The four essays (all written by teenaged girls) are quite moving. I found myself humbled, particularly after reading this excerpt from Madison Jaronski’s essay:
Whenever I build up the strength to tell someone about this year, I get the same old fake response “Oh my, how horrible, I am so sorry. But don’t worry, I have been bullied too so I understand.” The thing is though; that statement is never comforting because right then I think “Really… You have been verbally attacked while walking in your hometown and school? You have been betrayed by some of your closest friends? Spent many late nights to early mornings crying yourself to sleep? You have been publicly harassed? And still at the end of all of it, got blamed for every last thing too?” Nobody ever answers “yes” back. Never….No two acts of bullying are the same because bullying is always personal, always meant to strike home with that individual person, to make that individual feel as if she is completely worthless to the world.
It broke my heart reading those words. Her voice represents the innumerable victims who are being bullied now and who have been in the past. I thought about one of the comments in my last post in which the poster, Alana, expressed contempt towards (what I think at least) the adults who did not respond appropriately to her victimization. The anger expressed by both Madison and Alana is appropriate and understandable. I can only speak for myself, Madison and Alana, but I truly am sorry you have had to suffer. It may not change what is/has happened, but know you are not alone.
I hope the essays move you as they moved me. It seems to me that whenever I speak about bullying or discuss this blog, the million dollar question remains, “so, now what do we do?”
Cindy Waitt and Dr. Alan Heisterkamp from the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention share some advice. I feel their fourth point is particularly noteworthy:
4. Practice what you preach. Look in the mirror. What are you modeling as parents and role models to kids? How do you treat your spouse, your children, or your colleagues? If you are a politician or policy maker, watch what you say, people are listening…Kids watch us and learn from us. Teach them early and teach them often by your actions.