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Shadows No Longer

What is it that makes us so mean to each other? What makes us not want to reach out for help when we desperately need it?

 

This is a somber and fragile time in Castro Valley and the surrounding towns and cities of the Bay Area. Today, I caught word of a .

The only information I know was given to me by my group's supervisor, who told me this girl left a note to her friends and parents, cleared out her locker on Monday, and was seen getting onto the Golden Gate Bridge but never coming off. 

No one knows why she did this, but I can't help but wonder if external factors led to her ordeal.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where some of us don't feel as safe as we should and choose to end the suffering ourselves. This, my friends, is a sad, sad fact of today's society. What is it that makes us so mean to each other? What makes us not want to reach out for help when we desperately need it?

As some may know, last year was a year of great support for the LGBT community with the It Gets Better campaign, which has celebrities and normal people like you and me who tell students of all races, genders, and identities that it gets better when you get out of school and move on with your life. It seems this was a retaliation to the multiple suicides that happened around this campaign's beginnings. One story struck me most of all, though.

Mean girls—a clique—hated this one loner-girl who kept to herself and was very quiet. Over the span of a few years of teasing, it escalated into major harassment, which included photos of the girl being sent around the community, her being followed home and physically harassed in the hallways, and having death threats called to her phone daily.

One day, she didn't come to school. Then the next day, too. Pretty soon, the mean girls thought they had won at driving her out of town, but they did more than just that. Her parents came home to find her a foot off the ground in the hallway, a noose around her neck.

One can only wonder what went on in those girls' heads after they found out they had killed another girl for sport at school.

These, and many other stories, are close to my heart, as I had always been picked on and bullied throughout middle school and high school. I've had my backpack thrown on the roof of a liquor store, I've been called the F-word followed by the British slang word for a cigarette, and many more things, and I almost followed in the aforementioned girl's footsteps.

My point is that bullying is out there, and it probably kills more people than we care to think about. What I've noticed, along with my group, is that people come together to solve issues like this only when something big happens, which only happens when something is largely publicized.

And this is where our problem in society lies, ladies and gentlemen. If we could all stand vigilant and supportive, and grab the hands of those who are reaching out for help, from where the shadows of their thoughts have a firm grasp on their souls, only then can we start to stop bullying. Only then, can there be shadows no longer.

Please take a moment to think about this somber news and story, and then look around you at school, work, or on the streets. Notice how many times slurs are used without anybody giving it a second thought. I beg you, all who read this and more, to think about those who could use a 24/7/365 support group, and give it to them. Let's take a stand against the most over-looked evil in our society: bullying.

Thank you for reading this, as difficult as it may be. Here are some links to hotlines to call if you or a loved one may need some help.

1-800-309-2131      (alameda crisis/suicide hot-line)

1-800-843-5200     (California's crisis hot-line)

Call either if you just need to talk to someone, anonymously, anytime. Or you could talk to a trusted friend or co-worker or even a school counselor (parents too! They are there for a reason!)

Thank you, and let us stop this today, not tomorrow.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mona Taplin August 17, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Nadja, Let's see if we can get enough people in Newark interested in helping out on a goal to end bullying in our schools. I'm handicapped with chronic back and arthritis problems, but there certainly as to be some ways in which I can help. Like you, I am a whole lot happier as an adult than I ever was as a child in school.
Nadja Adolf August 17, 2011 at 04:42 AM
Yes, I think we should organize a meeting and see if Nika will come and talk to us about why we are doing this. We should go over to the Newark page and find some of James posts about being bullied, and post there and see if he would like to be involved. He may know others. We CAN DO THIS.
Mona Taplin August 17, 2011 at 04:47 AM
good ideas Nadja. Let's do it! those of us who have lived thru the abuse know what it's like. If we try hard we can stop adults from making light of the verbal and physical abuse many children today are enduring.
Nadja Adolf August 17, 2011 at 07:56 AM
Mona, I put out a call to James on the page where we were discussing the School Board bond. Let's see what we can do. I think we should all three meet for coffee, lunch, or whatever works for you and James and put a presentation together and then talk to the Board. I will try and see if I can get us on the schedule when we're ready.
Mona Taplin August 17, 2011 at 08:22 AM
Sounds good to me Nadja. My husband is going in for knee replacement surgery on the 25th so I'll be short of but not out of time for a week or so then.I'm looking forward to meeting you and James. Lunch would be nice, but you work don't you? I think we probably could interest others into working on this project too.

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