Recently I was reviewing an entry from our music video contest that impressed me with not only the presentation, but the educational slides put together as a result of their research. I looked upon new and familiar faces of the victims affected by bullycide. One familiar face in particular belonging to Rehtaeh Parsons – a stunning young woman from Nova Scotia who sported a distinct tattoo symbolizing “strength and courage.” I finally read into her heartbreaking story when it hit me: the students who put together those slides had read the same horrifying story I had.
So far Rehtaeh’s story has been the most difficult to fathom.
Some of the bullies she fought were the very people who raped her. Her aggressors would go on to photograph and distribute her traumatic assault. She would leave her school (like many do) to try living somewhere new. Unfortunately, she was surrounded by constant reminders of her ordeal and constant bullying for TWO YEARS. She would succumb to the constant abuse by taking her life in 2013.
Given the nature of this subject work can be challenging as I find myself suddenly faced with the grim reality of abuse that follows the bullied. I’ve avoid watching the plethora of bully beat down videos, because I gain nothing from watching people fight and innocents get beaten. I question what drives the media to share such violent imagery, but struggle with the need to spread awareness of how people need to treat each other humanely. I cannot honestly say I take pride in exposing our followers to dark stories since I take no joy in learning specifically how cruel the world can be.
I feel comforted with the carefully made music video from John F. Kennedy high school. They ended with encouraging words and smiling faces. How grown up the girls in that film seem – researching heavy subjects that most adults shirk from. Pressing on to educate and encourage those currently struggling to not give up hope for a better day. ((Winning Entry Here))
Awareness comes in many forms just like people do. As long as we can focus on learning from tragedy and work to avoid it – that is how we can stomach hard memories to create an easier future for all us kids and adults.