In their need to fit in, to compartmentalize, and a sickening desire to want to monstrasize, did multiple groups of individuals forget our common humanity? Did they forget that they shared the same humanity as Amanda Todd, the 15 year old girl from British Columbia whose life was ended by suicide this past week?
When did the tipping point begin where so many in our society went from looking out for one another to degrading another to feel superior? When did self-gratification replace integrity and compassion for another human being? When did the hierarchy take over where a perception of some people become less and others more?
I myself need to be careful not to fall into this trap. A thought provoking Ted talk by Elyn Saks titled ‘A tale of mental illness — from the inside,’ reminds me that I need to proceed with caution in what I think and do so that I do not compartmentalize the mental illness my husband struggled with, or allow him to be solely defined by that one dimension that complicated so many areas of his life. As Saks states in her talk, “…the humanity that we all share is more important than the mental illness we may not.” For Amanda Todd, the humanity we all shared was more important than any vulnerability that made her prey to harassment. We must not forget our common humanity.
I am afraid that many have though. I am afraid that many in the rising generation are insecure, undisciplined and neglected and that they will join the wrong crowd just to be in a family that accepts and acknowledges them.
Do you remember the holocaust? By the evidence of Ray Comfort’s 180 documentary interviews it seems many younger individuals have never heard of Hitler or the holocaust. That’s incomprehensible to me. In the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” If you are not aware of the atrocities of the holocaust and other wars that prey on vulnerable populations, do your research. Then ask yourself, “Do I support the bully, the ruthless dictator, or am I the (sometimes lone) hero who stands up for what’s right, speaks up on behalf of the oppressed, and defends the weak?” Anyone’s life can change in an instant. How difficult is it to imagine oneself in another persons shoes, and if we’re able to do that ask ourselves, ‘What would I hope someone would do for me?”
In Comfort’s 180 documentary he poses a question at the 10:20 mark. It’s an extreme question but basically the scenario is that if someone asked you to take another persons life to save your own, would you do it? Many people, nice people, answered “yes.” Let me ask this another way. If you and the life of your family depended on it, what would you hope someone would do to protect you?
Lessons learned in the playground are training camps for the future. What kind of future leaders are there going to be?
Did you know that, “bullying stops in less than 10 seconds, 57% of the time when someone intervenes on behalf of the victim – (Craig & Pepler, 1997)”
“Children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in a cyberbullying incident.” Cyberbullying ~ Wikipedia
According to The Family Resource Facilitation Program, “In one study, 120 hours of video surveillance in Toronto schools showed that in over 20% of bullying, peers actively reinforced bullying by physically or verbally joining in the aggression. In 54% of cases, they reinforced the bully by watching but not joining in. In only 25% of cases did peers support the victim.”
Every action and non-action is a choice and carries a consequence. We are all accountable for what we see and what we do. Doing nothing is still a choice and it feeds the monster that is harassment.
Amanda Todd was both bullied and cyberbullied.
In the 2011 movie Cyberbully there was a scene near the end where a few girls who originally broke apart due to bullying, stood up to the bully in the end. The bully backed down. That’s lesson number 1. Lesson number two was the advice to “draw attention to it.” That was another tool to stop bullying and bring about change.
How can we alter the future instead of repeating our past?
Anyone who stands by a bully, is a bully, or hides behind a false identity in cyberspace to conceal who they are so they can bring harm to another person is responsible, accountable, active. But anyone who stands up to a bully, validates the victim, seeks justice and protects our shared humanity, they are the heroes of the story.
“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 Bible (KJV)