Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jennifer Murgia's Story

It’s 2011. Man has evolved over centuries. Socializing has evolved over decades. Things should be different. Are they?

When it comes to bullying, I’m afraid they are not.

You would think bullying to be a thing of the past, but I’m afraid it’s only gotten worse. People are brazen, feeling they have good cause to take things out on others. Kids are bullied on playgrounds. Teens are cornered in bathrooms. Words are ugly, threats are made and the end result is a person left shaking because they feel they don’t know what to do. It happens to many of us at one time or another, and is very real.

I’m writing this post because I happen to know a sweet, promising, intelligent girl who faces being bullied every day. She’s taunted by a group of peers she believed to be her closest friends. She’s scared. She’s on the brink of trying to understand the motives behind their verbal attacks while praying those attacks don’t become physical. It’s disrupting her life. She faces this alone – but in reality, she is anything but alone. Many, myself included, have been taunted, teased, ridiculed and humiliated at one point in our lives. You never know when a peer will turn on you. You may never know why.

But I do know that you can stop it.

Tell someone; anyone who has the authority to make a difference: a parent, a family member,  teacher or guidance counselor. The more people you make aware of the situation the better. Extra sets of eyes and ears should never be turned away.

In most cases, bullies choose to pick on someone because they feel threatened by them in some way and it makes them feel better to bring that person down. They often go on to be bullies throughout adulthood, thinking they can still push people around. On the other end of the spectrum, the ones who are bullied usually end up making their dreams come true, because they focus their time and energy on what’s important in life.

Ignoring is hard. Sure, trying to close eyes to someone threatening you is no easy task. It might make the bullying worse but soon enough, that bully won’t succeed. They won’t break you. They will see you’re strong and move on once you stand up for yourself. Grab help when it’s offered, and if it isn’t don’t ever be afraid to ask.

I don’t know if this will help my friend, I can only hope. I know firsthand that fighting this is easier said than done but it’s worth it, and she’ll get through. Just like you.

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