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News Flash: Bullying Hurts Kids!

According to Reuters News, those fabulous Researchers have done it again. They have proved -- statistically! -- that, yes, Virginia, kids get bullied in school and that this may have "serious mental health consequences."

To which the huddled masses here in Ancient Armenia respond with a resounding "DUH!"

The huddled masses of Ancient Armenia had all of this figured out twenty years ago. Kids bully each other. Bullying is abuse. Abuse causes "serious mental health consequences." "Serious mental health consequences" is researcher-speak for "the severe fuckup of one's life," and can be physically as well as mentally devastating (as if mentally devastating wasn't bad enough). How nice of the Researchers to figure this out now. And how wonderful that it's made The News.

I'm sorry, but for decades now, kids have been trying to tell people what these Researchers have apparently just figured out. Kids are being hurt, sometimes severely. And the traditional adult responses have included such gems as:

"They're just jealous."
"Boys will be boys."
"Rub a little dirt on it."
"Don't let the bastards get you down."
"What, you can't take a little teasing? What kind of wuss are you?"
"There's nothing we can do about it."

And my personal favorite:
"These are the best years of your life."

Well, no, asshole grownup. They're not the best years of one's life. If someone is abusing you, those are the worst years of one's life. When just showing up at school is a trial, when going out into the hallway means that you run the risk of being assaulted, when just walking down the street means that you risk having rocks thrown at you or dog shit smeared on you, that does damage. It's the kind of damage that festers and eats away at your mind and your soul. It's the kind of damage that kills people sometimes. And the most well-intentioned of grownups just brush off the abuse that causes it, because the people doing the abusing are other kids.

Maybe it's an effect of grownups not taking kids seriously. "Oh, they're just kids, they don't have the power to really hurt anyone." Wrong. Abuse is abuse, and bullying is just as much abuse as a parent blacking a kid's eye.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I'm glad that the Researchers are finally waking up to what really ought to be a universal truth. On the other hand, I'm pissed off that it took them this long to see what should be as plain as the noses on their faces.

Bullying hurts kids.

DUH.

Comments

westbeilschmidt
May. 12th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
It really puzzles me that certain events like bullying only come to (public) light when it's researched to death and reported in some major publication.

I too was bullied; fortunately I had enough moxy to stop it myself (unlike most kids who are) even though I was in my teens. I was about 16 (had a few close friends in HS), I was teased because I have red hair, wore glasses and was a military brat among other things. Well the bullying came to a head when my tormentor started to sexually harass me. The vice principal and science teacher (wonderful male chauvinistic pigs that they were) used the "Boys will be boys" and "don't knock it, it might be the only meat you get" not very supportive (and obviously illegal remarks) found out what the inside of locker looked like. I lost my temper and shoved all 3 sob's into seperate lockers then reported it - the bullying and the staffs remarks to the principal in turn to the police.

The 3 were charged (luckily, I didn't have to testify against them). The staff (involved) were fired and banned from teaching and the bully went to a juvenile detention centre.
sinneahtes
May. 12th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC)
"don't knock it, it might be the only meat you get"

*jaw drops*

Wow. You ARE made of awesome! (Not that I ever thought otherwise. ;))
westbeilschmidt
May. 12th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
okay, bad enought the Boys will be boys line, but the other was uncalled for. As for the meat bit, now that I think back, there really wasn't much there to worry about in the first place. Too bad, I didn’t have my magnifying glass on hand back then
sinneahtes
May. 12th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
And there went my Cherry Coke, right through my nose! *sporfles*

"Uncalled for" indeed! That's just sick! A university professor of mine apparently got fired for far more benign comments than that. (And he wasn't even talking to legal minors.)
frenchpony
May. 12th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
I second each and every "made of awesome" comment made to you, including my own. I guess "boys will be boys" is a good clarion call to action for awesome people. I'm glad you helped get those staff members fired. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
saadiira
Jun. 2nd, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
Good for you that it worked out that way.

Any time I said anything, I got in trouble, not the bully. The only time I ever tried to fight back, I got in trouble (A girl had been getting up every few minutes, slapping me across the face, then sitting down. The teacher wasn't blind, I'm sure. After the twentieth or so time that morning, I got up and slapped her back. I was promptly sent to the principal's office for fighting. That was the only time I ever retaliated, and I NEVER started it.). After that, I didn't dare.

Moxie doesn't, unfortunately, always solve it. Kids who get victimized aren't always those with a 'victim' mentality (though victimize them enough, and they might just get to have one). Just being outnumbered can be enough.

-Dira-

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