As I was going through some of the articles on bullying, one really stood out to me. The article discussed a couple of movies. The first being a personal favorite of mine entitled A Christmas Story which is set in the late 1940’s and despite the movie being a good one, there is a bully in there. A older, stronger boy who lives in the neighborhood. Everyday, he lies in wake to taunt the main character Ralphie and two of his friends. Of course, Ralphie and the others run scared of this menace and his sidekick who is not much bigger than Ralphie. Eventually, Ralphie tires of this daily abuse and attacks this bully back by ferociously hitting and hitting him until his nose bleeds. Then there is a movie that came out in 2004 entitled Mean Girls which starred Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams. A group of popular girls did what they could to tear one another down. The backstabbing, lies and sneaky behavior was shown and the sad fact was these girls were suppose to be best friends! At least with Ralphie, his bully let him know his distain for him but these girls were each others best friends!
I have to say, what kind of a world do we live in where our own best friends are our worst enemies? The people we are to trust and know are there for us besides our own family? These are our people we rely upon to keep our secrets, listen to our problems and basically support us in any endeavor. Maybe this is why people have been used the term frienemies when referring to their friends. Have we become so selfish as people that even our own friends are people we cannot support, help and love? Do we take our friends for granted and feel that we can do whatever we want despite how our behavior affects others? As a nation are we that self centered? Why do we set out to tear one another down instead of build one another up? Relational Aggression has a way of filtering into our daily lives. Its sneaky, deceiving and a great cause for stress in our daily lives.
As for Ralphie, in many ways, I can understand why he became so angry at his bully. He was tired of the daily torment this little punk gave him and his friends. He was tired of running from him. Tired of the taunts and ridicule. It all came out when he sat on this bully and punched him over and over until his nose bled. A person can only take so much until everything bottled up inside is going to come flowing out. When it comes flowing out, its not always pretty. Those who have never experienced peer abuse are not going to understand this. This is why in the school shootings, everyone is so surprised by these actions, never saw them coming then run to declare the shooter mentally ill or a psycho. Folks, a person can only take so much! In A Christmas Story Ralphie’s mother found him outside hitting this bully and came and brought him home. Of course, he was punished for behaving in such a manner. However, what happened to the bully? Was he punished and did it ever come out that he was tormenting others on a daily basis? Not that I can recall and that’s typical in these scenarios.
The article also mentioned a study published in the Denver Post. There have been 260 violent deaths in our schools since 1999 and 71% were a result of bullying and peer abuse. Also, 75% of those between the ages of 8 to 11 have been victims of this abuse. Why am I not surprised?
I understand that both of these movies are pure fiction. However, sometimes life imitates art and these problems are all too real in our society. People need to stop blaming the victim and start punishing the real instigator. As friends, we need to love and support one another, not go and do things that hurt one another. We are all people just trying to get through the day. Can’t we try and respect instead of destroy each other? Is it too much to ask?
Resource Cited: http://www.currentargus.com/ci_10451065
Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, please visit http://www.peerabuse.info/ .