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Be a Bully

Over the past fifteen years, the topic of bullying has moved from taboo to cliché, for lack of a better word. Everywhere one turns, social media, movies, books, absolutely everywhere there is a story about the bullied, bullies, and bullying. Unless one lives under a rock for the majority of one’s life, one hears continuous stories about the effects of bullying, has been given numerous lessons on how to deal with it and hears lectures about not being a bully. Maybe one even participated in Bullying Awareness Projects and helped preach the word of bullying for a day or two, but has anything really changed?

We are a society that is over-aware and under-active. Here are the facts: “1 out of 4 kids are bullied” and “over 30% of teenagers have been involved in bullying,” yet bullying still continues, bystanders don’t speak up and bullies remain unpunished, in many situations. We have the ability to help, but only five percent actually does. Everyone, at one point or another in his or her lives has or will experience bullying. Many incidents lead to depression, suicide and, more recently common, revengeful violence. Despite the statistics, stories and school assemblies, no one seems to want to make a change until it affects them, their friends or their families.
Do not turn bullying into a joke. Recently, the term has been thrown around lightly as if it is something that no longer happens or is no longer a serious matter. In actuality it happens too often and is too often overlooked or handled incorrectly. Speak up and keep talking until you are listened to and the bullying stops.
When I asked students at my school what they felt about bullying, many of them shrugged it off or said, “No comment,” showing the indifference commonly present when discussing bullying. When I finally found people who cared enough to have a comment, what they said really embodied the right viewpoint about bullying, and it was what I expected everyone’s response to have been. A seventh grader told me “ Bullies are obviously insecure—finding another person’s misery entertaining.” A true statement, until thrown into the mix are people that bully without knowing they are bullies, and victims that don’t publicly victimize themselves. Bullying is not always as it’s portrayed on TV or in movies; it’s any purposeful attack against someone’s integrity or personality in any way. A friend of mine had a similar viewpoint and told me, “To bully someone is to take away their self-pride and ability to feel comfortable in their environment. It takes a very corrupt mind to do this to another individual.” It is this stripping someone of their self-pride and making them uncomfortable in any environment that truly makes bullying so horrific. Not only does it scar them for life, but it also confiscates their constitutional rights to freedom and liberty, which are defined as “the freedom to think or act without being constrained by necessity or force.” A person that feels vulnerable in their environment will not “act without [feeling] constrain[ed]...” and does not feel “free to think or act…”
A famous quote by Martin Niemöller goes as follows; “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist…Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” Don’t wait until it’s you or someone close to you; if you see something say something, whether it’s online or in person. In many cases, whether someone speaks up or not is based on their relationship with the victim or the bully, but that shouldn’t be the reason. Speak up based on the situation. Instead of weighing your response on your relationship with the person or being indifferent, think of someone else for once; put yourself in their shoes. Be selfless; it is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Originally the word bully was used in describing a “sweetheart” or a kind-hearted selfless person. Be a Bully, not the “bully” of this century but the one from those before it. We must not sit around talking and expect something to change. To make a change you must be the change, sitting around doing the same things over and over will not give you different results, expecting it to do so is Einstein’s definition of insanity. Over centuries the meaning of the word bully has changed dramatically, but our attitudes toward it should reflect its prior meaning.




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