Posted by : Wendy B Monday, 5 December 2011


Anti-bullying video goes viral: The video, called "What's Goin' On," is of a young teen telling his story of being bullied and battling depression, and it has brought many people to tears. The powerful video features no talking, just an eighth grade boy named Jonah Mowry facing a camera, holding up cue cards that tell his story. He admits to having cut himself repeatedly since the second grade, to being bullied every day, contemplating suicide, and feeling like he can't face the world for even one more day. As the video progresses, Mowry begins to breathe heavily as he fights back tears, but at the end, a twist. Defiantly, he holds up cards saying he's not going anywhere, because he's stronger than that, and has a million reasons to be here. The video has seemingly had a profound effect on people, with many of the comments cheering Mowry on, telling him to be strong, with quite a few saying they cried as they watched.

There is speculation that the video, posted 4 months ago, is fake because of a video he later posted indicating that he is much happier. This is the internet; everything is suspect. Gods forbid the doubters stop for a moment to think that the final promise of Jonah's video could come true and he could find some happiness.

Jonah tweets: "Made a video telling people why i was happy... What do they do... Twist it around so i look like a lier... Great."

Either way, the video is moving and, even if you don't believe this story to be true for this boy, it's true for far too many victims of bullying.

Recently, the government of Ontario indicates a desire for stronger punishment for bullies, including expulsion.

Simply put, how does time off school teach a bully a lesson? Prime example? The alleged bully of a 15-year old girl in Quebec who soon killed herself updated her facebook status with the following:

“Suspended 5 days! Ahahaha! Not bad.”

Oh yeah. Lesson learned. Not to mention there's a good chance that bullies have themselves a following who would only be impressed by the "vacation."

Suspension or expulsion does not teach anything to a student who obviously doesn't understand or care about consequences in the first place. Fortunately, many schools, and the legislation itself is trying to address the issue of educating parents, teachers and students and encouraging communication.

Some are addressing the issue that is most important to me: dealing with the bullies themselves - and helping them.

While I am in no way condoning the actions of a bully, I do not believe simply vilifying them serves to do anything but make them worse. I don't have the statistics, but if you look inside the life of a bully, will you find that they too are a victim? Perhaps physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse is part of their every day lives. Throwing them to the curb might remove the immediate problem and protect the victims - which is, of course, very important - but it doesn't prevent the bully from doing the same thing again and again and again...

Like with any criminal, rehabilitation is the key.

Meanwhile, bullies are still sources of entertainment in movies and on TV. I've skimmed through enough of the shows on Family Channel to confirm this. Bullies are still happily picking on the protagonists who either give in and give up their lunch money in some amusing way, or suddenly find the strength to stand up to them, because it's just that easy to do.

"It's funny how people who simply say "stand up for yourself" never, ever, tell you how to stand up for yourself. Even adults find it difficult to defend themselves against the onslaught of bullies, especially a serial bully." Myths and misperceptions about school bullying


WHAT IS THIS?

This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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