Last week was Awareness Week, hosted by the Associated Student Government and the Health Center. The purpose of this week-long event was to bring topics like suicide, substance abuse, and sexual violence. I believe that an anti-bullying message should have been more apparent.
With bullying-induced suicide, known as bullycide, on the rise, it is more important now than ever to stand against bullying. Young-Shin Kim, a professor at Yale University, conducted a study which found that people who are victims of bullying are 5.6 times more at risk of attempting or thinking about suicide.
Bullying is an enormous problem in our society. The term bullying encompasses everything from playground roughhousing at school, to intimidation in the workplace, all the way up to abuses of power in the military.
Bryan Stow, 42, of Santa Cruz, is still in a coma after the March 31 Dodgers vs Giants game. Stow was beaten to the point of brain damage, according to doctors, and was put in a medically-induced coma for a number of life saving surgeries that were performed. According to CBS San Fransisco, Stow was scared about leaving the stadium, and then was assaulted along with his friends in a parking lot after the game.
The Gay Straight Alliance at Saddleback held a demonstration in support of the national day of silence to prevent Anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender bullying, last Thursday in the quad. Bullying is known to have caused several suicides in the last year alone in the LGBT community.
Bullying happens for a number of reasons. The least of which is people making themselves vulnerable to it. According to stopbullying.gov, it is more difficult to get the bullies themselves to change, rather than to work to prevent bullying as a whole. With social media an everyday part of our lives, some people choose to take video of someone being bullied, rather than taking any action to prevent it.
It is important to report bullying in order to help the victim. Verbal abuse and physical abuse are both equally important to report to any available authority. If a fight breaks out, it may be difficult to get involved, but it is important to, at the very least, call out for help. A first reaction should not be to grab a cellphone and start recording.
YouTube has a plethora of videos where bullies injure or harass their victims with no intervention from onlookers. It is shocking that people would not call for help or call the police when someone is being physically or verbally abused. If you were being assaulted, would you want someone to help you? Or would you prefer a video hosted online of your potentially life-threatening encounter?