Rethinking Bullying In The Wake Of Teen Suicide Tragedies
A campaign to stop bullying should have begun a long time ago, but it seems that up until the recent events, people just accepted bullying as a part of life; no one really made a concerted effort to try and stop it.
To help solve the problem, we need to realize that the way in which people are being bullied is changing. It is no longer as simple as going out to the playground and stopping the school-yard bully from pushing kids around - now it is also happening out in cyberspace. People can go on Facebook and Twitter and post something that is intended to hurt someone. Now, instead of being able to confront the bully face-to-face and solve the problem, the victim must deal with something that has been posted for the entire world to see online.
It is sad to think that in this day and age, people are harassed and bullied because of their sexual orientation, to the point that they feel the need to take their own lives. Well, that exactly what has happened over the past few months: Asher Brown, 13, Seth Walsh, 13, Justin Aaberg, 15, Billy Lucas, 15, and Tyler Clementi, 18, all committed suicide because they were bullied, made fun of and/or humiliated by their peers because of their sexual orientation.
Everyone has his or her own opinions on homosexuality. But can we agree that harassing someone to the point where they kill themselves to get away from the abuse is wrong? It shouldn’t matter what your opinions are; there is no reason for someone to bully another person simply because they have a different set of beliefs. As a human being, people should know that making someone feel inferior is simply wrong.
When lives are literally at risk because of the anti-gay bullying, and any other type of bullying for that matter, something should be done to put an end to it. Having schools create programs to teach their students that anti-gay bullying is bad shouldn’t turn into a debate over whether or not the programs will create “pro-gay propaganda”. Politics and religion should not be a factor in this argument. Solving the problem that has proven to lead to people committing suicide should be the only concern on the minds of those involved in the discussion. Agendas need to be put aside for the sake of preventing further tragedies from happening.
Those who do care about making positive change and solving the problem are doing so in great numbers. Celebrities are perhaps the most influential of those trying to help out. Kathy Griffin, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and Ellen DeGeneres are just a few of the celebrities who have made an effort to reach out and offer guidance or words of encouragement to those who need it. Even Perez Hilton is saying that he will no longer make fun of celebrities because of the recent events.
Websites like thetrevorproject.org and itgetsbetterproject.com are also intended to provide support to those who need it. These websites hope to use social media to combat the anti-gay bullying that is going on. People from all walks of life can post videos or messages to offer support and express that no matter how bad the situation may seem, never give up, because it will get better.
Bullying has always been and, sadly, probably will always be a part of society. There will always be those people who are so insecure that they feel the need to hurt others in order to feel better about themselves. But as a society, we have to decide at what point do we start saying that changes have to be made. Whether it’s creating more effective school programs to teach our kids that bullying is wrong or having those who are harassing others held accountable for what their actions may lead to, something has to be done to curb this alarming trend.