Bullying is a very real issue around the world. While there are some countries that may experience bullying to a greater extent, it is still something every country deals with to some extent. Canada is no different. This is why it is helpful to understand some of the bullying stories in Canada.
This is one of the most notorious cases of bullying in Canada’s history, maybe even in the world. Amanda Todd was a teenage girl who made a few poor decisions in her life and everywhere she went, the bullies followed her. She not only faced cyber bullying in the form of blackmail, but also nude pictures taken without her consent, social media pages were set up with her naked pictures as the profile picture, she received many threatening messages online and so much more. She was even physically beaten by some of the people involved in this. Multiple times Amanda Todd tried to kill herself, from drinking bleach to overdosing.
She posted a video about the abuses she had suffered online. However, this video was not well circulated until her death on October 12, 2012, when she killed herself. She had made another video hours before her death and posted it online documenting the bullying she has encountered. The video she posted provided enough information for a man in the Netherlands to be charged with several offenses that ultimately led to the 15 year old’s death.
The parents of Courtney Brown went through the unthinkable with their 17 year old daughter. They received a text from Courtney while they were eating at a restaurant that said “I hope I am dead when u get home.” When the parents arrived home, they found Courtney had hanged herself in the basement. What started this teen’s descent into darkness was not actually bullying, but rather the untimely death of her first love, who was killed in a car crash. However, people started spreading rumours about her online, saying that she was accusing someone else of killing her boyfriend. This lead to attacks on her at home as well as online. People would call her names online as well as in public, there were pumpkins thrown at the house and much more. On a Wednesday evening in March, she decided she could no longer take the abuse and ended her life.
This is one of the bully stories that is hard for any person to hear. While most 11 year old boys have a hard time in life, Mitchell Wilson seemed to have a harder time than most. His mother died when he was 8 of cancer and he was living with muscular dystrophy. His doctors told him he had to use his muscles or he would lose them, so he walked six times a day. Then one day he was using his father’s iPhone to listen to music on his phone when he was mugged by someone close in age to him and assaulted. The boy was apprehended the next day and a protection order was issued for Mitchell, one the mugger broke on two separate occasions.
The mugger started having his friend harass Mitchell in school. His father said that after the mugging, Mitchell was never the same. He would only walk when his father or stepmother could be with him, which in turn reduced his mobility by over 20%. The day he was supposed to start sixth grade and one week before he was to appear in court to testify against the mugger, Mitchell took his life. It was unexpected. His father walked into his room to wake him up and he had killed himself with a plastic bag over his head.
Rehtaeh was a 17 year old girl from Nova Scotia who was sexually assaulted. As if this was not enough, the people responsible for this act took pictures and distributed them and bullied her over it. This caused her to try to commit suicide. Unfortunately this did not kill her, but left her in a coma. Her parents were advised that she would not wake up and they had to make the unthinkable decision to take her off of life support. While this bullying story is awful, it does have a silver lining- two males were arrested in this ordeal and are currently facing charges for their crimes.
Most stories about bullying are hard to hear, but it is even worse when it is about a 5 year old boy from Saskatchewan with a disability. Ryan Coomber suffered a lawn mower accident that caused him to lose his left leg below the knee. So he now wears a prosthetic. Aside from this, Ryan is a normal 5 year old who loves to play and even go to school. Unfortunately, the older children on his bus decided to bully him about his leg. He has been beaten up on numerous occasions, had his backpack stolen and these kids have even tried to steal his prosthetic leg. His father has gone to the local news and the story has gone viral after the boy was forced off his bus due to the actions of these malicious children.
Demi Lovato Bullying Story
Just because someone is famous, does not mean that they are immune to bullying. In fact, Demi Lovato found out that being a Disney star and having a music career can actually be the source of the bullying. When she was in middle school, she was bullied to the point of harassment. In 2012 she opened up about the torment she went through. People would start hate petitions to try and stop her career. People would have CD bashing parties where people would even stand across the street from her home and scream things at her. She went on to talk about how she believed that this had a huge impact on her eating disorder, which she ultimately sought treatment for. While she came out on the other end better, she knows that this is not always the case. This is why she started working with various bullying campaigns in an effort to help wipe out bullying.
This 13 year old boy from Ontario at first glance seems like any other child that is bullied. He comes home with welts on his face from where he has been beaten up. However, Brandon is not like most children who suffer their abuse in silence. Rather, Brandon is taking a stance against bullying. He has pressed charges against his attackers. More than this he is making his case public to everyone and is even using his own name, despite being warned against this. His goal is to help bring this to light and help put an end to the violence.
What You Need to Know About Bullying
Bullying is a serious issue that people around the world face. As you can see in these short stories about bullying it can lead people to kill themselves. It is something that can happen at any time, to any person. This is why it is important that you do everything you can to put a stop to bullying. Here are a few things you should know.
Signs Your Child is Being Bullied:
- The child has unexplained injuries including bruises and cuts
- The child’s personal items go missing- in many cases a child will make up a mysterious story about how they lost their items
- Clothes, shoes, backpacks and other items coming home damaged
- No longer wants to go to school or social events- the child may even fake illness to get out of going to school or events
- Child is suddenly very clingy and wants you to take them to school or to the bus stop
- The child may be afraid of the bus stop or riding the bus
- Changes in mood or behavior- typically becomes more withdrawn and sad
- May complain about being lonely or having no friends
- The child’s eating habits may change- either binging or not eating at all
- May bully younger siblings or children
- There may also be a drop in the child’s grades
- Talks about feeling helpless or not good enough
- May even talk of suicide or running away
While any of these warning signs on their own can be indicative of many different issues, if you notice that your child has several of these, then it is time to talk with your child about bullying. Keep in mind that sometimes children are reluctant to talk about what is going on with them, so be patient. If you find out that your child is being bullied, there are things that can be done.
What to Do if Your Child is Being Bullied
The first and most important thing you can do for a child that is being bullied is to support them. Give them the attention and affection they need. Make sure you let them know that it is not their fault. Make sure you find out all the information you can, while still being sensitive to the fact that may not want to talk about it at great length.
Documenting the incident is also important. If your child is the victim of cyber bullying, take the time to document the bullying by copying emails or simply using a screen shot to capture what is being posted. If the child’s property is being damaged, then you should take note of this as well, such as by taking pictures with your phone.
The next thing you will want to do is to report the incident. If it is something happening at school, then it should be reported to the school. The school systems have a very strict code of conduct that forbids this sort of action. By reporting it, you can have the issue resolved and in many schools a protection plan will be put in place for your child to ensure that this does not happen again. If the child is being physically assaulted, then this needs to be reported to the authorities promptly. Pressing charges can help to not only deter the action from happening again in the future, but will get justice for your child.
Whether you are looking at cyber bullying stories or any other type of bullying, it is never acceptable to let the incident slide. By bringing it to light and handling it, children will start to realize that this is something that simply is not tolerated. This is why there are organizations out there trying to educate children on bullying. If you or your child has been the victim of bullying, get the help you need now. Call the Kids Help line and speak with a counselor at 1-800-668-6868.