sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
This person has pledged that for each comment she gets to this post, up to 500, she will donate a dollar to a few organizations dedicated to helping GLBTQ youth. A few others have joined in and said that if she reaches this goal, they'll donate money of their own. The count is currently at $650 that could be donated to helping, and more comments and donations keep pouring in.

This is amazing. Even if all I can do is comment myself and help to spread the word a little, I'll do it. It took me 30 seconds to write a comment. It was possibly the most worthwhile 30 seconds I'll spend today.

The rash of teen suicides lately has disturbed me profoundly. The bullying these people endured, for no reason other than they they had an attraction to the same sex (sometimes even just potentially had an attraction to the same sex) is absolutely disgusting. There aen't many people I will wish ill upon, but the people who perpetrate this kind of utter bullshit should be punished, and punished severely.

This is a sore spot with me. I pretty much spent my life being bullied in one form or another. Not just because of my sexual orientation, though accusations of such did play a part in my torment.

Bullying, and what I endured. )

Why do bullies get away with stuff like this? Because nobody stops them. People counsel the victims to be more understanding and more sympathetic. Teachers have lost the authority to punish students half the time now, even when it's obvious that they're doing something terrible. Because people who are bullied a lot tend to stop crying out when they learn that nobody's going to come and help them.

Then, of course, there's the fact that some adults don't turn a blind eye to bullying, but go and watch it as a form of entertainment. Rei told me about an incident he saw uptown when he was in high school, where two students were beating the crap out of each other, and sure enough, other students had gathered in a circle to watch. But adults were in that circle too, watching in fascination or cheering on the fighters. Not trying to break up the fight. Not trying to get help. Standing and watching. Encouraging.


I hate bullying. I hate bullies. People can come up with as many excuses for the bullies as they like, say that they're scared or insecure or lonely or that they were probably bullied themselves once. But that does not erase what they do to people. That doesn't mend wounds or heal scars. It doesn't stop anything. It just convinces the victim that even the adults who are supposed to help them care more about the bullies than the bullied.

Then there's the fact that often things get overlooked in children what would be reported to the police in adults. Physical abuse, mostly, but also harassment of various kinds. There's a wonderful line from Mercedes Lackey's Burning Brightly that expresses this sentiment very clearly. I can't remember the exact quote, so I'll paraphrase a little but it's something like, "I mean torture, not pushing around. We'd call it torture in adults, and I see no reason to call it any less in children."

Because let's face it: if an adult was walking home and two slightly younger adults came around the corner and threatened to beat them, that's cause to get the police involved. If heavy or sharp objects were thrown at an adult by an adult, that could be reported to the police and the perpetrator would get quite well punished for it. Sexual harassment is cause to get the police involved at any point, but it often gets overlooked in younger people unless an adult is involved. Anything else is just "kids being kids," even if the end effect is the same.

That's why I want to speak out, not just against the bullying of GLBTQ youth, but against bullying in general. Nobody deserves it. Too many people overlook it. It causes as many scars as a knife does, only most of the scars caused by bullying are the kind that nobody looks at because they're psychological, emotional. I survived being bullied. Barely. If I'd cut deeper or taken more pills on that first suicide attempt, I wouldn't have survived bullying. Many people would have contributed to that death, none of them once thinking that it would go so far because to them, it's all fun and games.

My pain, somebody else's pain, was a game. It was fun. It was funny.

It's not a game. And just because I'm still alive doesn't mean I came out intact on the other side. The habits these people got me into have yet to be broken down. I don't know if they ever will be. Some things are so deeply ingrained that they're completely a part of me now, like my crippling social anxiety and my frequent inability to speak to strangers unless I exert a lot of willpower and suffer for it later.

Their games have ended. My life has not. And even if I still suffer for it, even if the memories still hurt, I've found the strength to speak out for those who can't. Not just the people who tragically took their lives because they saw no other end to their pain, but those who are so used to silence, so used to nobody paying attention unless it's to hurt them. For them, I speak. For them, I stand up. And for them, I listen when somebody else may not, because I know all too well what it's like to have my please for help fall on deaf ears.


sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)

August 2011

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