My heart sank as I read a post on FB from a teen I know. The words she wrote were clear, poignant, and upsetting. In a few words, she exclaimed that kids at school had called her horrible names, avoided or bumped into her in the hallways or teased her unmercifully. The comments her friends posted either encouraged her feelings of despondency by agreeing that life was worthless or wrote bland statements like “sorry.”
I was outraged when I read the responses, and I immediately got in touch with her mother. The child and her family meant a lot to me. I was not going to stand by and shrug my shoulders. This could send her into a spiral of depression or worse. I dreaded the call, but as soon as I began talking the mother shut me down politely, stating she saw the email and was all over it. That’s my kind of mom.
A few days later, my granddaughter who is almost 15-years-old sent out a FB “share” on the topic of bullying. I was so proud of her and immediately shared the post, hoping people would also share it with their friends.
Two weeks later, a teen in my area committed suicide. Rumor spread that it was from incessant bullying at school and on social media. The incident left me feeling numb. If it was bullying, I kept wondering if the teen had suffered in silence or spoke and no one had listened. This line of thinking can weigh heavy on your heart.
Pacer Center writes, “One out of every 4 students report being bullied during a school year. Sixty-four percent of children who were bullied did not report it, only 36% reported the bullying.” (www.bullyingstatistics.org)
The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming. Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.
Focus on the Family, a Christian based organization, has an extensive article on bullying. It is packed with information that will help you or someone you know to deal with this societal crisis. Please check it out on:
Bullying is offensive. It is an act of hatred. Bullying has created new words that cause my soul to bristle in disbelief. Bullycide (term used when someone being bullied commits suicide) and cyberbullying (FB and social media threats and condemnations) are just two. It’s wrong and has to be understood that it is a violent act and has to be stopped.
Now I have to confess the other tragedy of bullying. It doesn’t just happen to children, it happens to adults, too. Yes, adults.
I happened to share this story with a group of women I’m friends with. While the majority said people made too much of the subject and it was a child thing, two women in our group dropped their head and pulled their hands into their laps. Noticing this, I asked the more outspoken one what she thought about the subject. Taking a deep breath before speaking, she admitted she had been bullied at her workplace. She said she put up with it for 2 years before leaving the job and taking a lower paying one.
The second lady, who had been listening intently, spoke up saying she too had been bullied as an adult. This time by a sister-in-law who began spreading hurtful things about her at church. It got so stressful and upsetting that she and her husband left their home church and joined another one out of town. Neither of these ladies knew the other’s story, but as they began to talk about the effects of biting comments and tacky maneuvers, you could see them begin to heal. At the end of the meeting, we all prayed for them to lay their burden at the foot of the Cross and allow the power of Jesus Christ to heal their wounded spirits.
One thing we have to emphasize to the victim of bullying is that they are never alone. Kari Jobe has a beautiful song out called “I Am Not Alone.” What a comfort to know we have a Mighty God who is with us always. Please check out Kari’s song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA
Let me add that scripture is imperative. It wraps its tentacles of love around a child or adult who have dealt with the hurt of bullying. Saying scripture over a situation can diminish its effects.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
Pray for the victims of bullying and the ones who bully. Both are in desperate need. Prepare yourself with knowledge, so you can give sound advice and assistance when needed. Don’t stand by and delude yourself that this is merely a child experience or that it’s not ruthless in its effect.
God bless you!