Lizzie Velasquez ‘s Struggle Against Her Bullies
Bullying between teen girls is prevalent and growing every day, states the Michigan State University School of Journalism. In between teen girls, bullying behavior is more “silent” and insidious. If the girl being bullied tries to speak up, her bullies retaliate against her or she may not be believed. If she is believed, the actions taken to stop the bullying may be weak or ineffectual. Parents – of the bullies and the victim – may not want to believe what is happening, so they may not take needed action to stop the targeting and protect the victim.
The Lizzie Velasquez Story
Lizzie Velasquez could be anyone’s child, in any state. She’s a normal girl, wearing clothing similar to what her schoolmates wear. She styles her hair attractively and she may wear makeup. Yet, a small group of her classmates have seemed to pick up on something different about Lizzie – something that they don’t like. They may have decided to focus their attention on her because she has gotten the attention of one of the boys in their class and they resent that, according to Kean University.
This group of girls has decided that, for whatever reason, they are going to start picking on – bullying – Lizzie. It starts almost innocently. A rude comment is tossed across the cafeteria. A few days later, in the girl’s gym dressing room, someone makes another rude crack about Lizzie’s attributes or lack of them. Soon, Lizzie notices the rude comments coming across the feeds in her social networking accounts.
She tries to ignore all the rudeness and cattiness coming from the group of girls that has begun tormenting her. It’s getting harder, though. One day, one of the girls goes even farther with one of her online comments. The text of what she says goes like this: “Lizzie Velasquez is a skanky little slut. Guys, look at her and she’ll invite you to have sex with her.”
When Lizzie sees this, she starts to cry and her mother comes over to see what has happened. When Lizzie’s mom reads the comment, she gets angry – at Lizzie and at the girls. The next day, she goes to Lizzie’s school principal and shows her what has been happening. The principal shakes her head and promises to talk to the girls, but she needs to know their names. Lizzie, scared, refuses to divulge them.
Lizzie Velasquez and Bullying : Increasing Parental Awareness
The in-school and cyber-bullying continue for a while. Finally, Lizzie, feeling overwhelmed, goes to her school counselor and admits what has been happening. Now, she gives the names of her tormentors to school officials and the principal calls all seven girls into her office.
The girls all deny targeting Lizzie. The principal has the texts of the emails and Facebook posts and she shows them to the girls. They still try to deny their actions and the principal says she’s going to be contacting their parents.
The parents of the girls try to deny that their daughters could be capable of participating in targeting Lizzie. When the principal shows them the texts of what has been said about Lizzie, they are forced to reluctantly accept what their children have been doing and they take computers and cellphones away from their daughters.
Learn About Cyber-Bullying
If these parents had been aware of what cyber-bullying is and what it looks like, they would have discussed ground rules with their daughters, getting account passwords from them. This would have allowed them to monitor what their daughters were doing and stop them when they saw the attacks being written.
Even now, it isn’t too late for the parents of Lizzie’s bullies to take action to begin fighting bullying. They need to sit down with their children and find out why they are targeting Lizzie. The consequences have to stay in place. The girls may need to visit a counselor to learn to understand why they are bullying another girl and how it is affecting her.
Lizzie Velasquez and Bullying : Psychological Effects
Lizzie’s self-image is still forming in her teen years. When someone begins to tear her down, as her bullies have been doing, she begins to develop a much poorer self-image, according to Longwood University. She may begin feeling anxious and depressed. Going to school becomes difficult because she doesn’t want to encounter the girls tormenting her.
Some bullying victims turn to substances to help themselves cope. Lizzie won’t. Even though her mother got angry with her when she first found out about the bullying, she stepped in to help Lizzie.
Other ways parents can help:
º Believe their bullied children
º Contact school officials and/or law enforcement
º Give emotional support
º Remove access to electronics and social media
º Follow through with all consequences
º Let children know bullying is unacceptable
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