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When All You Hear Is Black Noise

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I cannot say anything, not really. Adults tell us that kids are cruel, so a lot of us just learn to accept the cruelty and roll with the punches. We learn to get used to hearing about jocks and popular kids who give the geeks wedgies, shove the nerds into dumpsters, trample over someone’s glasses, post degrading pictures of rejects on the Internet, and so on. But I don’t feel as though I can say anything.
I have not been physically assaulted or verbally attacked, my locker has not been bashed in or plastered with demeaning stickers, and no one ever stole my lunch money.
Yet, I have experienced silence.
Bullying is turning into an art – it uses sneaky, subtle ways to save the oppressed by turning them into the oppressors. Traditional types of bullying – fist fights, name calling, etc. – are almost easier to accept because they can be reduced down to a formula. The world has seen so much of these kinds of bullying that it can comfortably offer victims solutions to their problems: fight back if you have the strength, or walk away if you have the self-control.
But victims of “silent” bullying can’t fight or walk away from something they cannot see. No one can call out bullies who are using the power of mind games and psychological torture to target their victims because “it is all in your head.”
I remember times when my peers would read off a list of those invited to an upcoming party and deliberately skip over my name; when my classmates would cast disapproving looks in my direction because I did not care about fashion and chose to wear the same jacket every time it got chilly; when I would eat my lunch while leaning against a wall because none of the cliques would acknowledge my presence when I asked to sit with them; when I would not use Halloween as an excuse to dress inappropriately and those who did would literally run in the opposite direction when they saw me.
Silent bullies may not even know that they are victimizing people like me, but they have to understand that they are singling someone out. They have to know that the moment they chose not to say anything, they chose to communicate that that someone was not worth their time or attention. They have to realize that these unspoken messages could destroy a life.
That is why silence possesses an unspoken power. Its abusers do not say anything because they live in denial, and its victims cannot say anything because nothing is there. But there is the unmistakable presence, the undeniable existence of something that is there – a black noise that seeps into a person’s world and drowns out the sound of empathy and hope. And the saddest part is that among all of this black noise, it only takes one voice to say something – one voice to break the silence and leave it in the dust, forever.





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