Motivated by Regret

May 24, 2012
There’s nothing quite as painful as remembering the moment you could have made a difference but instead turned a blind eye. When I was in seventh grade, I witnessed bullying at its worst, not physical beatings, but the mental torment inflicted by insecure preteen girls. I turned a blind eye day after day as Amy got bullied, vicious girls drew pictures on whiteboards, magnifying her greatest flaws in the eyes of the bullies that had a toxic effect. Overemphasized acne sprinkled across an exaggerated nose that extended across her face, a low-cut shirt spilling over with tissue paper, hair drawn in tiny, frizzy coils dancing across the board in a mad tangle. The picture was painful to look at, but all anyone did was laugh. The next year, Amy transferred out of my small, 120 student middle school.
In recent years, my attention has been turned to social justice activism, specifically surrounding sexism and bullying. Every time I write a piece about bullying, watch a movie or even see small accounts of it, my mind jumps back three years to Amy. I have devoted hours upon hours to thinking about what causes one to commit such a sick act without a single answer. I try to convince myself it can be justified, insecurity, family problems, but there is no justification for causing someone that kind of pain. When I first read about Phoebe Prince in Seventeen magazine, my heart stopped for a second. I had never felt so personally connected to another girl’s story like I did Phoebe’s. But what I didn’t realize at the time was how many others there were out there, just like Phoebe, who had taken their own lives due to bullying. My ears have grown tired of hearing one Superintendent after the next saying, “no, I do not believe that is an issue in our district” or “that is a situation we can not control” or “we’ll do what we can”, when nothing is getting done. I have heard more about teen suicides related to bullying on the news in the past two years than I have at any other given time, and we can’t afford to lose any more lives to this issue. We can’t let bullying win, so I have a proposal. Peer to peer, discuss the danger surrounding bullying, create a network of students around the world to travel and engage kids in a global conversation about bullying. We will raise awareness and provide support for all the kids who are being bullied, letting them know that there are people out there who love and care about them. I know I’m not the only person out there who is passionate about putting an end to this, so if you too are passionate about ending bullying, help me in educating the world about this issue and putting an end to unnecessary loss of lives from an avoidable issue.

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