I saw the movie Bully. Leaving the theater, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. The youngest child to commit suicide as a result of being bullied was 11 years old. Eleven. It is also my experience that the incidence of bullying is increasing, involving both a greater number of children and much younger children. It is estimated that 13 million children each year are victims of bullying. The movie also highlights just how vicious it’s gotten. Children are humiliated, shunned, kicked, punched and choked. Their possessions are stolen or damaged. Bullying is no longer confined to hallways, playgrounds, and school busses, as now online bullying follows children everywhere. Facebook, text messages, and Twitter hugely expand the audience for a child’s humiliation. I would think that a climate that supports bullying starts in the public square, a place where our governor calls a Navy Seal who disagrees with him an “idiot”, or Rush calls a law student who disagrees with him a “slut”. Characters on “Real World” are rejected and demeaned for sport; the “Housewives” scream, hit, throw things. Rather than heeding the universal maxim to love your neighbor, religious groups act like the popular group at school, deciding who is in and who is out. When bullying is minimized as kids will be kids, it reminds me that adults are not always adults. Nearly 300 years ago Edmund Burke wrote “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to keep silent”.
This was a really important post – unfortunately this seems to be a topic that gets brushed under the rug too often. It is hard to think about but I agree we all need to really focus on making it stop. Thanks as always!
John K says
Breaking the silence
Standing for the truth you tell
Moves us past fear’s clench.
Our communal responsibility requires all of us to speak up and stand up. Silence kills.