Last week our nation was rocked by a series of tragic events. Within a matter of a week, five students – all under the age of 20 – took their lives because they were bullied due to their sexual preferences. While no words can express the sorrow we all feel after hearing about these events, the BringChange2Mind team wants to extend our deepest condolences to the families of those that were lost last week.
Each of these men endured hardships that most of us can’t begin to imagine. They were tormented because of their sexuality, their privacy was breached and their lives were destroyed by people who didn’t understand them. Sadly, when they felt that there was no hope left they ended their misery by taking their lives. What they didn’t know was that there was hope. There was love. There were people who cared deeply about them.
One fact is very clear in all of this. We are in the midst of an epidemic of bullying. Kids as young as 5 are the victims of bullying that can continue all the way up through college and in the work place. While some are able to endure and cope with the daily pain that comes with being the victim of bullying, others are not. The saddest part about this epidemic is that it’s 100% preventable. We can prevent it.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It has lingered and been begrudgingly tolerated in the hallways and jungle gyms of our school systems for decades. It often happens right under our noses – in our front yards and in the streets of our neighborhoods. But we need to recognize that the big difference between today’s bullying, and the bullying of the past, is that bullies now use technology to tear apart their victims. This form of bullying can be far reaching and devastating. Bullies torment their victims on Instant Messenger, Facebook, and MySpace. Some go as far as posting indecent photographs and videos of their victims on social media sites. These avenues of bullying were not available in the past.
Thankfully, among all these tragedies, there is hope and help available for those in need. Love Is Louder was created by actress Brittany Snow, The Jed Foundation and MTV with support from Active Minds, Ad Council, DoSomething.org, Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love is Not Abuse, Reach Out, STOMP Out Bullying, The Trevor Project, To Write Love on Her Arms and Wired Safety.
The Love Is Louder movement strives to amplify the momentum of other inspiring online campaigns and invite anyone who has felt mistreated, misunderstood or isolated, into conversation. They are here to raise the volume around a critical message — that love and support is more powerful than the external and internal voices that bring us down, cause us pain and make us feel hopeless.
After these truly disturbing events, it is so important to support one another. The growing negativity within our society stemming from abuses such as bullying might seem more powerful than the “good” in our society. We are here to say that’s not true, and our BC2M community of over 14,000 tells us that.
There is more good than evil in this world. There are more shoulders to lean on than there are bullies in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. If you can’t find someone to talk to, remember you can turn to your fellow BC2M supporters or seek help through our Response Team. Never hesitate to ask someone for a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold as you walk toward help.
~ The BringChange2Mind Team