Worry: increasing “popularity” of bullycide?
Yesterday afternoon, when I wrote the post about Cassidy Andel, I thought we only had 30 bullying suicides that we knew of..that had been documented. This morning already it appears we have one more. Just as it was last Spring, it’s feeling like “Another Day, Another Bullying Death.”
But this latest rash of deaths has me even more worried. It appears that there are not only more of them, but they are coming in clusters. Maybe it’s because we are more sensitive to the issue and it’s more on the forefront of our minds, but I’m concerned we are starting to see this epidemic take on a different trend…
And that is, that the kids see these bullying suicides and think “Hey, that’s an easy way out for me. No one is doing anything to help me anyway, so this is a way to make the pain stop.”
I realize this topic has loads of potential for mis-interpretation so let me tread carefully and try to explain. In many cases these kids have endured months, even years, of horrific bullying. In some cases, it’s cyberbullying, in others it’s the low-tech kind. And, I know that many experts will argue that these kids had some sort of underlying pathology (whether physiological or psychological/emotional) that already pre-disposed them to suicidal tendencies. I’m not going to comment on that because I am not an expert in this area.
What I do know is that each of these young people felt powerless to stop the bullying, they felt they weren’t getting adequate help, and they had no expectation that it was going to get any better.
When these kids finally take steps to end the bullying — and their lives — the result is a kind of martyrdom. Their pictures are splashed in the media; often vigils are held in their memory. Their deaths galvanize so many of us and there is significant widespread outcry about the horrific circumstances that brought us all to this place.
In no way do I mean this all to be conscious “publicity-seeking” on the parts of the victims, but it is a predictable aftermath of the suicide — particularly if the victim was “driven” to it by bullying. For the teen or younger child who thinks there’s nothing better left for them, perhaps they feel that “At least they’ll be sorry when I”m gone.”
I don’t want kids to see this as a way out. I want them to know that we are working to keep them safe, to make this stop. I don’t think that a message of “It Gets Better” is going to be of much solace to a child who is being mercilessly picked on or hounded to the point of suicide. They’ll look at our President and many other celebs who are saying “It Gets Better” and they’ll think “yeah, easy for YOU to say.” And the reality is, “it” isn’t going to miraculously get better on its own. The phrase itself is so passive — it implies that there’s no action required, that “it” will just somehow solve itself.
With 31 deaths (it’s likely already gone up as I write this), on the books already, we know “it” isn’t getting any better. The clock is ticking, and with it another child who is debating whether there’s any hope or if this is “all there is.”