It Stops NOW.

Somehow, bullying has become so engrained in our society that it’s often difficult to know how to begin stopping it. The hulking bully has been a stereo-typical cliché of every school yard scene for years; and somehow, we’ve just stood by and allowed that to happen. More than that, we’ve accepted it. Somehow, we’ve decided that “boys will be boys,” etc. and therefore constant bullying is just a fact of childhood. People even go so far as to blame the victims of bullying for not standing up for themselves or fighting back or whatever. Yeah, go figure.

Now, we can complicate this issue all we want; we can ignore it or decide it isn’t really serious, and even pretend that it somehow teaches children useful life lessons, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. And really, no matter how complicated you want to make it, no matter how engrained in society we think it is, it all comes down to one fact: no child is born a hater. Not even one. Like so many other things, hatred is taught. Maybe not intentionally, but kids have to pick it up somewhere.

Today, a courageous newspaper in Iowa dedicated it’s front page to the message that nobody wants to hear:

“We are all to blame. We have not done enough. Not nearly enough. This is not a failure of one group of kids, one school, one town, one county or one geographic area. Rather, it exposes a fundamental flaw in our society, one that has deep-seated roots. Until now, it has been too difficult, inconvenient — maybe even painful — to address. But we can’t keep looking away.”

Yep. A fundamental flaw in our society–but a flaw that can be fixed. Like anything worth doing, it will take a tremendous effort, but if we can only stand together and change the way our society perceives bullies, we can make a lasting change in our world. The article in the Sioux City Journal is proof that more and more people are sitting up and realizing the ultimate cost of ignoring the bullying crisis. As more and more people wake to this realization, things will get better. It’s our job to make sure that it happens.

There are any number of reasons (or lack thereof) why bullying occurs, from weight to skin color to sexual preference, and probably anything else you want to think of, but the cure for bullying can be stated in two words: acceptance and responsibility. We have to accept other for who they are, and to accept ourselves for the same reason. We have to accept our responsibility for our society and its actions, and pledge to make a difference.

Perhaps most importantly, we have to remember that none of us is alone. Too often we get caught up in our own lives and don’t see what’s going on around us. If you see someone who’s being bullied say something, let them know they aren’t alone. If you’re being bullied, say something, there are people on your side who will help you if they know what’s going on.

Together, we can fix this flaw in our society. Together, we can help those in trouble, and put an end to the constant threat of bullying. Together we can tell the world: it stops NOW.

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  1. EllyYuki

    April 24, 2012 at 2:53 am

    I couldn’t agree more. :(
    I told my parents I was being bullied some times, but they could only give advise like: ‘ignore them they will give up’ or ‘stand up for yourself’. But it just made it worse and it didn’t stop making it hurt. The only thing I needed to hear from my parents was that I was not what the bullies said I was. One time my mom went on the schoolbus with me to address one of the bullies and threaten him to stop bullying me. That worked. But I can’t stand up for myself. I can’t possibly go to my mom every time someone bullies me? <<
    After a while I stopped talking to my parents about it, because they couldn't do anything either. And I just resigned myself to the treatment.
    Well for one thing the bullying made me who I am today. I don't stand for bullying and I want to protect everyone from it. No one should have to go through what I did.

  2. April 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    This. So much this.

    I was tormented for the last three years of elementary school, and it’s something that still pains me to this day (well over a decade later). People need to take responsibility and show kids how wrong bullying is, and how much it hurts. The emotional trauma that stems from bullying is something that stays with a person forever (and, really, compared to others…the bullying I was subjected to was mild, not the least because all this cyberbullying didn’t exist back then).

    It’s ridiculous that we’ve let it get this far. But you’re right: thankfully, it IS something that can be changed. And if we would finally just step up and do something about it, we could save so many lives.

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