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?’ There 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.