I have always regarded bullying as a most intolerable crime, but in today’s society, I am finding it increasingly difficult to confront as it invades our homes via social networking.
When I was bullied back in my day, it was easy enough to pinpoint the jerk and have him suspended. Most bullying took place on the schoolbus or in the classroom, thus teachers were often witnesses. Today, I see a disturbing amount of children and even adults being targeted by online bullies, which makes it difficult to confront them in a meaningful way. Leaving a comment under a Facebook status such as “back off, bully” does very little to protect the victim from additional abuse. The reality is, that bully feels invisible behind his or her computer screen. To them, what they say almost doesn’t matter or seem real because they have that screen to hide behind. But for the victim, the damage has already been done.
For whatever reason, we don’t think about what we say or what we type when we are attacking someone. We do not consider ourselves bullies until we are on the receiving end of those cruel words, that we never ever forget, and at some point we realize that we have said those words before. We bite our tongues.
Today I read an incredibly sad Facebook post outlining a school fight that is due to occur tomorrow between two grade eleven boys. One of the boys has been referred to as “fat” several times and a handful of kids have ridiculed him on this post. I can envision the fight in my head, one chubby, innocent kid facing ten cocky teenagers who are just as insecure as him, but they’re stronger in numbers.
And probably, he will lose the fight, go home, and wonder what he did wrong to become one of the “losers”, when really, the only thing he ever lost was that stupid fight.
We need to stop identifying each other by our weight, our status, our sexuality. We are not anorexic or fat, cool or loners, fags or homos. We are just bullies.