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Michael Morones was a young man, aged just 11 years old, who was so distressed at the bullying he was subjected to, he attempted suicide. The catalyst for his bullies was his love of My Little Pony – a toy and TV franchise they deemed ‘gay’.
Because of this bullying, that young boy will be left with permanent brain damage.
Now I speak out to these bullies, as well as their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, and anyone else reading, when I say this has to stop. What might seem like harmless childish fun could actually result in tragedy.
With a rise in the number of children accessing social media, I can’t help but feel severe empathy for those who are bullied via such sites. As a child who was bullied, at least my torment was left at school. In today’s society we are so desensitised by daily negativity, by schadenfreude and ridicule that passes for entertainment, that it almost seems normal to some to pursue this for entertainment.
Growing up I knew I wasn’t like all the other boys. I got giddy over Barbie and I wanted desperately to have my very own fashion wheel. Having extremely supportive and non-judgmental parents, I was allowed to explore this side of my personality. As I’ve matured I’ve realised that playground bullies never change their ways and this same narrow-mindedness is often transferred onto their children. This is not to chastise all parents, but I firmly believe that parents in some instances are accountable for how their children turn out.
Bullying is just one way we, as a society, reject those who are different. It is a way of exerting and abusing one’s power, perhaps, to make up for slights made against you – or else simply for cruel fun. This ignorance can be passed from parents onto children and often stifles the individual’s natural ability to embrace anything out of their comfort zone.
Bullying should not be tolerated and more needs to be done to end it. Simply acknowledging it, as most schools do, yet not implementing any procedures to challenge it allows victims to slip through the net.
At school, I very often recall not only myself but others suffering at the hands of bullying, and yet nothing was done about it. Hanging around in corridors or hiding in toilets, because you’re too scared you’ll either be physically or mentally abused? School is very brutal and not all like an American high school musical. It’s more Heathers than The Breakfast Club.
At a time where teens are finding themselves and developing, bullying can have long-lasting effects. I would urge any child in the same situation to tell someone, and never be made to feel insignificant and dismissed, like I was.
The depth of my anger surrounding bullying is limitless. I often upset myself at just how cruel our society can be. Individuals can’t be themselves without taunts or cruel jibes and this is a problem. Whether you’re black, white, Asian, gay, straight, we all live one life and no one escapes the wonderful journey of life alive, so why introduce so much negativity for the sake of patching up your own insecurities?
To the bullies, I would say: instead of reaching out for an easy target to abuse, look to yourself and ask why exactly you have so much anger. What is it that makes you need to bully others? What are you unhappy about? Do you enjoy what you do? And if so, why? Doesn’t it make you feel ashamed?
My bullying led to a very low self-esteem for a number of years and feelings of negativity towards my body. It’s no surprise that this led to a 10-year battle with anorexia, and for what, exactly? Just because a few comments were made about me? Well, frankly, yes – because words do carry meaning and engrave themselves deep into a victim’s memory.
I’ve made my peace with myself and with my bullies. But not everyone gets to be so lucky. Bullying can end in loss of life – and this breaks my heart. We cannot carry on in a society that encourages bullying – whether it’s in the workplace or school. Any form of bigotry and hatred should be stopped.
I’m fully aware this situation isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, but more should be done to reveal the true effects bullying can have. Maybe showing the young people of today the possible effects of bullying might ignite their compassions and help them see the effects their words and actions can have. Meanwhile, we as adults must remain vigilant, and intervene when our children and the children in our care bully others.
To anyone who is being bullied in work or school: please seek help and talk to someone. You don’t have to suffer alone. We are all perfect in our own way, and the more we believe it, the less likely bullying will catch us in its clutches