Bully – Powerful, On So Many Levels

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When I first learned that this movie was being released, a part of my heart sank.  I have a daughter that was mercilessly bullied at the hands of a group of girls in her Catholic elementary school.  I was dismissed by school administration on numerous occasions with regard to my daughter, told that it wouldn’t be fair to single out individual children.  Until that child was my daughter, and she took a stand for herself.

I didn’t know if I wanted to see what COULD have happened if we hadn’t found Eilis another school and given her a chance to get out of the situation she was in.  I wasn’t sure I could handle the pain of the other children, or the parents of these other children, going through something that would not only hit close to home, but would land right in my living room.

But I had to.  And you have to.

Bully takes us through the experiences of several children who have suffered at the hands of bullies.  You will feel their pain, and you will see the anguish of their parents.  When you realize that the happy little boy the film opens with has taken his own life as a result of the routine bullying he was a victim of, you will feel your heart breaking, your stomach turning, and I dare you to get through the rest of this film without cleaning your handbag out of tissues.

You won’t find solutions in this film, but you will find a jumping off point.  Important for children, parents, school administrators and staff, even coaches and scout leaders to see, the movie doesn’t solve the problem of bullying, but it opens up a dialogue for us to step up and figure out what to do to save these children.  It is time for us to take a stand, and while the movie doesn’t give us all the answers, I hope that it gives us the  motivation.

Bully is the first REAL stand for these children who suffer, some to the point where the pain they bear becomes overwhelming.  It puts this problem on the map, in our faces, and hopefully on the top of the priority list of school administrators who are too quick to brush this aside.

See Bully this weekend, and see it with your child, whether they have been bullied, are bullies, or have the potential to make a difference in the life of a peer who accepts silently the treatment that will cause lifelong emotional scars.  It’s a movie that no one should miss.

Bullying in Demi Lovato’s Past May Have Led To Her Present Issues

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Did bullying lead Demi Lovato to cutting and an eating disorder? I am truly sad for her.

On this morning’s news, they reported that Demi Lovato had checked herself into an inpatient therapeutic treatment center for “physical and emotional” issues.  They went on to elaborate that she MAY be seeking treatment for cutting herself and for an eating disorder.

It’s not news that Hollywood puts tremendous pressure on young people to conform to a certain standard – a standard which is unrealistic by any stretch of the imagination.  Perfect hair, skin and teeth that all sit atop a perfect body.

But they alluded to the fact that Demi’s condition may not have begun since one of Disney’s Pop Princesses became famous.  Demi was one of those kids mercilessly bullied as she was growing up, and that may have contributed to her current issues.

Look at this kid, will ya?

What the hell could someone find to bully her about?  Gorgeous hair, perfect smile, beautiful skin – this is a dark haired version of a Barbie Doll.  She’s beautiful!

I applaud her for recognizing the need for treatment – and for not bowing to what must have been incredible pressure to stay on her current Jonas Brothers tour.  Let’s hope that the help she gets now keeps her out of the trouble that befalls not only so many other young celebrities, but also the fate that many bullied young people succumb to.

Get well, Demi.

Bullies – They’re Not Who You Think They Are

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So, Eilis came in from school today quite upset. In school, two little girls handed out invitations to the other girls for their upcoming birthday party. Eilis was the only girl in the class who was not the recipient of an invitation, and despite assurances from one of the girls that they just “forgot” her invitation, she was hurt. Because Eilis has been the victim of bullies before, and this sort of felt like bullying.

Now, truth be told, this was an accident. The mom to one of the girls was kind enough to call me and explain that the invitation was misplaced when it was pulled aside to make sure the name was correctly spelled. This was a simple misunderstanding, but the defenses were already up.

Because this is what you think of when you think of a bully

It’s always the bigger kid, picking on the little kid.  We have this vision in our heads that bullies came in big, burly packages.

But they don’t always.  When the group of girls at your daughter’s lunch table stands their lunch boxes up in front of them, then tells your daughter it’s because they don’t want to have to see her while they eat, that’s bullying.  Or when they make fun of your daughter on dollar dress down day because her clothes aren’t as hip or contemporary as their’s, that’s bullying.

And those bullies look more like this

They’re the kids that don’t want your kid in their games.  They whisper about her behind her back – or they whisper about something else right in front of her.

They make your kid feel less than she’s worth.

And no matter what we do to prevent bullying, no matter what threats the schools make to punish the bullies, they’re still going to be there.

Because some people just can’t accept that other people are different.  No matter what the differences are.

In our case, this time, it was a simple misunderstanding.  But it isn’t always that way.

Sometimes, it’s just genuine hurt.