Thursday, February 28, 2008

This Week In Peer Abuse

Dear Reader,
Well, another week and more news on what everyone knows as “bullying” but what I know “Peer Abuse”.
I have to commend the Police Department in Novi Michigan for getting on top of this problem. They are aware of the dangers of this and have suggestions to combat the problem. In Overland Park Kansas, Lakeview Middle School has decided to add the Olweus Program to their curriculum. In Altoona Pennsylvania, a group of kindergartners to third graders had to do an exercise where they shut their eyes and imagined what a bully is. Many saw a bigger boy picking on a smaller child. That was the first thing that came to their minds. In Pueblo Colorado, a girl was fined $230 for abusing another girl. In Salt Lake City Utah, some legislation is being worked on to combat this problem. In Savannah Georgia, a video was taken of a thirteen year old boy sitting at his desk minding his own business while a couple of kids came up and kept hitting him and hitting him. Then, the video showed up on My Space but was removed. The bully faces expulsion and possible charges. The officer on campus is an Adult Survivor Of Peer Abuse.
I am glad people around the nation are cramping down on this. Taking some sort of action towards education. Reaching kids while they are still young. Punishing the bully for their behavior and holding them responsible. For one adult survivor to speak out on his own experiences. It does my heart good that some are actually “getting it” so to speak. Kudos to them!
However, there is a couple of elements still missing. Why are we still calling this bullying? Folks, a thirteen year old boy had been attacked and attacked while “trying to ignore it” and then was more humiliated as he was videotaped and had the tape thrown up on My Space for millions to see. The eleven year old girl was cited $230 for disorderly conduct yet was standing up to the real bullies. A group of girls had been aggravating this one girl and bullying her since Christmas yet she is the one in trouble. For what? Fighting back? Taking it and taking it until she cannot take it anymore? After this group started to harass her, her grades dropped and she started having other problems. Yet, she gets charged and the other girls? Well, my guess is they are getting off with nothing. Which is par for the course. Blame the victim in all of this. Yes, two elements are missing here. Bullying is a form of abuse, its PEER ABUSE! How can someone just attacking and harassing someone over and over and OVER NOT be considered a form of abuse? Man, in other forms of abuse these issues are seen as such. Also, in other forms of abuse, the victim is protected and the abuser is punished. In one case, this happened but in another, it did not.
Its time to get real, America. Time to call a spade a spade here. This problem is growing worse by the minute and the same tactics are not cutting it. When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I was bullied nearly to death and nothing was ever done about it. So I KNOW how these kids feel. Peer Abuse is probably one of the worst things anyone can go through. Yet, we still enable the problem and again, another victim is punished for the bullies own crap. Also, what really baffles me is that a video camera was used in this assault. How does a video camera even get in there? Evidently it was brought to school by the bully for them to even get the video downloaded online and placed on My Space. The video has shot out the actual faces of the abuser and his victim but the movement is on the screen. The adult survivor said it was one of the most disturbing things he had ever seen.
Society, please…..PLEASE wake up! This is not kids being kids but is outright abuse! It needs to stop and needs to be treated seriously and brought to a clinical and psychological level. People have died and are continuing to die from this. Open your eyes! Please!
Elizabeth Bennett
“Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective” on sale now for $13.95. Visit the website to learn more.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Peer Abuse: Another Blind Eye Turned

Well, here we go again……or that is how I am feeling anyway. Yes, another school shooting this past week and how many does this make now? I am losing count but can assure you that I know what is behind them.

Steven Kazmeirczak came into a lecture hall and killed five people and injured sixteen before turning the gun on himself. This occurred at Northern Illinois University. From what I have read, this young man was a good student. A very gentle boy who did have some problems at home after high school and was admitted to a psychiatric facility by his family. As a “B” student in high school, he was a member of the band and chess clubs. He got a degree in Sociology from NIU. Also, he had an “incompatibility discharge” from the Army and had concerns about this being a “stigma” on his record. It has also been discovered that he was on medication and stopped taking it a couple of weeks before the shooting.

Well, the “experts” have given their take on all of this. The same ol same ol….he had stopped taking his meds which caused this. Or better…..his social isolation and desire for attention created this. Yeah, that’s it! He was a loner and just wanted attention. A loner who stopped taking his meds and wanted attention….okay, America can live with this. Society can live with this. Its an attention grabbing thing so they get famous and make the six o’clock news. So, with that, we have our answers and everyone can go back to more important issues such as what time does “House” come on TV tonight. The things that REALLY matter. After all, this is just some stupid attention whore who wants his fifteen minutes and really is wasting everyone’s time here.
Folks, these experts and others are missing key factors here. What caused this young man to be on meds in the first place? It was reported that he was gentle by nature so what caused him to create such an act? Why was he discharged from the Army for incompatibility? As for this fifteen minutes crap, if he was wanting attention so badly and to bask in the limelight, why did he turn the gun on himself before making the six o’clock news?

You know, when it comes to these shootings, people are missing a key component. PEER ABUSE! The root of this problem is that the shooter has suffered daily abuse at the hands of his peers. Oh it eventually comes out that the shooter was bullied, suffered from social anxiety and depression, felt isolated and just snapped. After all, a person can only take so much abuse until they snap. Nobody around will help them. Sure, they went to someone and let them know that they were being tortured daily at school. However, they were probably told to “ignore it and it will go away” or “this is a fact of life. You are too sensitive. Stop being so sensitive and the bullies will leave you alone”. Nobody in authority to help so they take this into their own hands. I mean, nobody around them is helping and the problem is not going away so why even bother taking the meds in the first place? They are not doing their job because the problems are still existing. So yeah, he goes off his meds. He has had enough and he snaps.

This young man was in the band and chess club in school. Aren’t these areas considered places of “social suicide” to the repulsive high school culture? Only “geeks” and “nerds” participate in these activities according to society. These are the ones who are bullied on a daily basis for being such “geeks” and “nerds”. Yet, why are these experts missing this? Living with these stigmas daily and being tortured and harassed for having these interests is hell on earth.

I think its high time people really get educated. Look at the whole scheme of things here. To stop trying to avoid the problem altogether. Skirt around it and find other reasons and excuses for this problem of Peer Abuse. Did anyone ever think that these kids are going off meds because the problem itself is not stopping? If they wanted fifteen minutes so much, why are they not sticking around to bask in the glory? Did anyone ever bother to think that making the six o’clock news is a way to cry out for help and to show people that they suffered at the hands of their peers? A person can only take so much of “geek” and “nerd” on a regular basis. It breaks a person and their spirit to hear these things over and over and OVER again. Also, a gentle soul….that is so NOT acceptable because we are always taught that “big girls don’t cry” and “to be a man and toughen up.” These are the only behaviors that are acceptable so someone who does not share this temperament must suffer at the hands of his peers.

Peer Abuse is a serious problem in our society and the problem is growing worse and not better. Its time to crawl out of denial and really look at the core problem here. Start to treat this problem as a form of abuse and not some sick right of passage. Its time for America’s Dirtiest Little Secret to be exposed and known for what it really is and that is abuse. Peer Abuse.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why do we continue to excuse Peer Abuse?

Greetings! I wanted to take a few minutes and address my thoughts on recent articles in the news concerning bullying or what I refer to as Peer Abuse.

This week, a school board meeting was held to discuss this issue in Charlotte, North Carolina. Some felt that school would be safer if Peer Abuse (sorry, I call it as I see it and this is abuse) were not such a problem and something was done to nip it in the bud. But of course, as with any other place, one board member felt it was not an issue and should deal with other important things. Folks, WHY are people still denying this? WHY are they putting this on the back burner? Do you want me to tell you WHY I think they are doing this? Because bullying is still seen as “kids stuff” and “some right of passage” while others are seeing this for what it is. ABUSE! We protect those suffering from child, rape, domestic, sexual and elder abuse, why is this any different? Same behavior and psychological impact. Yet, we tend to excuse this and accept it but help others suffering from these other forms of abuse. Sounds to me like some folks need an education!
On a positive note, in Orville California, an article was written in the Orville Mercury Register that Peer Abuse affects everyone….and that hit’s the nail on the head. It affects a community as a whole. It stresses families out. The workplace becomes toxic. Of course, in school, it becomes unsafe. The article left some great information from the Department Of Health & Human Services and it was good to see someone calling a spade a spade. Yes, this affects a person physically and psychologically. Yes, it is hard to overcome. No, this just does not “go away”. I commend this publication for raising the awareness and getting real about this serious problem.

The bottom line is that this is a form of abuse. The victim deals with a multitude of problems such as depression, social anxiety, PTSD and other issues while the bully grows up to be narcissistic and pathological. Also, many wind up in prison by the age of 24. You want to know what else? Its our tax money that keeps these prisoners in prison and I do not know about you but I, for one am tired of this. How do we combat this? We get serious about this problem……treat it as we would child, domestic, sexual and elder abuse. Bottom line!