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I was bullied. For years, I tried to ignore it. I told myself, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Anyone who still believes that is in denial; the tongue can be as sharp as any sword.

The day finally arrived when I became fed up. I was tired of it: tired of the pushing; the shoving; the stupid insults. I wanted no more. When one tried to hit me, I spun and struck him as hard and fast as a hundred pound kid could. From then on, they wanted nothing to do with me.
The solution should never necessitate physical force. Bullying, or habitual cruelty and harassment towards ‘weaker’ individuals to assert dominance, is a problem faced every day by those who are—or dare to be—different. The pain it causes will eventually wear a person down, sometimes to the point of self-destruction. Recall, for a moment, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; buildings and belongings strewn over miles of ravaged land, everything so carefully built up torn down without mercy. This happens to the victim’s mind; I’ve seen it several times. For everyone’s safety, we need to change.

The first step towards change is to understand the problem; bullying often has its roots in fear and jealousy, which stem from unhappiness: a reality for most young adults, with reasons ranging from family problems and hurtful relationships to financial difficulties and struggles in school. A bully might see someone who has everything they secretly want, and belittle them for it out of the anguish that it seems forever out of their reach.

The second step towards change is to spread awareness; sadly, many people don’t see bullying as “their problem.” It always happens to someone else, so they don’t speak out against it. Here, we need to change, because the fact remains that each individual has no idea what goes behind the others’ masks; it is human nature to conceal what we really feel, and present instead that which will satisfy the majority. Illnesses, divorce, deadlines, fear, sorrow, anxiety, all are stark realities that put stress on a person’s life. Don’t add to that by picking on someone; you don’t know how close they are to breaking. Show some understanding, and maybe even a little compassion. If we can achieve that “zero tolerance” policy schools are always hyping up, we won’t have to worry anymore.

This isn’t a problem teachers can solve; this is grassroots activism, and it starts at the bottom. You can’t get lower than “student;” therefore, it is students who must initiate the change. Grown and graduated adults sit around conference tables and talk about how to put a stop to this problem, but they can’t effectively do anything without our help. We live it everyday, and we must be the ones to act. If we all change, even just a little, we can make a big difference. After all, this is our world: we’re the ones who shape it.





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TheVoice said...
Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm
Hey. Sorry I didn't read this sooner. It's great :)
 
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