Devi was in 8th grade when the bullying started. His “friends” picked on him, called him names based on his minority race, used name calling to label him “gay” and “faggot”. Though his classmates didn’t physically bully him, Devi describes the verbal abuse, teasing and name calling as “torture”. His “friends” thought it was a joke, but this went on for over a year, from 8th grade through his freshman year, and it was not a joke. It contributed to his depression. Learn more on Depression Stories!
Devi felt that his classmates were using him as their entertainment and states that he felt “violated and disrespected”. Devi says that he isn’t gay, and that since his freshman year as he has resolved the serious issues he has been facing with the help of intervention and support from his school counselor and a student support group, he includes bullying related to sexual harassment and homophobia as part of his platform. Though he still experiences bouts of depression and anxiety, he has never considered suicide as a way out, but felt that there was always a way to work through his problems. (My Bullying Experience. ReachOut.com)
Bullying and depression stories are common. Many experience bullying in school as a result of being of a minority race. When a high school student of an ethnic minority race was asked what problem he would like to see solved in the world, having been a victim of bullying due to his ethnic background, he stated “prejudice”. Statistics indicate that over one-third of all students ages 12-18 report having been bullied at one time or another during their school years. Included in the BullyingStatistics.org list of four of the most common reasons for bullying are 1). Homophobic bullying 2). Students with disabilities 3). Racist bullying 4). Religious bullying, that is bullying students of a “different” or minority religion.
Some of the channels of support that helped Devi through the bullying and accompanying depression were:
2. School administrators
4. Student Offering Support (SOS) group supervised by his counselor
5. Activism – using the bad experience of being bullied to actively help others and to publicize ways of overcoming and preventing bullying. The U.S. Department of Education agrees, encouraging teens and parents to “Take an active role in anti-bullying initiatives” as part of a bullying prevention plan.
Another common forum for bullying is cyberbullying. The organization NoBullying.com reports one of many bullying and depression stories, the story of Amanda, who was the victim of serious cyberbullying in which the police actually had to get involved. Amanda was 15 years old when she became the victim of cyberbullying. She was coaxed by social networking acquaintances to post sexy pictures of herself on the Internet, which she did. One of her cyber-friends then used those pictures as a way to blackmail her into going farther. When Amanda wouldn’t consent, her “friend” sent sexy pictures of Amanda to all of her friends in school. As a result, she had to change schools, was mocked, ridiculed and even punched and thrown to the ground while all her classmates mocked her. This caused deep anxiety and depression.
Cyber Bullying can come in many forms. The organization StopBullying.gov states that “cyberbullying can be prevented” and that parents should be aware of what their children are doing online, establish rules about technology use, and should understand school rules as preventive measures with bullying.
Children and teens should cooperate with their parents’ and school rules involving the Internet and make wise decisions, not allowing others to manipulate them into compromising situations by giving out personal information or inappropriate photos. StopBulling.gov encourages teens to stop and think about “information and pictures” that a teen might post online. Who would you want to see these pictures? Only your close friends, or complete strangers also? How about friends of your friends? Ask yourself, is there anyone who might use this photo of me in a harmful way? If the wrong person gets a hold of those photos it could result in embarrassment, harassment and bullying.
Bullying is a problem that can be prevented and solved. If you are a teenager who is a victim of bullying, don’t give up, don’t think about suicide but get help. Go to a teacher, counselor, school administrator and your parents. Join a school support group. Take whatever actions you need to to solve the problem, and be confident that you can overcome problems associated with bullying and depression.