Anyone who has read my occasional rants here is probably aware that my personal vexation is the tormenting of teenage girls through bullying. As Laci is wont to say, "There's no need for it!" Indeed.
I was reading my local paper this morning when I came across another article chronicling the suicide of a 14 year old girl in Florida after she'd suffered through relentless emotional bullying by her peers. It's apparently unclear what otherness she possessed to draw the ire of the hyenas. The author made the remarkably naive statement that middle school is a rough place, especially for girls. Duh!
That's one of the things that bothers me so goddamned much. Its girls doing it to girls. Are girls more morally corrupt now that 50 years ago? 30? In my own area, the news told us of two 15 year old girls who put a kitten in a goddamned MICROWAVE to see what would happen, videotaping the disgusting experiment in the process so they could post it to Twitter! WTF!! At least in this case, the kitten survived none the worse for wear. Not so the girl in Florida.
Bullying has always been around, but now its gone high tech. Now there is no escaping it once the bullies choose a victim. I came of age long before the age of Facebook and Twitter; I'm still often confounded by the vagaries of posting here. When I was in middle school, a computer was a calculator, a slide rule, and a Royal typewriter, a cell phone was a black AT&T wall mount, an iPod a Sony Walkman. Yes, bullying was alive and well, but at least it was done face-to-face, or at least face-to-back. No more. On Facebook, "Loser", "Bitch", "Die and get it over with." The viciousness is on an unrelenting 24 hour cycle, until...
I personally am very familiar with the cries of the Banshees, though not from bullying. They can be very seductive with their moans, promising to end the pain. Can you imagine inner pain and torment so great, so unbearable, that it would lead a 14 year old girl to deliberately climb a tower, knowing every step of the way exactly why she was putting one foot in front of the other, then looking down and jumping? It absolutely boggles my unfortunately vivid imagination.
Now the question in my mind is Where the FUCK were the adults in all this? There is no goddamned excuse -- NONE -- for adults to blow off that savage bullying by saying, "That's part of growing up," or "Kids will be kids." Bullshit, unmitigated bullshit! Shame should be the least of their sentences. It makes me feel a sense of relief that I didn't have a daughter. I had a son who was smart, self-confidant, athletic, and morally sound. He was not going to be bullied or engage in bullying. I simply would not have tolerated that kind of frigging behavior in my flesh and blood.
I'm still left to wonder what this girl's "otherness" was to draw the attention of the pack. Was she gay? Shy? Too smart? Homely? Fat? Ethnically different?
Another young life snuffed out because of unreasoning hatefulness. It's worth repeating, but is it any wonder that I and so many of my peers chose to build stout closets to hide our otherness' in when we plodded our way through adolescent life in an age we're now told wasn't as morally enlightened as this one?
The more things change, the more they stay the same.