Bullying: Real threat, not a myth

Every year nearly 38 thousand people die by suicide (AFSP). That’s about 105 people every day that will be losing their lives (AFSP). Among people between ages 15 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death (AFSP). According to a study performed by Yale University, bulling victims are two to nine times more likely to consider suicide; a study in Britain showed that half the suicides in young people are caused by bullying; and 160,000 people stay home from school every day to avoid being bullied in school (bullyingstatistics.org). Bullying has become a bigger issue in recent years with the rise of technology access and the several changes in society that come with new generations.

Bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance” (stopbullying.gov). While this definition specifically points out children, it also happens in high school and college, and will continue throughout peoples adult lives. Some behaviors seen as bullying include verbal abuse (is, name calling, insults, threats, taunting or teasing, and inappropriate comments), physical abuse (ie, hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, hand gestures, and breaking of personal possessions), and the most recent addition to this group is cyber abuse, or cyberbullying (ie, anonymous messages via apps, constant IMs, messages, or emails, posting offensive statuses, and posting inappropriate or embarrassing photos). Due to the rise in access to technology, cyberbullying is the most prominent issue in today’s society.

The issue with bullying is that it really does make people think about or actually carry out the act of suicide. Recently, Amanda Todd as I’m sure most of you have heard killed herself over bullying in school. Reports say that she suffered from severe depression, anxiety, and panic disorders. These reports also say that they were the cause of bullying. While the bullying may have been brought on by the bad decision to show her breasts on the internet and have sex with someone else’s boyfriend, the bullying itself was unnecessary. Bullying is more severe than most people realize. I can understand getting mad over your boyfriend cheating on you, but taking it out so severely on another person is, in my opinion, insane. People don’t realize the effects of bullying until it’s too late. In high school, I was severely bullied. It got to the point that the girls who were bullying me threatened my life and the police almost had to be involved. The whole situation had a major effect on me mentally, making the depression I was already suffering from even worse and even made me consider suicide. Bullying, like I said, has extreme effects on people. While more studies have been conducted to help prove this, while it’s been a frequent news topic, while it’s has more information brought to the public’s attention, the issue still unfortunately exists. It even exists among adults, as I’ve witnessed recently. It is sad to see these things still happening despite how frequently people die because of it.

There are many things you can do to stop bullying. If you see it happening, intervene. Humans are naturally affected by the Bystander Effect where if there are more people around, you’re less likely to intervene in a situation. It is your job to overcome that Effect and help the bullying victim who is in need. Another thing you can do, if you know someone is being bullied, you can report it to school authorities, give them your support, and provide bullying support telephone line numbers. It is up to us to stop this issue from becoming even worse than it already is. Before someone close to us become another one of those whose lives are lost because of it.