I finally watched the documentary Bully. People had been talking about it in my earshot for a while but I was scared to see it. I’ve seen the stories. The kids driven to suicide because of the torture they’ve had to go through every day.

I was never bullied that way. There were people who were not nice to me. There was one guy who seemed to hate me for no reason I could discern, but I stopped letting it bother me and he left me alone.

I don’t remember seeing really severe bullying in my school, but I could have been blind to it.

The film talks about two boys that killed themselves because they couldn’t face another day of brutality, there’s a young girl who came out and face bullying from her classmates and teachers, a girl who couldn’t take it any more and brought gun in her bag (no one was hurt), and a 12 year old boy who is threatened in ways I can’t even comprehend. This boy is painful. When adults finally come to his aid the question is ‘why didn’t you tell us?’ rather than ‘how can we help?’┬áThere was victim blaming, passing the buck. It was awful to see.

The image I can’t escape from is that of Ty Smalley’s mother. The boy shot himself and the documentary-makers were there for the funeral. This woman could not stand up without support. Her face was blank. She’s lost.

The fact is that I am terrified of bullies. If my daughter faced the kind of things I have heard and read about I wouldn’t be sure how to handle it. I don’t know how to make sure she talks to us. I don’t know how to protect her.

Even now I watch her and I see that she’s different, I see that she’s tentative, I see that she could believe the worst things people could say. I envision her smile fading.

And if we ever lost her I would crumble. I would be in pieces on the floor.

I know it and Joe knows it. If we ever lose her, I’m lost too.


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