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Four Bullying Stories-One Common Missing Link

Stand Up for YourselfFour news stories on bullying – one common thread that is missing from them all.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, a 17 year old girl was taken off of life support after she hanged herself last week. She hanged herself because she was a depressed, bullied victim of a rape – by four teenage boys – one of whom photographed the assault. To make things worse, the photo went viral and the girl was bullied because of the photo and the incident. To top it off, the police found "insufficient evidence" after a year-long investigation to charge any of the four boys with any crime.

Devin Brown, a 13 year old boy from Columbus, Georgia hanged himself with a belt after performing a heroic act at school.

Brown was called a hero after reporting a classmate who had brought a knife to school and threatened to kill a teacher. While he was hailed as a hero by the school, he was bullied mercilessly, called a "snitch" and repeatedly jumped and beaten on the way home from school. Brown was said to have had mixed martial arts as one of his hobbies, which I will make a point about in a minute.

In an article on NJ.com, Joseph Cohn, Legislative and Policy Director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education points out that in the wake of the Rutgers Coaching Scandal that Federal bullying legislation is not the answer to the Rutgers scandal or incidents of bullying. He says that local, state and Federal policies, regulations and laws already exist and the focus should be on enforcement, not more legislation that is so broad that it can actually infringe upon the First Amendment.

Lastly, an article from the Ohio Valley Legal Examiner speaks to how bullying lawsuits are on the rise, as bullying victims are finding it the last recourse after going to the teachers, schools, administrators and authorities and the bullying is not stopped. The author/attorney goes on to say that while some judgements for the victims have been overturned, it is usually after some sort of settlement has already been agreed to between the victims and defendants in the cases.

Four stories – one missing link that I can see…

Where in these cases did the victims EVER stand up for themselves? Not by reporting it to someone, but standing their ground and standing up for themselves directly to the parties involved?

In the case of Devin Brown, he as supposed to have mixed martial arts training, but he still hanged himself for being bullied, he was still picked on and he was still jumped and beat up on the way home from school.

Standing up for yourself is tough. It is a scary proposition when you stand up and face the chest-gripping fear that comes along with feeling truly alone; that no one can help you, no one is there and no one is coming to the rescue. It can drive you to drink, do drugs, anxiety, depression and more. I know, because I have done it, I know how hard it is and I know what I went through dealing with the aftermath. But – and this is a big BUT – the ONE TIME you stand up for yourself – in the face of great odds, in the face of public ridicule, in the face of knowing you are going to get a butt-whippin' – it transforms you forever.

In the Marines and martial arts, we had a saying that went, "It ain't so bad"; we used it anytime something was tough, or we didn't want to do it, or we were mentally, physically or emotionally suffering. It was our way of reminding ourselves (or tricking ourselves) into thinking that we could handle whatever it was we were facing. That idea is what got me through – and could get you or anyone you know – through tough times, especially when it comes to bullying.

For all the parties in these stories, I feel for them because I did not get the sense in their stories that they ever thought they could stand up for themselves and fight back in any way possible – or they didn't know how. In the case of the story with bullying lawsuits on the rise, that is AFTER the fact; the bullying has already happened, as has the damage that goes along with being bullied. In the case of the story about more regulation not being needed, the focus in on enforcement of existing policy, which we all know is NOT working or bullying would not be getting worse.

I have many success stories that I share in the book that I will be posting on this site; I also have some new ones that have come in since the release of the new book, "Bullies Suck". In many cases, people are taking back their power from the bullies in their lives when they realize that they do not need permission to stand up for themselves and are doing so – even though it is scary.

You are stronger than you realize. You can do it. If someone else has done it, you can do it, too.

Stay strong,


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