A close friend recently recommended that I should check out “Gawker,” a popular blog she frequents often. Although I’m normally skeptical of most blogs, I was so grateful that I took her advice and explored the site. While looking through it, one post particularly caught my eye, entitled “Bullied Teen Shares Story of Pain and Perseverance on Online Video.” Attached to the article is the YouTube video a teenage boy, Jonah Mowry, posted in order to share a troubling story of his life filled with bullying. One of the most moving and emotional videos I’ve seen to date, I encourage anyone and everyone to watch it. It will not only strengthen your sympathy towards victims of bullying, but also show you the bravery found in a select few kids who are able to rise about the bullying and refuse to let it bring them down.
Through various notecards, Jonah openly shares with us his heartbreaking story of being bullied since the second grade, leading to the self-destructive act of cutting himself and often times considering suicide. The constant taunts and remarks, such as “gay,” “fag,” “dick,” “douche,” and “homo,” eventually lead him to these thoughts:
“A lot of people hate me. I don’t know why. But I guess I do, because I kind of hate me, too.”
How a young boy, as young as 7 or 8, grows up with such pain of hating himself, is unimaginable to me. It’s disturbing to me that it gets to the point where Jonah is afraid to go to school.
Towards the end of the video, it sheds a morsel of light upon the situation. It leaves a tiny glimpse of hope that optimistically more kids, like Jonah, might be brave enough to realize that life is worth living and although its tough, one must persevere through the ignorant bullying. This lesson is not clear to the thousands of victims worldwide who succumb to suicide because of bullying, and in turn led to the new term: “Bullycide.”
It has been said that:
“Bullying and harassment have traditionally been considered rites of passage… This is a myth. It has only been in the past 20 years or so that bullying and harassment have received international attention, in large part due to the children who commit suicide as a result of being a victim of relentless bullying.”
In society today, 1 in 6 gay teens is beaten so badly during adolescence that he requires medical attention. If that statistic doesn’t shock you, not much will. How did society today evolve into one where bullying is so freely expected. Where it is a normal day-to-day activity to shove an innocent boy into a locker? Maybe it is the agencies and structurism in which we live that give home to such bullying. Schools, often the institution home to most bullying, do put efforts to support anti-bullying campaigns, though sometimes that is not enough.
By using the constructionist theory, the key to understanding bullying and tackling it, is in seeing it in connection with cultural symbols available to pupils and adults. On one extreme of he constructionist spectrum, is the solution of abolishing schools stands, as it is in the nature of such institutions to breed bullying. In more serious note, educationalists should look at cultural resources available, which offer alternative ways of dealing with daily pressures. Either way, the issue of bullying has reached new levels. Not all kids will be as lucky as Jonah to survive daily taunts, and it is our job to put an end to it.
I urge all of you to watch Jonah Mowry’s video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRXjqpfOnS0