2015 United States Suicide Statistics

Bullies are known for typically writing off the pain of others as “their problem, not mine.” Bullies Are The Cowards Of The World has established how the bullying behavior to build up a “personality” by cutting down others is cowardly. Yet another cowardly approach on life comes from actively neglecting thoroughly researched reports about how truly fatal unbridled intolerance can be. Suicide affects us ALL – which is why our team is proud to share the most up to date information regarding state by state: http://afsp.org/about-suicide/state-fact-sheets/

Here in our group’s home state of Washington we learned that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for the youngest age range of 10 to 34. TEN YEARS OLD? …that unfortunately is not the youngest age we have come across with all the stories on this grim matter. (But more on that later.)

Please feel free to comment with any of the newest information from this past year; we especially hope to find more information to gain better knowledge of how societies outside of America are faring. After all, what better export can we provide to our foreign friends than support?

BATCOTW: Music Video Contest Deadline Feb 15th

Quick reminder for those looking to spread awareness and positive vibes via music ~ the FEBRUARY 15TH 2016 contest deadline is fast approaching! You can still find the contest guidelines and the cut of our title theme song on our website here:

*http://bulliesarethecowardsoftheworld.com/index.php/2015/11/09/hello-world/*

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have heard of the free apps suggested for putting together visuals for your video once you have downloaded the theme:

*http://videostarapp.com/ (apple store)

*http://triller.co/ (apple store/google play)

Thanks to those who have submitted so far!

“I Know This Is Selfish.”

Maddie Yates was another child interested in turning to YouTube to express herself and the developing thoughts she had on the world around her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFdsp3dsfYA Her intro music and topics were upbeat. The video link in particular highlights her good intention to be heard and to speak out for those struggling with acceptance. When you see Maddie’s glowing face, you see someone who is more than willing to be your friend.

Unfortunately for Ms. Yates, her best friend in high school committed suicide. A year later (before YouTube took down the video) Maddie herself would be speaking about her choice to make the same fatal choice. The language she used was flooring:

Maddie’s suicide has left me with a lot of questions on where she learned to speak this way. I wonder if amidst all the grieving, she might have heard an all too common phrase thrown around by adults in these types of situations: “Suicide is selfish.”

The language our society uses, in regards to death, is complex and on many occasion ends up with unfinished conversations (as is the mystery of death). Adults are aware that children have active ears; historically shown to mimic all words/inflections– including cruel ones. Yet when tears flow at a funeral, a person is inclined to say just about anything to comfort a friend/relative of suicide.

But how on earth can continue not recognizing that by saying suicide is selfish, we are attacking an already deceased victim? It is victim blaming beyond the grave. What purpose does that serve to help those still alive and full of real questions of how to avoid this awful outcome? The disgusting suggestion adds insult to injury for grieving families.

What conversations surrounded Maddie when she grieved for her best friend? In her own explanation for choosing to end her life, Maddi expressed recognizing the hurt everyone was going through. Somewhere along the way she was convinced that committing suicide is a selfish act.

And then she killed herself, regardless of being aware of that “fact.”

NEVER CONSIDER NOR SUGGEST SUICIDE IS A SELFISH ACT. THIS INSULTS THE AN ALREADY DECEASED INDIVIDUAL WHICH IS CRUEL; AND DOES NOTHING TO HELP THOSE STRUGGLING OR GREIVING OVER THIS SUBJECT.

We must pull away from trying to create a single answer for what motivates a person to end their life. Let us step back and consider what their life meant up to that point. What type of healthy compassion can we give those struggling to understand suicide? Struggling to understand the depression, dejection and isolation that comes with suicidal thoughts?

When kids like Maddie feel like “there is chance that the worst day might still be coming,” let us find a way to shout back that there is a greater chance for better days to come – because they do not have to face the worst days alone.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please seek help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Some Bullies Do “Grow Up”

…physically at least. An already exhausted employee can spend hours wondering how a fully grown “adult” coworker can openly behave like the stereotypical schoolyard bully: spreading rumors, leaving individuals out of group activities, etc. Even in his or her free time that employee can go mad trying to understand why employers don’t educate staff members on how to identify bullying behavior. What intervention options are available to the employee if abuse persists? Do those intervention options exist at all? Often employers address these types of conflicts by falsely attacking a hurt and confused victim; overlooking (or denying) the very real possibility of managerial incompetence and the toxic environment that comes from unaddressed problems.

For Brodie Panlock in 2006, the bullying she faced at her café job had reached a fever pitch. Coworkers witnessed others “covering her with chocolate sauce, telling her that she was worthless and didn’t deserve to be there…they would just grab her and hold her down and put [fish] oil over her so she couldn’t get away…on three or four occasions.” Other accounts addressed how Brodie was occasionally spat on, with one soulless colleague suggesting she take rat poison. An awful suggestion she took to heart when attempting to commit suicide in May. Come September of that year, Brodie was driven to end the “unbearable level of humiliation” by jumping off a very tall building.

http://brodieslaw.org/index.htm

Brodie’s tragic death was absolutely avoidable. Thankfully, legal action to hold her bullies accountable was unavoidable and the café/bullies would be fined a total $335,000. If you are thinking at this point that a fine is not enough for such an extreme outcome – know that this case brought about Brodie’s Law. This law was the first of its kind to bring jail time for any abuse that leads to tragedy such as this. The ripple effect of Brodie’s death / law continues to this day to push the blame of abuse back where it belongs: on workplace bullies and the cowardly behavior they practice.

Think you’re the victim of workplace bullying? Need help identifying what to look for and what to do next? Check out this oversized (but extremely informative) graphic provided by the internationalbusinessguide.org: http://imgur.com/Z8inVTQ

Faces That Will Never Smile Again

Last year was once again full of complex problems and we have no doubt you had your share of trials/tribulations.  In 2015, Robert Cabell, the founder of the BATCOTW campaign, was carrying an unnaturally heavy heart. It swelled with pained realization that bullycide was a bigger problem than he ever considered. As a writer he was compelled to research what on earth was going on. He found himself caught up in a plethora of news reports describing the plight of children (children!) who ended their lives before they really started. The violence and cruel quotes from bullies made him recognize a very different world from his own school days.

His heart broke to hear sobbing parents describe who their children were by listing their interests and developing talents. Robert, like many who look into this matter, so found himself drowning in the sea of photos with smiling faces. Faces that would never smile again.

Pictured: Reagan Hacks (12 yrs) who committed suicide shortly before Christmas 2015

Also in 2015, I crossed paths with Robert at his local writing group.  I must say it is still very refreshing to know an older adult intent on keeping imagination alive and healthy. He recognizes value in diverse voices and sees being creative as a tool to address very real concepts. Despite not having any children in school, Robert impressed me by pushing his wish to support those dealing with bullies and the effects of bullycide the best way he knew how – music.

Did you know he once wrote a whole musical (google ‘Pretty Faces’) surrounding a body positive theme for women as a result of an adult woman being bullied? That’s a point he may get onto me for bringing up, but I see that mindset as it relates to his BATCOTW music video. He deserves cudos for trying to change hearts/minds through the power of song, while also working to present comfort/entertainment to his audience.

After joining his anti-bullycide crew, I’ve contemplated who that audience is. After all, it cannot be denied that a good portion of our followers are adults. Adults like Mr. Cabell refuse to buy into the thought that the bullying children face today is “just part of growing up.” After all, how can anyone use the phrase “growing up” when children pushed to commit suicide have lost that chance?

Here are our team’s 2016 New Year resolutions: We hope to continue creating and expanding a safe space for anyone of any age. To pay homage to the needlessly lost children; while helping grieving parents relay their message that this is not just “a kid’s problem.” We must tackle misguided stigmas and learn how we can better lead by example.  We must spread awareness to both children and adults alike. After all, Intolerance and hate brought upon ANYONE at ANY age affects us ALL.

Reagan’s story and photo can be found here: http://www.lex18.com/story/27744700/parents-say-bullying-drove-daughter-to-suicide

“Just Turn Off The Computer” Argument Grows Increasingly Irrelevant

You’ve probably seen a news report highlighting how schools are moving away from using books and having students work solely on computers. It may not surprise you that more schools are requiring students turn homework in via email. Just like most if not all businesses in America, schools push to incorporate the power of the internet for efficiency in learning and communicating.

But have you considered this? Part of the push for better student communication has schools participating more and more with social media. Don’t believe me? Just look up your old school on Facebook or Twitter. It is true that social media can offer yet another facet for students to reach out to teachers whenever necessary. But why when every teacher/student has email? When part of the programming world works to design specific in house school systems?

Why would sites like Twitter & Facebook ever be considered worthwhile? Because school faculties acknowledge how technology has influenced societies worldwide, including modern day
childhoods. Schools join social media sites to push beyond being educational to being accessible. Approachable. Online schools can be “liked” and “followed” just as if it was its own entity. This is yet another way that children are encouraged to participate in online activities just as they would be to participate in extracurricular activities.

Which brings me to the confusing, but unfortunately popular argument too many people bring up to stop the occurrence of cyberbullying:

The more I hear or see this comment the more I realize it is a phrase that gives little thought to the reality children are faced with. How can anyone agree that schools push harder to incorporate the power of the internet for students and not recognize this argument grows weaker by the day? Working adults have fewer and fewer options finding a job not requiring the use of a computer – just as students will find less and less classrooms that do not work with online tools or social media. We cannot mislead ourselves into thinking children are able to avoid social pressure of using the internet. The pressure they feel comes not only from their peers but from the very teachers we trust with student’s minds and lives.

The argument “Just turn off the computer” confuses me as an adult. Especially when that same person making the careless statement is very likely to acknowledge how technology becoming a stronger backbone to our societal development. Its unnerving to imagine what that confusion does to the mind of a growing child.

The Bullying of an Autistic Rap Artist

While looking to become better connected with my community, I found myself crossing paths with Alexander Hubbard: an autistic Seattleite known by rapper name Fantasy A. Where did I meet this local rapper? Interesting enough, wrapping presents for Birthday Dreams (a nonprofit dedicated to providing birthday parties for homeless children.) He was very helpful, friendly and very respectful by introducing himself with a professional handshake. Shortly after introductions I noticed he carried a real drive to express himself and respond to the very real struggles of his life through music.

At this first meeting, I learned his struggles included being the victim of a financial scam. Fantasy A documented this on his YouTube channel – luckily with an update that after a year the perpetrator finally went to jail. I started following his vlog to follow his journey. One video in particular captures the determined rapper posting flyers for one of his live shows. Seeing/hearing the busy buzz of downtown mixed with Fantasy A’s persistent footwork equals pure inspiration. I even found out he wrote/posted a book on Amazon discussing his life as an American with autism. My favorite part of Fantasy A’s messages comes down to his signature sendoff:

“BE YOURSELF. BE INSPIRED. AND BE RESPECTFUL.” –Fantasy A

Then I suddenly found myself watching Alexander’s most emotionally raw video: “Fantasy A Reacts about People’s Criticism Towards Him, His Music and Novel Work.”
He was responding to the hateful words of bullies. After keeping up with consistently optimistic posts, this video was startling as Fantasy A was visibly distraught. He expressed being unaware of updated flyer posting laws and apologized to those who gave him grief. Then came natural struggle to address the sting he felt by being told he should not be rapping. At times he was angry, but like most who are bullied, anger turned to sadness. My heart broke as I witnessed him hold his typically hopeful face in his hands.

I immediately posted words of encouragement, hoping he would know there are people who recognize his honest and hard work. Fantasy A’s surprising response included his concern about coming off as negative. I empathized anger often feels like a natural reaction to have when one is bullied, since anger typically motivates bullies.

Fantasy A would surprise us all by taking his reaction video down only an hour or so after posting. All that remains is the screenshot captured here (saved from a first blog draft intended to address the need for us to build others up – never break them down)

Thankfully, worries I had of Fantasy A giving up his music ended when the following video celebrated a positive outcome from his hard work: 80 YouTube subscribers! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OU9mRf4VlU Seeing his excitement, hearing his gratitude and feeling genuine optimism was amazing. Even those with a miniscule knowledge of the history of rap is aware of how “talking smack” can play heavily into the personality of a rapper. Fantasy A, however, rose above the hate. He recognized that keeping his response up for those bullies, he could potentially be feeding a cycle of hate. Instead, he chose to focus on the positive. This choice truly made him the bigger and better man. Despite ongoing challenges, Fantasy A continues to be one of the bravest musicians I’ve found here in Washington.

BATCOTW commends his ambition and say kudos! Keep being yourself, Alexander – you’re an absolute inspiration and you have our respect. ^_^

Childhood Memories & Adult Anti-bullycide Goals

Blog introduction by Rosie C North

“I bet you can’t even find a mirror to look at that fits your whole body.”

It was a perplexing comment to digest then as it is now, but my first memory of being bullied for being a chubby girl still fills my mind with unanswered questions (note my school photo.) First: “How is that kind of girth possible when a whole room can fit in a mirror?” Second: “Did Josh Bro not realize he was literally a head taller and twice my size?” No, I’m not calling out my bully to shame him. In case someone passes the word along that he’s mentioned here, I hope he gets this real message: Josh, last I heard you were on your own weight loss journey as an adult and I genuinely wish you the best. Self-improvement is a lifelong endeavor.

I could run through the list of events where personal humiliation was brought on by multiple bullies. Instead, I wanted to give an honest introduction to who I am these days as acting campaign director: I am a person who feels lucky to not be the target of abuse. Despite my current lack of a bully, my heart will always go out to those having to face any antagonist at any age (because some bullies become adults.) I would be lying if I didn’t admit feeling blessed to have lived long enough to recognize the motivation of a former bully. Seeing a Facebook post about JB’s weight loss goals gave me an ‘ah ha’ moment victims of bullying rarely get: a realization bullying is indeed the result of someone not addressing their own personal issues. I would argue this is always the underlying motivation of bullies; the cowardly behavior that results from a lack of effort and interest in self-accountability.

Truth is, I feel I have grown to carry a genuine indifference to what a bullying persona pretends to offer to our society: “Honest” and “helpful” advice. Bullies tend to believe they have the answers for everyone/any situation; even if no one asked them in the first place. What do bullies really offer? Instant, unreasonable judgement. Scarring memories. Hurt – for both their victims and whether they are aware of it or not, eventual hurt for themselves.

Working on this anti-bullycide campaign, however, I’ve found our student followers reminded me of a related emotion that had a nasty habit of lingering even after a bully left the room: a recurring sense of hopelessness. I remember being an age where I wasn’t in control of anything (with the exception of homework and that was hit or miss control wise). Even if allowed to stay the night with friends, knowing I had to answer for where I was at all times fed a longing to “hurry and grow up already.” I have no doubt this feeling still lingers in the minds of those children currently in school, just as I’m sure bullying is still prevalent in schools. A true sense of Freedom, especially in America, is sought for by everyone, including children. Which brings us together online in 2015, where even elementary school students grow up searching for a sense of freedom and self – often through the escape of the internet. While I am thankful to have found mental peace at understanding my bully’s motivations online, it would be naïve to expect every victim to be owed an explanation for why they were targeted. The reality of our time is that the internet has extended the “playground” for bullies. Add in the element of abuse through anonymity and a child’s small world can grow even smaller. Or worse. Darker.

Bullycide is absolutely worst case scenario that can result from consistent abuse victims receive. The subject is grim, but very real. Many shirk from the topic, including adults with the freedom/ability to step in and protect the largest group of those affected by bullycide – children. Maybe it stems from a lack of remembering what life was like before achieving the freedom that comes with adulthood. Maybe it comes from a complacent belief that bullying “is just part of growing up.” Maybe, like me, those who grow old enough are able to find the answer to why they were a victim. But just because my experience found resolution – I am not convinced this is no longer an issue worth addressing. Too many young lives have been lost long before they truly started. While I truly believe the bullying behavior is cowardly, ignoring the reality of bullying just because I’m not currently affected can be just damaging. Thanks to our founder, Robert Cabell, I look to this campaign as a great opportunity to learn how to make the internet a safer, more positive place for those still needing it.

Please feel free to email me with your thoughts or suggestions for spreading awareness on the need to address bullycide: rosie@bulliesarecowards.org  Also, if you are still a student aged 13 to 18 – why not look into spreading positivity through our music video contest? ^_^ I know its kept me going!