Amanda Todd.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Your best friend is crying. No, she's sobbing her heart out. Her boyfriend had just confessed to cheating on her when she went on that vacation. The worst part? It was with that unsuspecting new girl everyone left alone. Apparently, she went to him one night and threw herself all over him and boys being boys, he just couldn't resist.

"WHY?" she wailed, mascara trailing down her cheeks. "I thought he loved me." You try your best to console her but she cries even harder.

Ugh. It pisses you off. How could anyone be so heartless? Doesn't simple logic make it clear that when someone has a girlfriend, you leave them alone? That girl needed a lesson. "Don't cry," you tell your best friend. "Let's make that boyfriend-stealing witch cry instead."

After all, wouldn't you hurt anyone that messes with your friends? Wouldn't you do whatever it takes to defend your friends?

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And that's probably what happened on the other end of Amanda Todd's tragic story. (Read the story here.)

The girls probably didn't even REALIZE they were bullying Amanda. To them, they were sticking up for their friend. Taking her side as she went to confront the tramp that went after her boyfriend. And so what that it ended in a fight? Obviously you'd back up your friend, even if it means throwing in a punch or two.

She was asking for it anyway. After all, she *did* go after someone else's boyfriend.

When we picture bullying, most visualize big burly men pushing small skinny kids around, demanding for money. But nowadays, the bullying that really kills is the one that people don't even know they're doing. They wouldn't think that defending their friend in a cyber war was considered cyber bullying. The other party is free to get their friends to rally in and fight back, you rationalize. It isn't THAT bad. And it isn't like what you're saying are lies. She WAS a boyfriend-stealer. All you're doing is helping educate the world about how bad a person she was, helping other poor innocent girls and boys, preventing them from becoming victims, you reason with yourself. If newspapers could publish photographs of criminals, what's so bad about writing a full article on your blog about this disgusting flirt?

Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

THAT is how you end up being a bully without realizing it. THAT is how you and your friends can go too far and only realize when it's much too late.

How many more articles do we have to read online about girls and boys killing themselves after being treated cruelly before we look at ourselves? We think that it’s so horrible, that bullies are awful. We think about how we’d stand up for that kid if he went to your school.

Well, that’s great! Look around, because there are PLENTY of people to stand up for.

Human beings aren’t bad. Really, we aren’t. We are often compassionate beings, but sometimes we wrongly translate our compassion into aggression.

The problem with bullying is that there isn’t a set line around it till someone gets physically hurt. It often gets lost in friendly ribbing (which Zhengs and I engage in frequently), excuses of self-defence, and conviction in “right to free speech”, but my definition?

If you’re doing something wrong, because you wanna fix something that didn’t go right, don’t do it.

Stop bullying.

If you’re standing at a corner and you feel that hint of unease when someone gets teased too much, stop it.

Say something.

You might just save a life.

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