By: Vera Suzette Saquian
“Sorry, Mom and Dad, that you’re going to find me like this. I’m sorry, I love you.”, these are last words of the thirteen year old Rosalie Avila’s in her note for her parents before she hanged herself due to bullying last November 28, 2017.
What is bullying really?
It is a repeated and hurtful act that includes name calling, inflicting physical pain, through exclusion and public humiliation, hurtful pranking and defacing one’s property. Bullying involves an imbalance of power, making the victim feel powerless, helpless, hopeless, scared and depressed. Bullying is everywhere, even in social media. Moreover, cyberbullying includes sending mean text messages, e-mails, or instant messages, posting nasty pictures or messages about others in blogs or on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites, using a dummy account to spread rumors to blackmail the bully’s victims.
Bullying is a reality. Rosalie Avila’s case is the evidence of this persisting problem among students in the present generation.
She was a very intelligent and confident girl. Rosalie had big dreams for her future and for her family. She wanted to be a lawyer to defend the victims of injustices. But her dreams, along with her credence, was crushed by the bullies. They tormented her for years by making fun of her braces, her shoes, her clothes—nearly almost everything about her. Others even called her a “loser” and a “wannabe”, and some would call her ugly on her Facebook posts. The bullies even told her to just kill herself, making her lose herself during those nightmarish years before she committed bullycide. Victims like Rosalie ended their lives just to escape their bully’s torments and inexpiable demeanor towards them. These poor victims tend to ask themselves why they have to go through such dire fate. Why do they have to be bullied when they only want to live their normally like everyone does?
Bullying isn’t just an immediate action; it is fueled with inner disequilibrium that has not been processed as these negative emotions develop into behaviour and attitude. A common reason that a kid becomes a bully is because he lacks attention from his parents at home; as a result, he lashes out at others for attention. Some bullies may have went through the same fate with their victims in the past from their classmates, schoolmates, teachers, siblings, parents. A bully’s action is always catalyzed by an antecedent that brought negative impact to him and out of this is observed and learned behavior that makes him desire to dominate, blame and use others. With this, he lacks empathy by putting into action his contempt towards the weak. He perceives the weak as a target to inflict pain.
If bullying normal kids could already cause such catastrophe, what more if these bullies do their terrifying conducts on kids suffering from depression? How does one stand against a bully?
There is always a way.
First, work it out by yourself and do not let your bullies get the best of you. Stop responding to their never-ending torments by truly knowing your value from people who love you. Bullied people suffer from self doubt and self condemnation that is why when these emotional and mental weaknesses are challenged by the bullies, victims easily believe them. It is a hypnosis of sort that one is able to control your perspective. But this can be avoided by understanding who you really are in the lenses of people who value your worth, who protect you with their love and who know your capacities inside out.
However, if the bully does not change his behavior, seek for a support system. Anyone can support you— a classmate, schoolmate or even just a bystander—a person who perceives you valuable will always stand for you. It only takes courage to speak up. For the support system, it may be difficult or even terrifying to stand up against a bully especially when you know that you’ll be at risk as well, but think about what you can do. Think about the life you can save.
This two-way process helps both the bully and the bullied both directly and indirectly. For the bullied, he gets to have the advantage of valuing himself through the support system he can build around him and use this to stand up for himself and others. For the bully, he develops awareness about his wrongdoings that give him an option how to manage or change his ways.
Everyone has a chance to change. It just takes courage though to speak up.