Let’s Make It Better

Rise and Shine Everyone!

Matthew here. It’s been over 3 weeks since my last blog post. A lot has happened since then. For starters, I’m back in Chennai and the city is HOTTER than ever. And not in a good way. When did Chennai get so bleeding hot? Oh and to make things worse, the electricity board has extended the power-cut schedule from an hour to two!! Isn’t it just the perfect time to be back home??

Anyway, on a less “FUN “note, last night I witnessed something quite shocking! I was driving around my neighbourhood when I saw two boys, probably around the ages of 7 or 8, bullying a younger kid. And I don’t mean just verbally. They each had a stone in their hands and they were aiming it at the kid! Thankfully, no physical damage was done.

But that doesn’t make me feel better at all. In fact it scared me. They were little kids for crying out loud! This isn’t the kind of behaviour you except from them. This just proves the fact that bullying is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, it’s more often than not swept under the rug instead.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “Bullying” (crawl out of your caves please); It is an act of aggression carried out repeatedly and intentionally, through words or actions against a person or a group of people, to cause distress and risk to their well-being.

We’ve all been witnesses to the act of bullying or even been bullied ourselves in some way shape or form in our lives, whether it’s by the jock (or the ‘royal bitch’ for the ladies) in high-school , or an arrogant boss at your workplace, or maybe somebody/ a group in some online social space. You’ve seen them, you know them…and their victims, but what have you done to help? If your answer is, NOTHING, then I’m going to tell you why it can be just as harmful to be a spectator as being the bully.

Bullying is usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless. The reasons could be many. Those who bully persistently are likely to do so in order to dominate others and improve their social status. They may have high self esteem, show little remorse for their behaviour and not see bullying as being morally wrong( or as I’d like to put it best, MORALLY BANKRUPT). Other people may bully out of anger or frustration as they may be struggling socially or could have also been victims of bullying in the past. People get picked on for their dressing sense, physical appearance, sexual orientation; the list can be however long as the bullies want it to be.

And I am sick and tired of people pretending that it doesn’t happen. It does; everywhere. And contrary to what many people think, the victims don’t grow out of it. Many of them don’t even give themselves the chance. Why resort to something that drastic, you ask? Well what would you do if you were made to feel guilty about something that you can’t change about yourself (say you’re dyslexia problem, or the fact that you’re gay etc)? What would you do if you’re friends and family have abandoned you for no fault of your own and you’re forced to endure this humiliation alone? How would you feel if the very thought of walking to school or your workplace or even to the next street made you feel unsafe and afraid? This is what victims of bullying go through, every damn day!

This is probably how Jamey Rodemeyer, the 14 year old victim of anti-gay bullying ,  or Mitchell Wilson, the 11 year old Canadian disabled boy, or Tyler Clementi, former Rutgers University student would have felt like before taking their lives. If you don’t know who these kids are, I request you to please Google them. And the list of suicides due to bullying goes beyond these three. And that is a very scary thought!

Want to help?

There are a gazillion ways in which you can. Spread as much awareness as you can by either talking about it amongst your friends, your social circle or at open forums. Spread awareness using the most powerful tool of recent times, the Internet (Facebook, twitter, blogs etc). Do you know someone who is being bullied? Talk to them. Be their friend. Be that one person they can talk to and help them. Help them get the necessary help from the authorities.

Are you in the media? Try to address the issue on your next T.V show or Radio Show. Do every bit you can to save someone’s life; especially when you know you can.

A Personal message to victims:

Although I can never fully comprehend what you may be going through, I do know it sucks. I’ve been picked on myself. After I came to India, for the first few years I was picked on for having a “firangi” (Amercian) accent. I was never ashamed of it, so I haven’t tried to change it. They got the hint and quit it. I know that it may seem trivial but when every other person you come across starts passing comments on your accent, it does get very annoying. But like I said, I never tried to change to please anybody. And you don’t have to if you don’t want to either. A lot of you may think that it won’t get better, but it will. You just have to hang in there. The phrase time heals all wounds is in fact true. Maybe someday you’d be able to help some other kid who’s going through the exact same thing you experienced. But for that you need to be ALIVE!!

Oh and to the Bullies (especially those irritating Cyber-bullies with really bad English)

Talk is cheap. So if you have nothing nice to say, just Shut The Hell Up!!!

As always feel free to let me know your opinions. Just make sure they don’t come out of your ass LOL

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