It's 2012. We are slam bang in the middle of a bullying epidemic. And still I see parents (yes, even parents right here on The Stir) acting like it's all some big myth being perpetrated by a bunch of wussies who won't put on their big girl pants. Attention, non-believers, I'd like to introduce you to the sad story of 15-year-old Amanda Todd.
Five weeks ago, Amanda posted a video on YouTube detailing the excruciating lengths bullies have gone to to make her life a living hell. But Amanda seemed to be one of those strong girls who wasn't going to take it. Because she also posted a slideshow of ways to combat these vile creatures who torture other kids. She had, as they say, her big girl pants on.
And then came Wednesday. Amanda was found in her house, dead. She'd committed suicide.
The big girl pants didn't work.
The big girl pants never work.
Instead kids put on a brave face to world, they "buck up" just as instructed. And on the inside, they crumble.
Some 160,000 will hide at home, skipping days at school because they're afraid. Countless more will turn to an eating disorder. I know I did. I threw up daily in the quest to find a more perfect me who would finally be accepted.
And then, sadly, worst of all, there will walk the path that Amanda Todd chose. Bullying victims are as much as nine times more likely than their peers to consider suicide.
Yes, even kids who "get it," kids like Amanda who know that bullies are cruel not because there's something wrong with their victims but because, well, bullies are cruel. Amanda's heartbreaking YouTube video detailing the trauma that caused her to change schools seemed to have been weighed out by that moving slideshow on how to fight cyberbullying. It seemed like she was a kid who had the power to move past all of this.
And yet, now, her parents are mourning the loss of their 15-year-old daughter.
It isn't their faults. But it is a wake-up call to the parents out there who would take bullying lightly, who would tell their kids "that which does not kill us makes us stronger," who figure their kids will be fine when they grow up.
They won't be fine if they're dead.
Please! Get your kids help if they're being bullied. Don't just wait for it to go away!
Check out Amanda's YouTube video and tell us: does her sad story change the way you look at bullying?
Image via TheSomebodyToKnow/YouTube