The other day I was invited to speak to a college class that was completing their master program on Conflict Resolution. I was honored to be able to speak to them on the issue of bullying as they are studying to become people who can and I hope will make a difference in this issue. We talked about many issues around the bullying problem and some were even unaware of what Cyberbullying was.
I shared with them videos from the “It Gets Better” campaign on YouTube and shared some of the positives as well. It was really a great session of sharing and talking about the issue with a group that was both compassionate and also eager to learn and hear about the issue.
But today, yet another story of Bullycide has made the news. Jamey Rodemeyer was only 14 years old and was one of the teens who created an “It Gets Better” video on YouTube. He was struggling with his sexuality and dealing with young people who bullied him daily. He found himself relating to Lady GaGa and her messages and lyrics. But, for him, he did not find the strength to really believe it would get better. For him the bullying seemed never-ending. He is not alone. From a report by the Center for Disease Control, teen suicide is still a large issue in the U.S. More than 35,000 suicides were reported in the United States in 2008, and of those cases nearly 4,400 these were young people ages of 10 and 24.
So Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life, even with all the work that was done for the “It Gets Better” campaign to give hope to those younger folks dealing with bullying in their lives. He still had to deal with constant bullying and just couldn’t wait for it to get better. Unfortunately he, and many like him, cannot find the light that will be at the end of the tunnel and don’t feel that those around them can protect them. It is always very sad and, in this case, just a bit sadder because of the videos he shared and the hope for him that did not come true.
Last night, Anderson Cooper covered this story in a lengthy piece, highlighting the continuing issue of bullying and trying to help find resolutions so we don’t have to read about another Bullycide victim. Below is the video for you to watch and share: