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Tolerance of Abuse This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Growing up I never understood the solutions to bullying that I was given as a child. I was told by adults to ignore it or accept my abuse as jealousy – a form of misguided admiration. I soon realized that the biggest problem with addressing bullying is the simple fact that we often choose to accept it. Elementary-school children are left to fight their own battles, resulting in self-destructive behaviors ranging from violence to suicide. The problem of bullying is rooted in these beginnings, and can only be solved by ending society's tolerance of it.

During my years of being bullied, I was told by adults to “just ignore them.” Perhaps my oppressors would eventually get bored if I didn't react to their taunts. However, doing nothing simply allowed for nothing to change. Ignoring the problem was not the answer.

As a fourth grader, I made a personal decision that I did not deserve to be talked down to or made to feel scared or unsafe. Using words and wit, I told my bullies I was not going to take their abuse any longer. The moment I stopped tolerating it, the bullying stopped. It's important for all to understand that they do not have to tolerate mistreatment. Today we are taught that bullying is a part of growing up, but I beg America to understand that no emotional and physical abuse should ever be accepted or tolerated.

As a girl, I was constantly told that “he pulls your hair because he likes you.” It is preposterous that physical or verbal abuse could be considered a sign of affection! Parents caution young people about abusive relationships while ignoring playground antics that echo these same abuses of power.

Society seems to be conditioning our daughters to accept abuse. Boys are told that to be men, they must be tough. Fighting is considered normal male activity, but saying that “boys will be boys” dismisses the severity of violent outbursts. Rather than excusing bullying, we should acknowledge that violence is not an acceptable outlet for any kind of emotion.

To end bullying, we must decide that we will not tolerate abuse. Responsibility for the solution lies with adults. Parents and teachers cannot become blind bystanders. We must all be taught that violence – emotional or physical – is never acceptable. Finally, we must instill in the next generation the bravery to stand up for themselves, protect their self-worth, and defend others.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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Nomicter said...
Sept. 21, 2012 at 9:17 am:
I think bullying is a stupid thing. I think if someone is being a bullied then they should say something back instead of going home and crying about.
 
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