal Bowersox: 'Just Imagine...'". The piece was sad and moving. Crystal reveals years of horrible bullying and abuse she endured as a teen in school. Many may know Crystal as a performer from the ninth season of American Idol. I truly thank Crystal Bowersox for sharing her emotional story. I know it was not an easy thing to do, and even more so, not an easy thing, by any measure, to have experienced. The hellacious acts those she attended school with committed on her are heartbreaking. I hope other children who are experiencing this type of bullying are receiving the love and support they need to be strong and overcome it.
I encourage you to visit and read her story here:  "Crystal Bowersox: 'Just Imagine...'"