By Veronika Treit
“Bullying is for losers,” said Lady Gaga at one of her concerts, after one of her fans –14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer – was literally bullied into taking his own life. His last message was addressed to Lady Gaga on Twitter: “Bye Mother Monster. Thank you for all you have done. Paws up forever.” (www.dnamagazine.com.au)
Not only has Lady Gaga started a crusade against bullying, she also wants to meet with the U.S. President to put a stop to the bullying of defenceless kids: “I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it #MakeALawForJamey,” she Tweeted soon after the tragedy happened.
But how serious is the bullying-epidemic? Quite so: according to a 2009 CDC national survey, 20% of high school students have been bullied on school property. During the 2007-2008 academic year, 25% of U.S. public schools reported bullying on a daily basis. Yale University studies showed that victims of bulling are two-nine times more likely to commit suicide than their non-bullied peers. Furthermore, 160,000 children stay at home each day because of fear of being bullied in school, says an ABC News research.
To make matters worse, different kinds and levels of bullying exist, according to the number of kids doing the bullying (“pack” and “individual” bullying), the mode of bullying (“physical,” “emotional” and “cyber-bullying”) and the medium of bullying (“face-to-face” and “cyber”).
Physical bullying means that hitting, shoving, kicking and even spitting is included- this kind of physical abuse is the most obvious and direct way to bully the victim. Emotional bullying is a more subtle way to make the victim’s life a living hell: it can involve name-calling, insulting and deliberately ignoring the target to make him/her feel left out. Bullies may also hide or take away the belongings of their victims. Cyber bullying is a relatively new trend: it is done through e-mails, chat, Twitter, Facebook and involves harassing, spreading rumours, creating websites to make fun of somebody, taking pictures of them and sharing them without the victim’s consent. Jamey Rodemeyer was the victim of this type of bullying, too; after making his own “It Gets Better” video, anonymous commenters left him comments, like: “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” and “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it It would make everyone WAY more happier!”
Jamey Rodemeyer is not the first and not the last confused, terrorized teenager who saw no other way out of their troubles than death. More anti-bullying laws have to be passed and supervision in schools strengthened in order to protect the victims and enforce laws upon those who hurt innocent kids- and drive them to take their own young lives.