Beautiful piece on prejudice written by one of my great friends, Jessica
July 22, 2012 by TheChristinaKim
Below is an essay my friend, Jessica, wrote for her English class back in England. Please read this and think the next time you want to say something harsh about someone, be it for their looks, size, orientation, or for no apparent reason. This beautiful young lady is a free spirit, who has been there for me in some of my dark days. Jessica, you are a star, shining bright in this world, and I am grateful to have you in my life. May yours be a life full of joys, and I hope we stay friends forever. I am here for you always, day or night.
“For part of our English GCSE we had to devise a persuasive speech on any topic we wanted, then perform it to an audience; mine being my class. We were told the facts didn’t have to add up, as long as they seemed plausible- the main focus of the speech being on polishing up persuasive techniques and making it as compelling as possible. It turned out everyone did very well, and we were all pretty much in favour of every speech that came out. Unlike some of the other speeches though, all these facts are true. Because this is an area very close to my heart, I wanted to research it very thoroughly and bring up the raw facts. After all, what can be more compelling than the harsh truth? I wanted to shock people.. Make them realise that it does go on, and that with the growth of the Internet it’s only getting worse. I wanted people to look at this from a different perspective. Stand in someone else’s Converse for a change. And shake them right to the very core. Because in this matter, sugar coating is not what’s needed. The world needs to be taken by the shoulders and given a King-Kong-esque shaking. Otherwise they won’t wake up and see that something needs to change. If this affects one person. Saves one person’s life, or even from being given a wedgie one time.. Then I’ve made a difference. And that to me is better than sitting back and hoping someone else will do it for you. So I’m grabbing the bull by the horns, and along with millions of others, campaigning to eliminate bullying. Not necessarily make it against the law as I wrote in my speech (we had to create a steadfast case for something and this was a good option) as my good friend pointed out – illegalising it would open up a whole can of worms in terms of the extent of the bullying, what could be classified as bullying, the fact that even though bullying is a more than horrific ordeal it can make you stronger, some people don’t even realise what they’re saying and the impact it’s creating, and that it’s kind of wrong to lock up a six year old for breaking your toy train.. ” -Jessica
This is written in speech format, so if it sounds a little different to classic prose, that’s why.. And being told we could write about anything stunned me for a little while.. I was honestly lost. But then I thought. So many children, and hell, adults out there can’t speak or don’t have anyone to speak for themselves. And I’m being given an opportunity to do it for them. So I did.
There will always be that someone you would do anything for. Picture their face in your head; study it, and relish it, be it father, sister, or a friend; that face you’d climb Everest to make smile. But some are better than others at concealing things beneath their seemingly calm and collective veneer, and ever-present smile. Bodily scars are visible, etched on the skin for a given amount of time, but they soon fade away, with little evidence of their existence. Emotional scars are harder to find, and can be much more damaging. Unlike those of the physical variety, these make themselves scarce, but they are always there; not something you can patch up with some tape and an eye patch. They are there for life, irreversible, all-consuming, all-knowing; hidden to the naked eye with as little as a smile. The line between banter and bulling is one that is frequently crossed, but because it is so frequently crossed, it’s hard to judge when it’s been overstepped. This is why, especially in this school where corridors are rife with careless comments, it’s hard to pinpoint, and cork. But feelings are much harder to bottle up than champagne.
‘It’s this hollow feeling that starts at your heart. A stabbing pain takes over the hollowness and you cry in anguish. It’s nothing compared to the death of your grandfather. Because your best friend is around the same age as you. You don’t expect them to leave so young. The pain is like a rusty blade, piercing your heart repeatedly, over. And over. And over. Your mind goes through all the memories you’ve had since day one. The tears overwhelm your eyes and you cannot see. Your eyes sting with the pain. Crying over and over. This pain is so unbearable. You cannot breathe anymore… Is this how he felt? Finally, you can fly away like you always wanted, for you are in the arms of the angels now. I love you always.’
The words of Colleen Chavalier, writing a blog to break the news to the world of her best friend, Jamie Hubley’s suicide on Friday 14th October 2011. If anyone would listen. But they did. Jamie’s death made headlines around the world, and more and more teenage suicides are making the news. He was just 15 years old. His crime? Being unashamedly gay. Through this, the Trevor Project was created, which is a suicide prevention organisation for the LGBT community. But I believe more should be done, because campaigning and detentions aren’t enough. Do you really believe a time-wasting detention, bereft of any significance in the grand scheme of things will deter a bully from their next victim? You may think suicide is a bit far-fetched for the average bully victim, but in 2004 there were 4,599 teenage suicides, the overriding cause being Depression, due to self-hatred, thanks to bullying. And that’s only the reported ones, before people cottoned on to the idea of using social media on the internet to victimize and humiliate. If you sit down and think about it, we are all born differently; no two of us are exactly alike, so if we choose to live our lives or act differently, why does that make us a bad person, abused for simply being who we are? In 2007 the rate of teenage suicides increased to it’s highest jump in 15 years, with a 119% increase in the method of hanging and suffocation. That increase was in girls aged 10-14 years. Do you have any little sisters or friends? You just can’t imagine it. It rips you apart. And official reports state the LGBT community are 2-3 times as likely to attempt suicide. This is why Bullying needs to become an official crime and therefore illegal. PSE talks and trips to the Headmaster simply aren’t effective enough. Action needs to be taken now, before it becomes too late. But the extent to which some are abused goes beyond what is socially or morally acceptable. 14 year old Jamie Rodemeyer wrote on his blog “i always say how bullied i am but no one listens. What do I have to do so that people will listen to me?’’ Found by his parents, just hours after his death. After his wake, the bullies at his school were found chanting ‘we’re glad you’re dead’ and yelling hateful chants. Being bullied after death. When will you finally leave them alone? Is beyond the grave not far enough? You wanted them gone, and now they finally are yet you still persist to slur the names of boys and girls who just want to live their lives free from oppression and labels and just be themselves. Is being an individual, what we are all born, for none of us are truly the same, such an offense? The openly gay student posted a video on YouTube months before his death, when the bullying for a while slowed down, saying ‘it gets better’, quoting the foundation set up with the same name in response to the growing number of LGBT suicides, in which successful adults post videos to troubled teenagers assuring them that there is a huge amount of respect for them out there, and that people are listening, and there is hope. In the video he promised others bullied like him that things do improve, and that friends had a huge impact on him feeling secure and safe, leading parents and friends to believe his future was bright. . Unfortunately, though things did not get better for Jamey and he took his life 4 months after the video was posted after the culmination of years of merciless bullying online and playground taunts from peers.
Friendship and love though do help so much with cases of bullying; the knowledge that there are people out there who love you and accept you for who you are gets you through the day, and a lack of this is what leads to desperate measures like suicide which are taken purely because they want to feel loved, and that they do have a place in this world. Stepping out of your comfort zone to stand up or help another may do more than you know. But I am now, being given a chance to speak, so I will speak for those that aren’t given the chance to. For those that find themselves shouting, with no-one to hear. For those that were and still are being ignored, which is the ultimate killer. If we don’t step back and realise the consequences of our own actions, it may be too late. Don’t let that someone you love suffer what Jamie Hubley and Rodemeyer, and the thousands that took their own lives suffered. I will fight. So I can be broken. I will fly. So I can be shot down. And I will speak. So they can be heard.
It gets better. I promise.