Wednesday, December 09, 2009

MTV and A Thin Line conquer Sexting

The music network, MTV, has always been a network that is popular for teens. As a member of the “MTV Generation” I remember the days of watching music videos with my friends and squealing over the different artists that would appear on the screen with the latest tunes. As the years have progressed, so has MTV as they have added more than just videos to their agenda. They now have different types of programming, celebrity news, clothing and different campaigns such as Rock the Vote which was geared towards teens and politics.

The latest addition to their lineup has been a campaign for teens called A Thin Line. This is a campaign to educate teens on how their digital behavior can have disastrous affects. Not only will this involve combating sexting but they plan to create Public service announcements and show an episode about this on its True Life series. MTV commissioned a study involving 1,200 youngsters ages 14-24 asking how they behaved in the digital age. At least 50% admitted to being targets of this abuse while 30% stated that they had sent sexually explicit photos of themselves to others via text or online. When the problem was explored further, those who have been targeted are more likely to engage in sexual activity, drink, use drugs, smoke and get involved with criminal activity. This is criminal activity if you ask me!

MTV is doing a great thing here. Many times, kids do not think of the consequences of what they do. It is so important to raise the awareness of this problem so our children will remain safe out there. This is something that is considered “hot” amongst teens and many will do it believing nobody will see these photos but the recipient. However, recipients cannot always be trusted and eventually, these photos can wind up online costing someone a job down the line and ruining their reputation. Also, it can become an issue of distributing child pornography. In this digital age, nobody is safe and privacy has become non existent. As MTV is still popular with youths, having this campaign will be a great way of educating and raising awareness of this problem.

This sexting problem has not been an issue for long but it is rapidly growing. Parents and other adults need to educate themselves on this problem and talk to their children about this. At the end of the day, don’t we all deserve to be safe?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bullies at Work

Well, after the Thanksgiving weekend I came back to a lot of stuff to catch up on. One article just stood out and could not let go of it. It was written in Canada but can assure you that this problem is alive and well in America. Adults should know better and grow up, learn to leave this garbage at the door. However, from experience and the feedback I get daily, I can assure you that childhood bullies grow worse and exist in the office as well.

In the article, I read of a woman working in an office who was asked to do some photocopying by her boss which went beyond her job description. While doing this she reached to answer the phone and the paper got jammed in the machine. Instead of reaching to help, the boss snarled “I thought you claimed to be an Administrative Assistant.” Since that incident, she has endured nitpicking, embarrassment and verbal abuse from this boss. As a result, her self esteem plummeted, she developed anxiety, felt incompetent and this filtered into her way of life. A co-worker even stated that they did not like it when the woman was bullied but did not know how to deal with the psychological abuse this boss was inflicting in the office.
Folks, who needs this? Again, let me ask you: Who NEEDS this on a daily basis? These bullies at work will pick up on one mistake and run with it. Someone will do something wrong and they never let it go! If it is the boss that is one thing. However, there are people who are not even in positions of authority and they still pull these stunts. They zone in one person and constantly focus on them. The complaining starts and it becomes contagious. Every little thing the other person does gets magnified and dissected redundantly. It gets to a point where the target cannot even come to work without receiving nasty notes in their box, an email or some nasty remark from either the bully or one of her little helpers. Its no wonder a person looses self-esteem, becomes anxious, stressed and eventually develops depression. Who can work and affectively like that?
Please, if this is happening to you, please document the date, time and what happened. Keep a log of this. If others are seeing this occur in the office, talk to them and ask them to document. That is if you know you can trust them. Check your code of conduct that is outlined in your workplace handbook or if something is hanging on the wall in the office. Do not let one person keep an office in an uproar. Also, for goodness sakes DON’T try to be accepted by the bully. Do you think he cares about you and it will make your job any easier? Most importantly, build up a support system outside of the office where they can be sounding boards. Do not keep all of this inside and to yourself. That only makes it worse for you. Most importantly, do not confront the bully on their behavior. They are looking for drama and games and will use anything you say to them against you. For them, this is about power, control and staying on top. I know the articles states that you should contact them early on but I disagree. They have found a target in you and will do anything they can to keep problems going. Their goal is to get you out of the organization. You are either a threat to them or maybe receive more pay than them. Anyone in your position will get heat from this person.
If you see this at your job, do what you can to help the one being targeted. Nobody needs this abuse and it is nothing more than abuse. Not only do the employees suffer when this is occurring but so does productivity and people are not working to their full potential. I think at the end of the day, we all just want to work, do our job and go home. There is enough stress in the world so why add to it? Something to think about.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Technorati Claim Token


I think this is the right code? I tried to get on the page and not sure what else I need to do?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Facebook nips the Bullies

Yesterday kicked off Anti-bullying Week and it goes from November 16-20 2009. One thing that is really being focused upon is the problem of cyber-bullying. As we all know, this is a problem that is out of control and at some point, someone needs to put a stop to it. The problem is a huge one on social sites like My Space, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and others where kids can go and interact with their friends as well as adults. . Facebook has decided to take some preventative measures and has launched some safety tips in support of Anti-bullying Week.

I have been a strong advocate of Facebook for a long time. It is designed to keep its members safe for starters. The profiles are set up where one must add a person to their friends list in order for their full profile to be seen by the other user. Users can also set their profile to private which allows only those on their friends list to know that they are members of the site. It is a great place to post photos and organize them so others can view and comment on them. Members on there range from 14-104 and many parents have their children added to their list of friends. That can make it hard for a teen to cyber-bully or add anyone that is questionable to their list of friends. Not to mention it is a great place to network with other professionals and invites and groups can be created to help in the networking process. It has become a site that is family friendly and is why many flock there to communicate.

Facebook has left some helpful comments that I back up completely. I wanted to list and expand on them from what has already been listed.

1. Only accept friends you know: Many times, people who do business on Facebook will add strangers to their lists because they are interested in networking. If this is the case, do not put up personal photos or give a lot of personal information. Also, if one is underage, they do not need to be adding adults that they do not know. As for adults, they do not need to be adding anyone under 18 years of age. Again, some of these teens have parents on their lists and you do not want to be accused of subjecting something that could be considered inappropriate to their children who are underage. Teens please add other teens you already know and if you do add adults, make sure you know them. Adults, please stick to other adults on the site. Unless you know the teen, you really do not need to be interacting with them.

2. Stop abusive behavior: Please, if someone is abusing you on the site, take that person and block them. The block feature is excellent as once you block a person, it is as if they do not exist at all. They cannot see you, what you are doing, who is on your friend list or anything else. People come to the site for various reasons and I am sure nobody wishes to come and engage in any flame wars or useless drama. Block the bully!

3. Report trouble directly to Facebook: Again, Facebook is taking this problem very seriously and if you are encountering a bully on the site, let Facebook know. Show them what has been sent to you and posted on your profile. You can cut and paste it and save it on your computer. They have people who work to investigate and stop this behavior. Get others to report on your behalf as well.

4. Keep your information private: Again, if you do not want anyone to know something about you, the last place it belongs is on Facebook or any other place online. Use good and safe judgment here. Share limited information about yourself. Also, keep your status updates reasonable. What I mean is that not everyone is interested in what you ate for lunch, if you went to the store or how many times you went to the bathroom. Do not post anything that could tip off where you are located. Facebook has a settings area where you can set you level of privacy on the site.

5. Do not react to bullies: block, report or delete them. Again, do not engage with them in petty arguments. Once you flame right back at them you are no longer in a situation where you are being abused. It has then become a full blown flame war between two people. Bullies want you to react and waste your time indulging them with drama. They live for this behavior. If someone is posting gossip or spreading rumors then please save the information they have posted and get others to help you collect it. Send it to Facebook when you report them. Block and delete them from your list. Facebook calls the shots on the site and therefore, its better that you allow them to take control of the situation. Building alliances, flaming each other back and forth is no longer a bullying scenario but again, it’s a full blown conflict between two parties. Let them create the trouble alone and that way, they become responsible for their actions. Plus, it becomes easier for Facebook to see who they real bully is.

Again, it is great to see Anti-bullying Week in full force. Social sites are full of this behavior and it is refreshing to see one that takes this problem seriously. Again, I back Facebook up 100% and the fact that they take this cyber-bullying seriously gives me greater confidence in them. At the end of the day, people just want to go to Facebook and do what they need to do without any hassles. We all deserve a safe online experience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dallas Divas and the Mean Girls

Wow! Another reality show and one that we get to see mother/daughter duos in action. This show Dallas Divas and Daughters airs every Sunday evening at 8pm EST on the Style Network. During this half-hour, we get a glimpse into the lives of five sets of mothers/daughters who live in Dallas, Texas and are considered members of Dallas high society. There has been a polo match, joint birthday party, fashion shows, preparations for the Debutante ball, lunch dates, shopping and many other excursions in the Lone Star State. I have to say that these ladies live some exciting lives. Even though I do not know these people, never met them and can hardly judge them, I can certainly comment on what I have seen on the show thus far.

This show is full of relational aggression and mean girl behavior. For starters, we have a group of five mothers where two of them do not get along. The catty comments they mutter under their breaths towards one another is pretty pathetic. These are not teen girls here but middle age women! One of them has stated it is “fun” to get under the skin of the other. We get to see them attack each other at the graduation party of one of the girls in the group. Then the other catty mother is having a birthday party which is shared with another lady in the group and we learn that the other mother/daughter team is not invited over silly reasons like being late. Sure, being late is rude, I agree but this appeared to be done in a mean spirited fashion on the birthday mothers part. Right there, we have the issue of exclusion. All she had to do was gently remind this woman to be on time. The uninvited mother made a comment that they were adults and this was high school and mean girl behavior. Yes, this looks really stupid in a group of middle age women. It was two of the women who had the birthday party yet one seemed to dominate the spotlight. If that is not bad enough, one mother puts down the daughter of the other mother when she is getting her debutante photos made.

The daughters are catty too. We see two of the girls who are in competition with one another. They are debutantes together, worked at a fashion show together and we see them try and one up each other every time. One girl got four tickets to see a band and it excluded two of the six in the group after promising everyone that they could come. Instead of picking in a fair manner like drawing names, we see the girl pick her three to go and they rub this in to the other girls who did not get picked. Then, we have a 17 year old who has stated that she will bully her mother until she gives in and gets her a Range Rover for her upcoming birthday. At this graduation party, the mother throwing the party had a specialized portrait of herself made for her daughter to carry to college with her. In the interviews, we heard all of the nasty comments from the other mother/daughter teams of the group. One said if her mother gave that to her for graduation she would throw it in her face!

Only one mother/daughter team has managed to stay away from jumping in the catty pool. The daughter is working with her sister to find her mother a boyfriend while we see the mother date. Its refreshing to see at least one team on there not to behave like they are entitled or behave in a rude manner to the others in the group. Sadly, we do not see much of this pair on there.
Folks, this is nothing but exclusion, backstabbing, put downs, silly competition and entitlement of a group of women and daughters. How can we expect these girls to stop their own mean girl behavior if their own mothers participate in this? I have been saying all along that Peer Abuse is an adult problem and am seeing it now more than ever on this show. Why can’t the two women who do not get along put their differences aside and try to get along? Why couldn’t the girl with the tickets have picked her guests in a fair manner? What sort of example is this setting for the daughters? One daughter admitted to bullying her mother! Please, do not use this as a model for your own children. Teach them good values and to treat others as they wish to be treated. At the end of the day, aren’t we better off having a friend rather than a foe? Or a frenemy for that matter?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Zero Tolerance needs Flexibility

As I was watching the local news last evening, I happened to see a segment on the issue of zero tolerance on there. Basically, local school districts were giving their policies and procedures as to how they handle this problem within their schools. The parents were complaining that zero tolerance was too strict and needed to be handled on a case to case basis. Schools have implemented this policy for quite some time in order to cut down on criminal behavior, catch the bullying going on and to basically keep weapons off campus so school will be safe for all students.
Recently, a kindergarten child was suspended for bringing a camping utensil to school. Another case happened when a first grader brought a knife to school. There was an incident in this nation where a 3rd grade child brought a kitchen knife from home to school. Why? A 5th grade bully threatened to rape him the next day. So, it was brought for protection. True, there are some who have brought weapons to school to start a fight or to do harm to others. It is important that we catch those who are planning to do harm to others in some way.

Lets face it; zero tolerance is too strict. It needs to be handled on a case by case basis. Gangs who bring weapons to school to hurt others should be suspended or expelled. Same with anyone who brings a weapon to do any harm to another person. However, what is a five year old going to know about a camping utensil? I highly doubt this child has threatened another in some way. Also, many bullied kids bring weapons as a way to protect themselves. When a school does not listen and the child is continually abused on a daily basis, he/she begins to feel helpless and looks for a way for protection. Its not going to come from peers or the school so they bring a weapon to school. The student gets caught and gets expelled for having the weapon while the bully walks without any punishment. After all, zero tolerance is zero tolerance.

Folks, the concept is not a bad one. Its just that in cases of Peer Abuse and the B word, the wrong kids are being caught and punished. In doing so, it reinforces the kid who is being abused that their rights, feelings or self as a whole is not nearly as valued as that of the bully. We all know life is not fair. However, must we continue to reinforce this to these kids already in pain? We all have rights in this nation, lets not ever forget that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sexting at Degrassi

This past Friday, an episode of Degrassi The next Generation aired an episode entitled “Shoot to Thrill”. This episode involved a girl named Ali and her boyfriend Johnny. Ali took some pictures of Johnny and a stuffed animal promising never to share them with anyone. As the episode went on, we saw how poorly Johnny treated Ali in their relationship. Instead of breaking up with him, she took it up a notch and decided to take nude pictures of herself and send them to Johnny on his cell phone. Needless to say, this went badly. Ali had posted one of the pictures of Johnny and the stuffed animal on the school wall which resulted in Johnny sending one of the sexting pictures to his friend Bruce. Mr. Simpson, one of the teachers had the displeasure of seeing the picture and sent Bruce and Ali to the office. The principal had a stern talk with Ali about the dangers of sexting and an organization called That’s Not Cool gave a PSA on the dangers of sexting and is a great resource for anyone dealing with abuse through technology.

Sexting has recently become an issue amongst teens and even adults. Teens have been known to take these sexual photos and send to one another. What is troubling is that these texts find their way online by cyber bullies or other abusers in relationships. This occurs when there is a break-up or just as form of blackmail. The thing that is not considered is that once these photos are sent around, they are out there in cyber land for everyone to see. The chances of them disappearing are slim to none. Situations such as this can follow the teen into adulthood and cost them jobs and other problems along the line.

Folks, talk to your children about sexting and the dangers of it. This is also a form of cyber bullying as the photos get passed around to others and are done so in a cruel manner and as a way to hurt the target. This could also result in a criminal record as the ones doing the sending are passing around what appears to be child pornography. Anyone under age taking these photos and sharing them are only adding to the pornography problem, not helping it. Teens do not see these consequences like adults do so its important for them to know this before they attempt it. At the end of the day, we want our children safe. Sexting is the last way to do it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big Brother is in the Building

Wow! Another week and another Google Alert. This time, its about having cameras in the classrooms in the United Kingdom. Wonder if this trend will hit up the United States?

A group in the UK called Class watch sets up cameras in classrooms and uses this as a basis for professional development. So far, they have been set up in over 100 schools and used for in class surveillance. They state that this is not an action of Big Brother existing but of trying to help teachers improve their performance in the classroom. Also, it can catch any abuse of peers as well. However, Civil Liberties advocates tend to disagree with this approach and see it as an invasion of the learning environment. Some at the UK Teachers Union feel these clips can be edited to make the teacher out to be the bad guy. Some at the PTA National Headquarters here in the US feel that if a demand comes in, this could be occurring in US schools at some point.

One thing I have to say is I do not agree with an invasion of privacy. As Americans, we do have our right to privacy. However, since the birth of the Internet, haven’t we lost a good bit of this privilege anyway? At the same time, having cameras in various locations has helped to catch criminals. Cameras do exist on some school buses now and in hallways. So, having them installed really should not be a big issue. One thing it would catch is any abuse that peers are giving to each other. A lot of this happens in the classroom and right under a teachers nose yet it goes undetected. This form of abuse is hard to prove because 99% of it is done away from authority. It sure would help in catching a lot of what is occurring and what parents and students bring to the attention of school personnel. The biggest problem I see is when school personnel will take these and edit them or conveniently loose them. I know that has happened in the past.
As for Big Brother, he has been hanging around for a long time. He has not entered our homes as of yet but he sure is out there in public places. I doubt he is planning to leave the building anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Arnie breaks the Bullies

Well, another week and more news on the Peer Abuse front. This week, its great news and involves someone finally taking a group of bullies by the horns.

In California, there is a serious problem with the paparazzi who try and do what they can to get photos of celebrities without their consent. When I say anything I mean anything! As a result, they become a danger not only to these celebrities but the public in general. All sorts of laws are broken when they are out and about stalking their prey. Recently, Nicole Richie and Madonna were both in accidents as a result of the paparazzi. The late Farrah Fawcett could not even go to the hospital for chemo treatments without them stalking and harassing her. The paparazzi have become nothing more than a danger to themselves and those around them and its high time they were reigned in.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an anti-paparazzi bill into law yesterday which now states that celebrities can take legal action towards paparazzi and media outlets when photos are used illegally. This was amended to a law that gave fines when these items were used improperly. The Paparazzi Reform Initiative sponsored this bill. This law will not be used to completely shut down media outlets and other means of reporting. It was formed to try and reign in the behavior the paparazzi uses in obtaining information on celebrities. To try and prevent not only celebrities from being hurt but the public as a whole. Ethically, many boundaries and rights promised to all citizens of this nation have been violated and its high time to bring these back into practice. Respect our fellow man and what is promised to all of us as citizens and as human beings.

Thank you Governor Schwarzenegger for signing this into law. As I have mentioned in the past, this is a form of Peer Abuse and these paparazzi have done nothing but bully these celebrities. They violated laws and endangered others. Now, driving down Wilshire Blvd. or anywhere else in Los Angeles will be safer for everyone. People can relax and I know these celebrities feel better knowing further legal action can be taken. At the end of the day, aren’t we all entitled to live our lives without the fear of being harassed, stalked or invaded on daily basis?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Queen Bee no More

Oh the joy of the fall season on television. New shows popping up and old ones returning. One that has always grabbed my gut is Gossip Girl. Last season was full of backstabbing, game playing and of course, the glorification of the Queen Bee. Well, The CW has graced us with another season and this time, the group of friends are either in college, hitting up the work force or just trying to find themselves. The bottom line is that they are now adults and as adults should be thinking along the line of adult behavior.

Blair Waldorf was the Queen Bee for two seasons. She ruled her “regime” at school, tried to get a teacher fired, played pathetic games with Chuck Bass and basically took her ever so faithful maid Duroda on every ride. Now, Blair is a first semester freshman at NYU and believe it or not, is now dating Chuck Bass. She also lives on campus and is rooming with nemesis Georgina. Blair insisted on living in the dorms so she could grab that crown and reign again. We see her line up girls on her hall while she and Duroda give them little gifts. Ever the expert on NYC, she tries to give tips on the city as an introduction into her new regime. However, all of this seems to backfire. Blair tries to throw a sushi party for everyone and instead they are more interested in eating popcorn and watching videos. Then, Georgina throws a roof party and invites everyone but Blair. Of course Blair comes and tries to use Georgina’s newfound Christianity against her and get everyone to follow her again. Once again, it backfires. It looks as if Blair has been dethroned in her new environment. Wow! A Queen Bee falls and I, for one, am glad to see this.

Gossip Girl gave a great lesson here. A Queen Bee will not remain a Queen Bee all of her life. When we move on from one situation to the next, we meet new people, get into new environments and in many cases, actually grow up. Blair’s goal was to be Queen Bee at NYU and thus far, people are not interested. Where we saw people having educated conversations at the rooftop party, we saw Blair plotting and scheming to be Queen. It was good to see these college students just relaxing and wanting to interact without these pressures. The only glaring exception I saw was Blair who resorted to her high school behavior by being rude to Dan and Vanessa and then trying to sabotage Georgina. I do not like to see anyone be miserable or hurt. In this case, however, I was glad to see some justice served. As for Queen, lets hope there is not a new regime in the works with anyone at NYU.

Queen Bees fall all the time in life. For someone who has been Queen Bee in her environment for a long time, this can be just as detrimental when they enter different phases of life as they get older and fall from grace. As adults, we need to do what we can to stop fostering this behavior and creating these monsters during these developmental years. I honestly believe a Queen Bee falling is just as traumatic as someone who is being abused by their peers. We need to let these girls know that life changes and situations change and that this is not the way things will always be. Life throws curve balls and we all need to know how to handle and survive them and be ready for them. After all, don’t we all deserve to grow up to be healthy and adjusted individuals? Something to think about.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stop Bullying Rita Allison!

South Carolina is in the news a lot these days. As the story broke earlier in the summer about Governor Mark Sanford and his mistress from Argentina, we seem to have more than our share of national publicity. If the Sanford story is not enough to keep people busy, we now have another story break concerning Sanford. The difference is that this story is not true. I guess some people have too much time on their hands.

Rita Allison is a 69 year old grandmother from South Carolina. She is a member of the House of Representatives and has done a lot of great things for the Palmetto State. Most importantly, she has been happily married for 50 years to the same man. Over the past week, a story broke where someone had sent a letter to those in Allison’s House District stating that she also had an affair with Governor Sanford. Who sent the letter? At this point nobody knows. Allison has gone public with this and stated that this is not true. She has filed a defamation lawsuit against this “John Doe.” Good for her is what I say. Nobody deserves to have their character attacked and it shows she will not be abused by her peers.

This is exactly what adult bullies do. They will take a person and spread lies and gossip about them.. Not to mention they nitpick, harass, attack, demean and try to break that person. Through this they use other people and go to extremes. Chances are that this is someone Allison knows. It could be someone she offended or disagreed with in the past. Of course, Doe is not revealing him or herself but just sending a letter with lies. Why Allison? This is not a woman who goes out of her way to make others miserable so why try and attack her? She believes in having a good heart and doing good things for others around her. What is really sad is what people say on these blogs about her. They make jokes and do other things at her expense. What ever happened to compassion for other people? Trying to help their fellow man and support them in troubled times? These people do not even know Allison yet attack her anyway. Bullies seem to take pleasure in others misery. We can take the attitude that this is all in politics. Or, we can do the right thing and stop believing the lies.

Folks, do not believe everything you read. Bullies are alive and well and regardless of the other person will do what they can to bring their victim down. I can assure you this story is false. As for John Doe, please come forward and stop your abuse. Better yet, get a hobby or do something worthwhile for a change. Try and make the world a better place.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Mind of a School Shooter

This week I wanted to do something a little different. Even though this event occurred many years ago, the name and event remains the same. Also, I doubt this aspect has been discussed at any great length. This event occurred before I was born and before many today were born. It even occurred before Charles Manson and Helter Skelter. As many of us may not remember this particular event, it does go down in history as one of the greatest mass murders of our time.

The late 1950’s was the birth of television, poodle skirts, Elvis on his way to the top and rebellion just waiting to break out. James Dean brought that rebellion out and many teens in America caught on to it. One particular young man, Charles Starkweather, was especially fond of Dean. He emulated his look and found many parallels within their lives. Starkweather grew up in the state of Nebraska. He came from a good family and was one of seven children. He had a stuttering problem and was bowlegged. Despite that, nothing out of the ordinary was reported during this time. Except for one glaring exception and that was he was bullied in school. The first day of kindergarten was a day that left a strong imprint in his mind and a turning point in his life. He went to school and was teased relentlessly for his stuttering and having bowlegs. Children would distance themselves from him and when picking team sports, he was always picked last. This was not just in kindergarten but throughout his school career. I read a book entitled Waste Land: The Savage Odyssey of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate. The book stated his family life was good but his life at school was a nightmare. During his formative years, he felt society failed him and started to believe that the world saw him as garbage. He even had a job as a garbage collector as he dropped out of school in the 9th grade. His marks were poor and nobody ever intervened on his behalf in school. When he reached early adulthood, his attitude was that everyone believed he was trash and he rebelled against society completely. Some may argue that he was not biologically wired right. I do not buy into that. If this were the case, it would have come out during those earlier years in some way. The only thing that seemed to stand out was the abuse he endured at the hands of his peers.

Starkweather shook society to the core. He and his young girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, went through Nebraska and a small portion of Wyoming during late 1957 and early 1958 by robbing and murdering eleven people including Fugates own family. He was a angry young man who was tired of being seen and treated like garbage. So, he took action and justified it as he was going to be treated like everyone else for a change. He brought up being abused by peers a great deal. The things he and his girlfriend did are beyond comprehension. Eleven lives lost at his hands. Oh he failed society and was eventually sent to the electric chair. He got his just deserts as nothing excuses the death of another human being. However, I also believe society failed him too. Why was the abuse allowed to continue? Why didn’t the schools step in and try and stop the problem? Were these bullies ever held accountable for their actions? If you ask me, Starkweather had the mind of a modern day school shooter. School shooters go on rampages. The only difference is that school shooters usually do these things at school. Starkweather did it in two different states. Why didn’t anyone try and reach this young man during his formative years?

Again, I am not defending these crimes. He was punished accordingly and held accountable for his actions. I am not blaming it on James Dean either. Thousands of American teens loved Dean but did not go on rampages. What I do see is the bullying ringing loud and clear. Starkweather started to believe he was the garbage everyone made him out to be. As an adult, he got angry and got revenge. I do believe society failed him though as nobody put a stop to this abuse. If this young man had not been bullied, I wonder if those eleven people would have been alive today? Would this tragedy have even happened? Certainly something to think about.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

OJ is at it again!

Whoa boy! I come back from a nice labor day weekend and a friend sends me some information about OJ Simpson and the fact that he wants to get out of prison. He and his recent accomplice, Clarence Stewart, were in high court this past Friday trying to leave prison based upon Nevada’s “heavy burden” clause where evidently, they could post bail and leave. The judge denied this stating that their crime was too serious and stated that they did not meet this clause. Plus, both would be considered flight risks. I know most of America is rejoicing at this decision.

OJ Simpson was acquitted from the high profile double homicide trial back in the mid 90’s involving Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman. In 2007, OJ and Stewart were found guilty of kidnapping and robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas casino and hotel. During this act, both used firearms and of course, used violence. Vintage OJ, huh? This time he was held accountable for his actions. Simpson is serving 33 years while Stewart is serving 7 ½ to 27 years in prison.

The bottom line is that OJ Simpson does not get it. This is very common amongst the anti-social and narcissistic personality disorders. That sense of entitlement, avoidance of any responsibility and lack of remorse with their actions. Has any lesson been learned on his part? If he were released, would we have the “privilege” of seeing pictures of him playing golf again? OJ committed a crime which warranted prison time and the fact that he was trying to get released is troubling. Has he even apologized to the victims for his recent actions? Does this even begin to register with him?

I commend the judge for not releasing him. He broke the law and needs to pay his dues to society. It is not uncommon for adult bullies to seek loopholes and ways to avoid punishment. They believe they are above the law and do not deserve to be punished. They manipulate their way out of these situations. I am not one who just wants to “lock them up and throw away the key”. However, in this case, OJ should be in prison. His charm is not working any longer. If he were released, he would be back on the streets and another person would be harmed more than likely.

He just does not get it if you ask me. That right there is a scary thought.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Is Anne Heche a Bully?

I have been reading Google Alerts lately where a few people have called Anne Heche a bully. She was recently on the David Letterman Show discussing her husband and said some things which lead to bullying behavior. Plus, something her own child could watch and hear about his father. From what I could gather, this was not a pleasant interview.

You know, as adults, if we are hurting one another and slandering one another around without any thought to anyone else then how can we expect children to be any different? If a child sees an adult abusing their peers in some way then won’t they learn this too and think it is okay? We are the models that our children follow and become as adults. The things we say, the way we act and what we do affects them. A child should never have to hear or see a parent abuse their other parent or other family members. They should never have to have this happen on national television. That is not an everyday occurrence but still, it should not be happening. Despite what one parent thinks of another, they should never let it get back to the child.

Adult bullies are the hardest to deal with. Their personalities are set. Many are your psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissistic individuals. They do not “get” how their behavior affects others. Rules and regulations do not apply to them. The only interest is themselves and their own welfare. Many adult bullies will have no consideration for their children and their welfare. This is what breeds more bullies in the next generation. Adults should know better but sadly, they don’t. They filter our workplace on a daily basis. Parental alienation is another problem where adult parents who are bullies will forbid the child to see the other parent. Also, they speak lies about the other without any afterthought. All they think about is ME!

How can we expect our children to stop abusing one another when we continue to do it ourselves? This is certainly something to think about.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Remembering Princess Diana and those who Murdered her

Wow! Its been 12 years since the death of Princess Diana on August 31, 1997. Can you believe how fast time flies? It seems like yesterday I was waking up to read the morning news to find her death sprawled all over the front page. As I was always a fan, I was saddened by this. A woman who had selflessly given herself to help others in time of need. She did a lot for humanity and I certainly miss her presence here on earth.

As I think of Princess Diana’s death, I think of those left behind. Family who loved her dearly like her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry. They were so young when this tragedy occurred. Fortunately, they still had their father but nobody can take the place of a mother. It saddens me that she would never see them finish school and grow up into young men, marry and have their own children. She was entitled to this and was denied it. You see, her death did not have to occur. She could have grown into middle age, continued her work helping others around the world and watch her sons grow into men. At the time of her death, she and her companion Dodi Al-Fayed may have had a chance to see more of one another and could have married at some point. However, these are things we will never know.

While many will say or have their theories on her death, I believe the paparazzi murdered her. For years, they just could not leave her alone or let her be. Anywhere she would go, they would be not far behind. Pictures among pictures appeared in tabloids around the world of her and those close to her. Rumors and lies were printed as well. People just could not get enough of her. At the same time, Diana just wanted to live a decent life. I am sure she understood she was a public figure, however, was it such a crime if she wanted privacy to spend time with her family and friends? You see, she did not have that luxury because the paparazzi just would not allow it. On the night she and Dodi were killed, the paparazzi were everywhere. They followed every move that was made by the couple and it got to be such a pain that they had to sneak out of the building to avoid them. However, the paparazzi were one step ahead of her. They managed to follow her in her car which contained herself and three other men. The car was speeding quickly to avoid these bullies and managed to smash right into a concrete wall in a tunnel. Three of the four in the car were killed. If the paparazzi had left her alone, none of this would have happened and she still would have been with us today more than likely.

These paparazzi are stalkers, bullies and are dangerous. What they report is not news but vicious lies and they look to take pictures of celebrities at the worst possible time for a lot of money. They violate all possible laws within the community and are a hazard to everyone around them. Most importantly, they act without conscience and nobody seems to stop their dangerous behavior. Yet we continue to feed them by purchasing tabloids and other things. Since when is it news when Tyra Banks buys a banana in Ralph’s Grocery Store? Or when Zac Efron goes to the beach? Like me, you are probably thinking this is not news and its not. This is an invasion of privacy, infringement of constitutional rights and that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that is promised to all of us in this nation. Some think that because they are celebrities, they owe us in this respect and should get over it and allow people to treat them this way. Folks, this is no way to live for anyone. Not being able to throw away a phone number written down because someone may go through their trash and sell it on eBay? These everyday occurrences in life are something we take for granted yet something they do not have. Think of that next time you believe you are entitled to know these things.

Please, visit the Paparazzi Reform Initiative ( to see how you can learn about the realities of these situations. These celebs should be able to go to Ralph’s, the beach or anywhere without the paparazzi on their tail. This is a form of Peer Abuse, stalking, violation of constitutional rights as well as human rights. After all, we would probably still have Princess Diana along with Dodi Al -Fayed today if they had just let her live in peace. Something to think about…..

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Facebook Cyberbully is Jailed

Wow! The unthinkable has happened and that is a Facebook cyber bully is now in jail. Yes, in jail for tormenting another young woman on Facebook and Bebo for several years. However, this did not happen in the United States but in the United Kingdom. I hope the United States will follow suit at some point and start incarcerating these bullies because this is criminal behavior and warants being treated as such.

Emily Moore was the victim of Peer Abuse for four years by Keely Houghton. According to Moore, she was assaulted, called a slag, had her name dragged through the mud on Bebo and then on Facebook. The abuse went on and during this interval, Houghton had been suspended and even expelled but that did not stop her or her band of cohorts from continuing their abuse. She could not walk home from school without being harassed. She had objects like bottles thrown at her. Her hair was pulled out in clumps. There was no escape from this at all. Moore said this consumed her every waking thoughts for four years. All she got was alienation from peers and suffered panic attacks. What finally put an end to this and got Houghton into the trouble she is in now was when Houghton stated on Facebook that she wanted to kill Moore. Moore believed her; Houghton always carried out on her threats and made good on them. Now Moore is looking to relocate so she can take her power back and these bullies will not know where she lives.

Folks, why do we allow this to continue? No, it did not happen here in the US and the UK has taken legal action. This happens daily in our nation and yet we allow it to continue. This is not a person who is living life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Nobody can live like this and develop into well adjusted adults; not without serious intervention. The psychological affects are devastating and as you see with Moore, she was affected. This is not normal “girls disliking one another so let them work out their differences themselves” sort of thing. Houghton evidently has some deep rooted anger and a lot of psychological issues herself. I hope she is incarcerated that she can seek the help she needs. For her to react to Moore as she did, something is not right with this girl and she needs a great deal of psychological intervention. In the meantime, our own nation needs to crack down further on these cases. If it means incarceration, so be it. At least the bully is getting some help or someone is attempting to help. Also, for the victim to heal from the pain caused by the bully. Its a very haunting feeling and consumes a person; I know as I have been there.
The sad thing in all of this is that Moore never understood why Houghton took such strong dislike to her. She had never done anything directly to trigger this abuse.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wow! Another day and another case of abuse on the records. Yes, this time it is done by a 40 year old woman in Missouri by the name of Elizabeth A. Thrasher. I guess the acts of Lori Drew were not enough to either wake people up to these things or completely put a stop to them. This is the first case under the new Megan Meier Law in Missouri to be charged with felony harassment.

Mrs. Thrasher was having a feud with the girlfriend of her ex-husband. The 17 year old daughter of the girlfriend went over to MySpace and sent Mrs. Thrasher a note telling her to grow up. Well, Mrs. Thrasher decided to head over to Craig’s List and posted a picture, email address and cell phone number of the 17 year old girl under the Casual Encounters section of the site. The content was suggesting that the girl was looking for contact of a sexual nature.

I do not even know where to begin with this one. I have seen the comments posted in this resource and people are saying “why don’t they grow up?” and things like that. All I know is that if we cannot behave as adults ourselves and handle our problems with one another as adults, how can we expect children to behave and be respectful to others? Folks, I grew up in the same generation as Mrs. Thrasher and I can tell you that this problem with peer abuse and bullying was as alive then as it is now. I can remember many who did not behave with consideration or respect and have probably not outgrown it but taking it to the workplace where we are now talking about these problems at work. Folks, if you get anything from this blog, I hope it is the fact that bullies do not grow up but grow worse. I hear so many say that people outgrow this behavior but can assure you that for the most part, they don’t. They just get more manipulative, charming and subtle in how they abuse their peers. I cannot say whether Mrs. Thrasher is an adult bully considering the fact that I do not know this lady. However, her actions in this situation indicate an adult bully. This is the kind of stuff adult bullies do. No regard for anyone else, especially a child.

I would hope after the Lori Drew case that people would wake up to this problem and not enable it. So far, it does not seem to be the case.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We CAN Stop Peer Abuse with Education

A recent article has been written asking the question as to why can’t we stop the problem of bullying. The Georgia Coalition Against Bullying will be meeting soon and earlier in the summer the American Academy of Pediatrics was encouraged to start taking a bigger role in the prevention of bullying. Is bullying really just a fact of life?

First off, bullying is not a fact of life. The only fact given here is that it traumatizes individuals for a lifetime and it violates civil and human rights. In the United States, we are all promised life, liberty and pursuit of happiness but even these are violated when being abused by our peers. There is no excuse for it and it has been a right of passage for far too long. It can be stopped, it is just a matter of education.

I am going to be honest here and give my own opinion. I know many will disagree and that is fine. Those who know me or have worked with me know where I stand on this. One of the biggest problems here is that we do not consider this a form of abuse. We continue to use the term bullying. Even though the term has taken us a long way in the past 10 years, it is still not hitting the bulls eye. I am to a point where I cannot even use the term bullying as it just is not working where it should. However, I have to because it is the term people know and do not seem to want to let go of. Bullying is outright abuse; Peer Abuse. Yes, just like child, sexual, domestic, animal and elder abuse that we are quick to defend and hold accountability where needed. True, not in all cases but at least they are considered clinical issues. Bullying is not seen as a clinical issue. We are all in such a hurry to speak out and find solutions yet have we even stopped to try and understand the actual problem? I consider putting a victim and their bully alone in a room together to “work things out” like putting a victim and their rapist together in the same manner. Now we would never do the latter, that is unthinkable! However, we always do the former. When I talk to groups, I always equate this with rape, child and other forms of abuse and I ask this question. Its all about mindset and educating others on this mindset. Having the American Academy of Pediatrics on board is a huge step. We need to have hospitals, mental health centers and others trained to treat those dealing with this problem as in any other form of abuse.

Another problem here is that society does not believe that we should hold children accountable for these actions. True, a child’s brain is not formed to full capacity like an adults. Therefore, we cannot hold them accountable for these sort of actions. Even though we cannot hold them accountable like an adult, we sure can hold them accountable to a point. Children are not stupid; they know what abuse is. Don’t we always tell them that when an adult is abusing them, they need to tell someone? Why is this any different? The only difference is that an adult is doing the abuse in one case while a child is doing it in another. Children need to learn to be held accountable for their actions. They understand rules and comprehend them. Why do you think we have tattle tales roaming the playground? Trust me, they have a concrete understanding of right and wrong.

Everyday we are losing children to this problem. They are killing one another and themselves. Clinical issues are arising such as depression, social anxiety and PTSD from this. I have seen people get a different perspective of this when I equate this with other forms of abuse. They say they never thought of this in that light. Isn’t it time we take this to the next level? The clinical level?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Is Lori Drew Online Again?

As I was reading this morning, I came across this article here online. Lori Drew is once again in the news. Recently, her case was dismissed in a Los Angeles Court which enraged me. It only set a precedence for more cases such as this and the fact that people will get away with online impersonations as she has done. I have feel strongly that social justice was not sought in this case. The Meier family will never have Megan again thanks to this woman. Yet she gets to go home and continue to watch her own daughter grow into adulthood. She has yet to pay for what she has done to the Meier family. An apology would be nice but appears that this is not going to happen.

According to recent events, Ms. Drew is asking to use the internet again as she recently got a job offer that would require her to use it at work. Since June of 2008, she had been banned from going online. Evidently, the woman has moved to an undisclosed state and found possible employment.

Folks, I DO have a problem with this. For starters, this woman took the life of a young girl who suffered from clinical depression by using the internet. She manipulated, plotted and set up a fake account as a 16 year old boy named Josh. As most abusers do, she showed her cruel streak and Josh turned against Megan which led to Megan committing bullycide. This woman was well aware of the fact that Megan was vulnerable, clinically depressed and knew her weak spots. After Megan died, she had the nerve to ask the Meier family to keep a game for her that she was giving someone for Christmas. No admission, apology or any of that. She behaved as if nothing was ever wrong. If you ask me, this is scary behavior.

As Mrs. Drew was not punished or held accountable for her crimes or Megan’s death, who is to say she is not going to go back online and pull this stunt on another child that her daughter may be feuding with? As she expressed no remorse or apology for Megan, who is to say she has changed or learned anything? MySpace is still in existence and is still a online hangout for teens. People who have internet access at their jobs are always sneaking peeks at their email or coming on places to chat like Facebook or Twitter. It does not appear she has learned a lesson the first time around and the fact that she may be going online again is scary.

I understand Mrs. Drew has to work so she can care for her family. However, I do not trust her whatsoever when it comes to the internet. She has proven that she cannot behave responsibly online and will repeat these same behaviors because she knows she will not be punished for her actions. That was the lesson that was learned the first time around. Besides, allowing this woman back online is like handing a serial killer a loaded gun. Now would anyone in their right mind even go there? Something to think about.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Farrah Battles the Bullies with Legislation

Well, like many Americans on Friday night, I sat down and watched the NBC special about 70’s icon Farrah Fawcett and her battle with cancer. It was a 2 hour long documentary that included watching Farrah go through some of the hardest times in her battle with anal cancer. Plus, the support of Alana Stewart and her long time partner Ryan O’Neal. I remember Farrah well from my 70’s childhood as I thought she, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson were three of the “baddest” women on TV as I was a huge Charlie’s Angels fan like every other little girl of that time. Also, I remember the poster in the red bathing suit that everyone had in their homes back in the day. As she moved on from Charlie’s Angels, she met Ryan O’Neal and they were together for a long time. They even share a child Redmond who is in his mid 20’s by now. So, I decided to watch the documentary as I also knew her rights to privacy were violated during her battle with cancer. However, I was not aware as to how far this went.

As I watched this documentary, I saw where the paparazzi was everywhere and would not leave her alone. They were reporting falsehoods in the Enquirer and other tabloid fodder that has nothing better to do than fabricate things. We saw a video of Farrah and I think it was Alana where they were leaving the hospital. Farrah was in a wheelchair holding one of those standard hospital buckets up to her as she was getting sick from the chemo. She had to cover her head when they left because the paparazzi was waiting for her to leave. Not only did they snap those photos but got right in her face, yes, her face with those cameras. I was enraged when I saw that happening. You could hear Farrah say “they always like to get me while in a wheelchair”. So, this was not a one time deal but was happening a lot! We see them at LAX and other places while she was trying to deal with this raging illness and they would not leave her alone. Then, we learn there was a leak at UCLA who violated the Privacy Act and all ethics went out the window. I was floored by this. The paparazzi are one thing but a Doctor at UCLA? When does this ever stop? Since when is it okay to harass and stalk someone when they are battling an illness such as this? Where is the compassion? The empathy for fellow man? I jumped online quickly, found a site called Farrahs Law and signed the petition they have to try and stop this. Not only is Farrah battling cancer but is trying to get legislation going to stop this type of treatment and violation of rights.

Folks, this is just one more form of bullying and Peer Abuse. I know some will disagree but it needs to be said. She was and is in a vulnerable position and these paparazzi jumped on it as a way to benefit themselves. They stalked, harassed and eventually found someone to help them break privacy laws. Bullies stalk and harass and these paparazzi are no different. Also, this was done secretly at UCLA and behind her back which is how bullies operate. I do not know what this Doctor thought he would gain by doing what he did but he should never be allowed to practice medicine again if you ask me. Lets not forget that lies were formed and put out there for everyone else to read. I saw where some of these tabloids and other paparazzi knew about Farrah’s cancer returning before her family and friends knew! They took what they had and printed it before she had a chance to tell them! Where is the empathy? Compassion? How do these people even sleep at night?

Please, if you have a chance, visit the Farrahs Law site and see how you can help. These paparazzi are nothing more than bullies and their lack of conscience is coming through loud and clear. This is very common with bullies. Despite what Ryan O’Neal has done in the past, you have to commend him for standing by Farrah through this and the same with Alana Stewart. Farrah is lucky to have a support system in them. This is illness is horrible and anyone dealing with it deserves compassion and not stress. As for the paparazzi, please stop abusing Farrah. What has she ever done to you?

Resource Cited:

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Bully on the Apprentice

Last night I sat down in front of my tube and watched three long and grueling hours of the Celebrity Apprentice. I have always watched this show to see the dynamics and if any abuse of ones peers occurs. Of course, every season there is someone who just cannot help themselves. After a few episodes, one or two bullies manage to unravel and show themselves for who they are. The second season of the Celebrity Apprentice is no different. As Donald Trump has had this show on the air since 2004, I have found the concept of having celebrities come on there appealing. They are giving back through their charities that they support and much money is raised for the greater good. You cannot go wrong there. The Donald does have a heart and I commend him for using this format for his show instead of looking to hire people for his organization as was done in the past.

This season there were a variety of celebrities from Andrew Dice Clay, Clint Black, Jesse James and others. After weeks of completing grueling tasks, the final two standing were Poker Player/Champion Annie Duke and Comedian/Designer/Producer/Fashion Police Joan Rivers. Both ladies are intelligent, sharp and did well. However, what stood out to me was the behavior of both of these ladies. They despised one another and had a season long feud. Annie felt attacked by Joan where as Joan saw right through Annie and her behavior and called a spade a spade. The bottom line came down to the good vs. evil. At the end, The Donald picked Joan Rivers and in my opinion, did the right thing.

Joan Rivers is one tough lady. At her age, she showed extreme strength throughout the show. Sure, she is outspoken, brash, very assertive and never held back on what she really thought. True, she had her moments with Clint Black and other team members. However, was always able to move on and focus on the task at hand. She made it clear that she was there for her charity and to do something good for someone else. You knew where she stood. She also saw right through Annie Duke. I watched Annie on the show and watched her behavior. She called people on her cell phone and yelled at them and used many words that were “beeped” out. She always wanted to be around people she felt she could control. I saw the task between herself, Melissa Rivers and Brandi when Melissa felt like the odd girl out. I knew exactly what those two were doing to Melissa and Melissa’s feelings were very normal considering the situation she was in. Annie was condescending towards her peers which was troublesome. I watched her last night and saw how she talked to Tom and Dennis. I watched her call every contact she had and talked about Joan and how she did this and that with the designers. Every chance she had she attacked Joan and her character behind Joan’s back. Her goal was to “bring this woman down.” Even though Joan held contempt towards Annie and let her know it, she kept it out of the task at hand. She did not go on the phone and trash Annie to others, she kept it in the board room. So, who is the real bully here? The brash lady who had a purpose and held onto it or the poker player who “played” her way through the show?

Joan is not perfect by any stretch. However, I give her props for being perceptive and saw right through Annies behavior. I saw the same stuff as a viewer. However, Joan was not condescending to her peers. She had disagreements and they were usually resolved by the next episode. True, she should not have called Annie “white trash”, a “Nazi” and trash half of Vegas for their profession. That was a little harsh. However, she was not manipulative, did not play “odd girl out” games, focused on the purpose, did not bad mouth Annie to others away from the situation. Annie continuously brought these things up in the board room and during tasks. I watched Annie’s behavior and I found it to be very troubling. Also, very common in our workplace today. I have worked for people like Annie before and was not fun whatsoever. Annie is a workplace bully in my opinion and was glad to see Joan win. You look at the two ladies and really, at the end of the day, who was the real bully? Even though Joan used harsh words, she did not do so repeatedly. Annie did not know when to quit! She always knew who to tell these things to and where to tell them.

A person can be harsh, brash and outspoken. However, that does not make them a bully. Joan saw right through Annie’s manipulations and games and called Annie on them every time. Annie’s behavior was casebook Peer Abuse. I was happy that Trump did the right thing and picked Joan. Joan may not be perfect but she sure knew how to bring down a bully. Nobody can go wrong there.

Resource Cited:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ten Years Later: A Look at Columbine

Well, here we are. Ten years to the day since that horrific day in Littleton, Colorado. A day that forever changed history in the world of Peer Abuse and bullying. It is a day that is hard to comprehend and a day that has left many to speculate. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris came to Columbine High School and created what is the greatest school massacre in US History. They killed 12 students, wounded 23 others then killed themselves. After this event, we all started to speculate as to why this happened and heard reasons from Harris being a psychopath, a love of violence, they were bullied and isolated and of course video games. Lets not forget the media, parenting skills and the fact they did not know Jesus. All could be a reason for what happened and make for a good argument in all of this. All could have factored into it. I have seen homemade videos they made while planning this event as they came out later in the news. In the videos, they share a love of violence, ground zero which was the school and the jocks and others who they believed acted superior to them. I saw a lot of anger, frustration and cries for help in the videos. Two bright young men who could have had bright futures but instead felt the world let them down. Well guess what? The world did fail them and in my opinion, we still do.

Lets face it folks. These boys were bullied and this came out in a loud manner soon after the fact. I have heard many stories about the abuse they suffered at school. People started listening and paying attention and this gave a whole new meaning to bullying. It jumpstarted many programs, books, websites and experts coming out of the wood work. Then people explored other factors like the fact that Eric was homicidal, they played too many video games and were just plain evil. One thing that I have seen for the zillionth time is societies need to once again excuse this problem. No, it was not the bullying at all! The videos say it all and these boys were homicidal and just plain bad. Yes, have heard it all ad nauseam. It makes me sick to be honest. Were these so called people actually students at Columbine when this occurred? Were they tight with Dylan, Eric or their families? The initial feedback led us all back to the fact that they were bullied and in large doses. So why try and excuse this once again? Where do investigators go to find answers? They go to the source. The source was the school and the feedback given was the boys were bullied. Who gave the information? People at the school. Think about it, folks.

On this day, I pose questions to those who are reading this. If these boys were not bullied then why was ground zero the school? Why not Target, grocery stores or laundromats? A church, playground or the local mall? The local hangout for the kids in Littleton? They could have gone anywhere in the community yet they went to the school. Also, why did they mention jocks and those who they felt wronged them in the videos? Because a video game told them to?

Its been ten years and this event woke society up to the fact that bullying might actually be a problem. Programs are set up, books are written and the mindset is changing. However, we have a way to go in this. This is still not seen as a clinical problem nor is it considered what it really is and that is abuse. Elder Abuse became an issue after Columbine and it is already listed on government forms and that angers me because this is not. On this day, please take a minute and get serious about this! Take a minute to educate someone you know. Help raise awareness and do something kind for someone else. My condolences to all who lost someone in this tragedy. It could have been prevented with a little awareness and education from society. Hopefully the excuses will stop and folks will see this for what it is and that is abuse; Peer Abuse!

Resource Cited:

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Celebs are Bullied Too!

Another week and another Google Alert. I opened one recently that talked about celebrities who were bullied growing up. Also, saw information on the recent book written by Miley Cyrus entitled Miles to Go where bullies locked her in a bathroom for over an hour and she thought nobody would ever come and save her. Jessica Simpson mentioned having eggs thrown at her house and toilet papered. Others like Tom Cruise and Taylor Swift also shared memories of being at the hands of these little criminals in training during childhood. Fame has entered their lives and sadly, I do not believe any bullying has stopped. Its grown worse if you ask me.

The lives of celebrities are under a microscope. The public cannot get enough of them. Fans sometimes do not know when to leave them alone. Society has taught us to worship these people and as a result, we expect them to always be nice, giving and live up to the pedestals we put them on. If they have a bad day, forget to sign an autograph or walk out of the house with a shirt that does not settle with fans or others, they are sure to see it plastered all over the internet and be one of the top searches in a search engine. I live in Los Angeles and I have seen the paparazzi chase these people with cameras and cars. There is no privacy in their lives and that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness goes out the window. The public believes that since they are who they are, they must share every aspect of their lives with the rest of us. In other words, we expect them to live as they do because of who they are.

I have to just say it and that is celebrities live their lives being bullied. They are stalked, harassed, slandered, pressured by their peers and are expected to live perfect lives. One step over the line and they are crucified. They have no rights and cannot even throw out the trash without people going through it. Society feels that not only are they expected to be perfect but when they do fail or something bad happens, everyone cannot wait to get their hands on the magazines, tabloids and other fodder. If you ask me, it’s a wonder they can keep their sanity as living under a microscope can be really hard. Sure, they have money but is it really worth all of this? Humans are not wired to exist like this and no wonder many spiral out of control.

Celebrities are people like the rest of us. It just happens that their work is in the public eye whether it be television or radio. In a lot of ways they are like the rest of us. Some have families to support with children to raise. Others use that money to pay the high taxes they accumulate. Some are not even asked to be celebrities as they are born into this lifestyle. Most importantly, they are not superhuman and are fallible like the rest of us. Celebrity Worship Syndrome is a serious problem and we need to stop bullying them and allow them to live that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness like the rest of us. Put yourselves in their shoes for a minute. How would you feel if you had to leave your home incognito everyday? Getting daily threats in the mail and having to protect your children from kidnapping possibilities? Watch everything you do in public or always running away from paparazzi? You could not even drive to Burger King for a Whopper without someone finding out! Have your friends sell you out for money or you get blackmailed? Something to certainly think about in all of this. Is it really necessary? Can’t we just let them live and let live?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Real Bully is Holly J!

As a teen back in the late 80’s and early 90‘s, I use to watch Degrassi High on the PBS network. Then we entered the 21st century and a network called The-N started airing Degrassi The Next Generation which was the same school and the next generation of kids like Spikes daughter Emma. This show has been alive since 2001 and I have watched episodes like Spike and Snakes wedding and a school shooting. Since then I have seen maybe a handful of episodes. Someone tipped me off to one this weekend that aired on The-N. Oh man, was it one humdinger!

There is a character on there by the name of Holly J Sinclair. I did some research on this character and found out she was not only a female bully but she manipulated her best friend (Anya) into cheating on an assignment for a class and proceeded to turn Anya in for cheating. Not only that, she was appointed head cheerleader and Student Council President by the Principal without auditions or elections. If that does not beat all, she gave a tabloid some bad gossip about a fellow cheerleader named Mia who is a model and has grabbed a bit of fame as a result. Her fellow cheerleaders kicked her off the squad as a result. Finally, she is getting some comeuppance here! This girl has taken Queen Bees to a whole new level. One would think she learned something from this, right? Wrong!

On this episode, it begins with a girl named Ali and a friend walking down the hall at school. We see Holly J watching the cheerleaders practice and see Ali tell her friend that someone seems bitter for not being on the squad any longer. Holly J turns around and says something smart in return. A somewhat bitter exchange takes place between the two girls which leads Holly J to approach a boy that Ali has liked but because he is a senior and she is in the 9th grade, he will not go out with her. He denies knowing Ali when Holly J questions him and we see him tell Ali that they cannot be together. This angers Ali who rants that she “hates Holly J!”. Holly J, showing no remorse, keeps on like nothing happened. Ali decides to take action since nothing can be done to stop Holly J. Ali creates an online group entitled “I Hate Holly J” and over 400 students sign up. It starts with insults but leads further with comments like “I want to strangle her with my bare hands” and someone else says “I will bring the rope.” Needless to say, this leads Snake to talk with Ali and her father at school and we learn Holly J will not leave her room at home as a result of this. Ali is suspended and Holly J’s parents go to the police. Ali gets a warning but now has a record, is suspended from school and is grounded for two months and has a loss of computer privileges. She also goes to Holly J’s home with Anya and apologizes. When she returns to school, she gives a public apology and says her lesson is learned after seeing what it did to Holly J. We learn she is also banned from the website where the group was created.
What occurred here was horrible. Comments such as strangling anyone and bringing rope are good reasons to involve not only the school but the police as well. Ali really crossed a line here and yes, deserved what she got. I would have done the same thing if it were me. What bothers me is that Holly J’s behavior has never been stellar either. Why she even started in on Ali is what puzzles me. Ali was not talking to her but her friend and stating an opinion when the episode started. Holly J then takes it further by confronting that boy and we see her later in the cafeteria talking to more people and Ali gets teased as a result. Some of the things Holly J has done have been horrific yet what did she learn from all of this? She never learned a lesson by being kicked off of her cheerleading squad. She got away with turning her friend in and doing other things.

Who do I believe is the real bully here? The bully is Holly J and not Ali. Ali was angry and learned something from the experience. Plus, she showed and expressed remorse. Anger is a normal reaction and Ali found a way to stand up to this girl. She’s a 14 year old girl who is self centered but was remorseful and will probably not pull anything like this again. She was punished fairly as a result and Holly J has yet to express remorse for any of her actions. As a matter of fact, her sense of entitlement increased by being appointed cheerleading captain and school president. Again, a lot of this is being told to me via word of mouth and research but again, Ali probably came off as a bully but the real bully is Holly J. Manipulations, cheating, taunting, spreading gossip and hurting others is what she does. Plus, her sense of entitlement. This right here is what bullies are made of. I hope after this incident, she will learn something but I doubt it. I think she owes Ali an apology for even starting anything in the first place.

Folks, there is a difference in being angry and being a bully. A 14 year old girl who is angry is not left with many resources as to how to deal with this. So, she took the only way she felt she could to stand up to this girl and to make her stop her bullying. She was caught and punished and yes, what she did was wrong. She should have gone to an adult or listened to her friend who kept telling her what she was doing was wrong. Perhaps they could have found a solution in this. Bullies are angry but they keep problems going. They stir up trouble and manipulate. Also, they sell others out with bad gossip. Most importantly, they never seem to learn lessons nor do they show remorse for any actions. The key here is remorse and if a person never shows any, chances are they are your true bullies. Something to think about here…

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pink Day is Celebrated in South Carolina

This past Wednesday, Pink Day was held in Canada. Pink Day is an annual day where people wear something pink and take a stand against bullying. This originated in Nova Scotia at a high school where a young man wore a pink shirt one day to school. The bullies gave him a terrible time about it. Instead of feeding into this garbage, students decided to wear pink shirts to show these bullies that they would not be pushed around by them. Over time this caught on and became a national issue. However, it is now going international. I know I wore my pink on Wednesday and without a doubt took a stand.

I grew up in South Carolina and was the instigator of the Anti-Bullying Law that now exists there. This law mandates that schools take a stand against bullying and must hold programs once a year or they will be fined. In other words, this crap will not fly in South Carolina any longer. So, when I saw that Wilder Elementary School in Sumter celebrated Pink Day, I was tickled to death. Two police officers Anthony Dennis and Major Hampton Gardner set the bar by wearing pink that day. The school also took an interest and together, this prompted the fifth graders to put this together. On Wednesday, kids wore pink along with faculty and the two officers. Boys generally wear darker colors and if they wear pink, a lot of times they get bullied because this is more of a feminine color. I know this is what prompted the young man in Nova Scotia to be abused by his peers. On Wednesday, one Wilder student stated he was wearing pink and that tough guys wear pink to. Wow! How refreshing to go to school, choosing to wear whatever color is wished and others accepting it.

We need to let go of these stereotypes and stop giving one another a hard time just because we do or see someone wearing a color they choose or shirt or whatever. If someone wants to wear pink, why should it matter? What is wrong with trying to be an individual? As citizens, we are entitled to that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Well in the USA we are but am sure Canada has their own laws and liberties like we do. If wearing pink makes a big tough guy happy, so be it. If wearing pink makes anyone happy, so be it. I like the color pink as it is bright and bright colors create positive energy. Please, stop giving others a hard time for wanting to be themselves. Why is it so important to conform? We are all entitled to liberties and bullies, stop trying to violate those! I am glad Pink Day exists and I hope those bullies were put in their place because they deserved it. Most importantly, I am happy to see that the law in South Carolina is working. To me, this is huge progress.

Resource Cited:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lawmakers Enable this Problem

Recently, I wrote a statement for SB 494 in Montana about the psychological affects that occur when peer abuse at work is occurring. A woman who was abused at work drew up the legislative information and spoke last week to these lawmakers about this. There is now a chance this bill may die.

The workplace has become a battleground in many cases. Office politics is a serious problem and like cancer, does not seem to want to diminish anytime soon. Bullies come in and keep things in an uproar. Micro inequities are an issue that nobody seems to address yet fuels this problem. Targets are developing anxiety, depression and suffer extreme stress as a result of this. Plus, work performance decreases. Who can do a good job with a bully breathing down their backs? As a result of all of this, money is lost daily within the organization. After a period of time, the politics start running rampant and people forget why they are even employed in the first place. Trust me, I have been there and I know I am not alone.

As I have written some of these lawmakers, I have been appalled at their attitudes this. One has stated that by trying to curb this problem, it equates to communism. Another let it be known that the government does not need to be sitting in the back of the office when it doesn’t need to. Communism? Nobody is suggesting this here. All someone wants to do is remedy this problem so people can go to work, do their jobs in a productive manner and go home without having to deal with useless crap on a daily basis. What kind of a world do we live in where people turn away from helping one another? Folks, this is a serious problem! When workers develop stress and depression, this a problem. When losing money these days, it is a problem and a bad one. We cannot afford to loose anymore money in this nation! When people are not living life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, it’s a bad problem and a huge violation. This is a problem and it needs to be fixed! Why do people continue to enable this bullying problem? Why don’t they call a spade a spade and see it for what it is and that is abuse?

Please, when you go to work, do what you can to keep the environment a healthy one. Do not get involved in the gossip, games and bandwagons to get others fired unless they have committed a serious crime. Isn’t there enough stress out there?

Resource Cited

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Adult Survivors Face Their Demons

This past Friday, my mother called and told me about something in her local newspaper about adults who were bullied as children encountering their former bullies on social sites such as Facebook and MySpace. As this is something I am dealing with in my own life right now, I really wanted to see this and did a search online. Its not only me but other adult survivors of peer abuse are facing this on these sites. I have had several tell me about this. One became so upset all over again that it was a shock to the system. Another set up a cause page and encouraged former bullies to donate to the bullying cause. One saw the friend request, wrote the bully back and let them know what they did and how it affected them. The bully wrote back, sent scathing messages over and over and took absolutely no responsibility for their actions. The only way the person got them to stop was by blocking them.

There are many adults out there who were abused by their peers as children and are on these sites. There is a feature for reconnecting with old friends from school and work so if you list these schools or former places of employment on your profile, with one click they can easily look and get a blast from the past so to speak. This abuse for some was mild and would be isolated events. Overcoming it was not a problem for them and probably resolved these issues with their bully before entering adulthood. Or, some may remember this, can remember it in a bad light and how it affected them but not really think much about it. So, letting bygones be bygones was not such a big thing and went ahead and accepted these tormentors on their pages. After all, life is too short, right? Yet what about those who were fed this abuse in strong doses and it affected them psychologically? The scars are there and may be there for the remainder of their lives. A daily cocktail of anti-depressants is what keeps them sane. So, they come on these social sites and see that one of the people that added to this damage is sending a friend request? What about these survivors? How do they handle this problem?

Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post gave some great advice. True, these bullies may have reformed and are different now. We don’t know whether this has happened or not. They may want to make amends or apologize. This could be a way of setting the record straight. There are some positives to this. However, those who are severe cases may find this too upsetting. A friend request is sent. No message or even “hello, how are you” in the request. The bully sends a request and behaves as if nothing ever happened. How does one deal with this? Here is what I can suggest. First off, it is basically up to the person and the severity of the abuse. We must forgive these tormenters as hard as it is. If we want to be forgiven we must forgive others. However, this does not mean we have to become friends on social sites and welcome them with open arms into our lives. One does not know if this person has changed or not and taking that risk may be hard. I do know that by them sending these requests and behaving as if nothing has happened, chances are they are still bullies. Folks, hard core bullies do not grow up but grow worse. Many are narcissistic and pathological. Those who run in and out of our lives, hurt us to the core and always come back like nothing ever happened are those who more than likely lack having a conscience. Those with a conscience are going to be remorseful in what happened and will tell you so right off the bat. It is a matter of reading between the lines here.

Basically, its up to the person and if they are ready to do this or not. I do know some are not ready and that’s okay. One went into shock at seeing these people on there. It is upsetting to see these people and if it is too upsetting, that person needs to block these people. You wish them well and forgive them but block them until ready to do otherwise. They are no longer a part of your life and why add any pain to it? Not only block them if upsetting but observe their behavior through mutual friends on the site. See if they are exclusive in who they will accept as friends or not. Are they seeking attention in some way or minding their own business? Bullies love to be in charge and in control. Something to consider here. However, if you can add them and not be upset, do so. Again, a lot of this is a matter of the severity of the abuse and whether the person can handle it or not. If you are a survivor with a severe case, don’t do anything to add to the trauma. If you are one who is and can let bygones be bygones, go ahead. Just be careful is all I can say. After all, what happens when a rape victim comes face to face with their rapist? Or, a child faces the parent that abused them and left deep scars? Do we suggest happily ever after in these cases? Something to really think about in all of this.