According to the Center for Disease Control statistics, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year . Among these statistics, it’s also been found that bullying victims are between 2-9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. While there is no hard and fast number for bullycide, because not everyone leaves a note, we know that there are many victims every year. Autumn shared her story about this issue below with a strong message for everyone to read. I hope you do and share with those that need to hear her powerful words. ~Alan Eisenberg
Back in 8th grade, my friend Alexis and I made friends with one of our other friends neighbors. His name was Dan. Everyone saw him as a loser because he had a bad past from being in and out of Juvenile School, and be and ex drug addict. But, he turned out to be a really cool kid.
One of my friends, Tyler, was really good friends with him. In fact, they were like brothers. They were together almost everyday. If it wasn’t at the park, it was at the mall or somewhere else that they would be able to hangout. It was kind of scary how much time they spent together sometimes. It almost seemed as if they were actually related. In the month of September, in 9th grade I started dating Tyler for the second time. The first time I dated him was in 8th grade, but that’s besides the point.
I’ll never forget forget my tennis match on September 12, 2011. I had just finished my match, and I was waiting for the other girls to finish when I decided to log into Facebook. Not expecting anything out of the ordinary, such as girls relationship status’ changing and just seeing what people were doing on that day, I came to a very odd post. It was “R.I.P. Dan. You’ll be forever remember.”
It was just posted a minute before I saw it, so thinking of the first Dan I knew, I immediately thought of my friend Dan. Praying it wasn’t him as the page loaded, I think some sweat ran down my forehead and my heart sped up to an unbearable heartbeat.
As soon as it loaded, I immediately scrolled down to the posts. In fact, it was Dan. My friend. My boyfriends brother. My friends neighbor. My Dan. I couldn’t believe it. As tears started streaming down my face of confusion and disbelief, my friend Mackenna came over to me asking me the immediate question “what’s wrong?”
I looked at her for about five second without even having and answer. I tried talking but all I could get out was a faint noise before more and more tears started streaming. I showed her my phone and she stared in disbelief before taking from my hand to take in the news.
More and more people asked what had happened, and I had to have Mackenna tell them because I was unable to talk without crying. I immediately texted Alexis to tell her what had happened and she didn’t believe me at first and thought I was playing some sick and twisted joke. I told her she had to check Facebook. After checking her Facebook, she called me in disbelief crying and asking why things like this happen. I really didn’t know how to reply to a question like that, not knowing the answer myself.
My coach came over telling me “It’s just a match, there’s no reason to cry” and I just looked up at him and looked right back at the ground, still unable to say anything. Mackenna told him what had happened and he was completely lost for words. He walked away with a saddened look on his face.
Later that day, I called my friend, and pretty much brother Conner. He’s a firefighter and I had seen on Facebook that he was on the scene after it happened. It was discovered that Dan had committed suicide. He was only 16 years old, but he decided that he couldn’t do it. There was, soon after, an investigation because there was suspicion that Dan’s dad had killed him and made it look as a suicide attempt. But, it was, in fact, concluded suicide.
About a week after the incident, everyone found out what it was over. It was all over bullying. Now, to everyone who is reading this, I’m not writing this because I want to share a sob story, or because I want people to feel bad. I’m writing this because I want people to listen. A simple joke to you, might be taken the complete wrong way to someone else. To my friend Dan, the bullies were never found because it was posted over an anonymous site.
Bullying doesn’t just effect the person, it effects everyone. Sometimes that bullying is taken to an extent that some people just can’t take. Like in my friend Dan’s story. The one thing I’ll never forget is at his funeral, when his mom was standing at his casket looking at him and saying “Dan, please baby, wake up. It’s okay, just wake up.” It killed my heart to see that. So, please think before you say something, or stand up for someone to that bully. You could be saving a life.