Bullying has been happening since before anyone can remember. Some people never really live out their days because they are being relentlessly picked on and belittled. Today, with the advancement of technology, we have inherited other forms of bullying like cyber-bullying. Not only is the way you look, talk and act not safe in reality, it’s nitpicked on the internet as well. And once something hits the internet, it often times can’t be taken back regardless of whether the depictions are true or false.
You don’t truly know the everlasting effects of being bullied unless you, yourself, have been bullied or are close to someone who is. Documentaries outline several scenarios of bullying but the truth is that bullying has no other purpose than to make the bully feel superior to those around them. The human psyche can only take so much unneeded ridicule until it does what it thinks is best, shut down. Unfortunately, we cannot help everyone who has succumbed to bullying. While bullying can’t be a legal charge like murder, it certainly has killed.
Here are 15 heartbreaking stories of the devastating effects of bullying. If anyone has ever told you that being bullied builds character, and that it is harmless, then you'll know after reading this article that that is completely false.
15 Phoebe Prince
Phoebe Prince moved to Massachusetts with her parents from Ireland. She attended South Hadley High School where she was mercilessly tormented by a group of girls. She was called all sorts of names like “Irish Slut” on several forms of social media. According to other students, she had started dating a popular football player in her first few weeks of arriving at the school. It was then that many people had seemingly turned against her and she was exposed to physical bullying like having her books knocked out of her hands and a Red Bull can thrown at her while she was walking home. Eventually, Phoebe could no longer endure the cruelty of her classmates, and on January 14th, 2010 Phoebe decided to committ suicide.
14 Jadin Bell
Jadin Bell was a cheerleader at La Grande High School in Oregon. He was bullied because he was homosexual and surrounded by people who viewed that as something that should be made fun of. Jadin attempted suicide, and was found on some playground equipment in an elementary school in January of 2013. He was found by a passerby and taken to a hospital, where days later, he was taken off of life support because his brain remained unresponsive. He was only a sophomore in high school. Often times, those who are bullied are viewed as being "different". Bell isn't the first to be fatally bullied because of his sexuality, and it just proves that the existing notions of masculinity are toxic, and deadly. The more we designate gender to a certain type of behavior, the more risk it carries for those who may not conform to these standards.
13 Tyler Clementi
Tyler Clementi was three weeks into his university career as freshman at Rutgers before he took his own life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in September of 2010. A webcam was set up in Clementi’s room by his own roommate. When Clementi asked for some personal time in the room, his roommate accessed the webcam from another student’s room and recorded Clementi engaging in sexual relations with another man. It wasn’t known whether this is what the roommate purposefully wanted to capture but what done afterwards was crippling. His roommate streamed the video and the next day Clementi killed himself. College is supposed to give you the key to start unlocking who you truly are not humiliate you for being who you are. His death sparked a national discussion on LGBT bullying and a website was crafted in his name.
12 Ryan Patrick Halligan
Ryan Patrick Halligan was a 13-year-old student in Vermont. He had a learning disability but didn’t allow that to stop him academically. He was bullied both in person and online by his peers. His parents allowed him to fight off the bullies originally but it became too intense for him to handle. IM’s Halligan had exchanged with a supposed friend started to circulate and rumors followed with the intention of embarrassing and humiliating Halligan. Before his death, Halligan had been looking up ways to commit suicide. On October 7,2003 Halligan committed suicide. His sister found his lifeless body and his father has since then dedicated most of his time lobbying for anti-bullying laws.
11 Sparks Middle School Shooting
While we have listed how bullying can affect the victims of bullying, the suffering these children experience can have deadly consequences, not only for the bullied, but for others around them as well. This is precisesly what happened in the case of Jose Reyes, a 7th grade student at Sparks Middle School in Nevada. It was reported that he was teased for a speech impediment and suffered from depression. Reyes showed up to school with his parents' 9mm pistol and shot himself and a popular teacher on the morning of October 21st, 2013.
10 Megan Meier
Megan Meier had suffered with ADD, depression and self-image issues in the early years of her life and was working them out into her teenage years. When she received a friend request on Myspace from an attractive boy, many of those insecurities subsided. Things took a turn for the worse when the boy, Josh Evans, said he did not want to be friends with her anymore. He allegedly started threads online that detailed the messages that he and Megan had been exchanging. Others started to tag along and leave hateful comments. When Meier told her parents they talked it over amongst each other but by the time they had finished, Meier had committed suicide by hanging herself in her closet. She died three weeks before her 14th birthday. Upon further investigation, Josh Evans was revealed as not having been a boy at all - but, shockingly, the parent of a girlfriend Meier had a falling out with. No charges were ever drafted.
9 Emilie Olsen
Emilie Olsen had become the target of bullying when she was in 6th grade. By the time she had entered her 7th grade school year in 2014, numerous emails had already been exchanged between her father and the school because the bullying was relentless.The exact emails could not be released because of confidentiality laws but her father outlined instances of physical and verbal bullying. Olsen chatted with a friend online about how her New Year’s resolution would be for her plan to end her life to go smoothly because she just couldn’t take it anymore. Unfortunately, Olsen went through with the plan and on December 11th, 2014.
8 Rehtaeh Parsons
Rehtaeh Parsons was a 17-year-old Canadian girl who was allegedly raped by 4 boys in November 2011 at a small gathering. The incident left her in a deep depression and put her in a false light amongst her community where she was called a "slut" by her peers. During the time after the sexual assault, a picture had started circulating of one of the boys having sex with Parsons. The bullying became so intolerable that Parsons and her family relocated. Charges were never enforced because there wasn’t enough evidence to hold the case. Parsons attempted suicide in April of 2013 and was later taken off of life support by the choice of her parents. Stories like that of Parsons seems to be happening more and more to women all over the country. People are not being held accountable for sexual assaults and this can have serious consequences for the victims.
7 Audrie Pott
In September of 2012, Audrie Pott stayed the night at a friend’s house that was unsupervised by adults. As the night unraveled, dozens of her classmates from Saratoga High and alcohol had arrived at the house. Pott drank too much and was sexually assaulted by boys from her school. She woke up with her shorts pulled down and Sharpie drawings across her half-naked body. She later find out, the boys had footage of what happened that night and that they had distributed it to the peers in her school. Pott felt her life was over and on September 10, 2012, decided to end her life. The boys have since then served 30 weekends in juvenile hall and admitted to extra felonies of possessing naked pictures of girls under the age of 18. Audrie’s family also filed a wrongful death suit against the boys.
6 Nicola Ann Raphael
Nicola Ann Raphael was 15 years old when she took her own life because she was bullied by a group of kids. They made front of the fact that she wore all black and dressed goth-like. She was one in a group of 12 children that would dress that way in her school in Scotland. On the night of her death everything seemed fine with her mother who went to run an errand. When she returned, she found her daughter in her room, suffering from an overdose of painkillers. Days later she was taken off of life support. The organs donated by Raphael have since saved six other lives. But even that doesn't bring back a person who didn't deserve to be bullied out of living.
5 Jamey Rodemeyer
Jamey Rodemeyer was a bisexual teenager known for his YouTube videos that promoted people to love themselves regardless of their sexual orientation. His videos were dubbed, "It Gets Better" and focused around outlasting homophobic bullying. Although he received support from other fans who also liked Lady Gaga, kids from his school continued to call him gay slurs and torment him for over a year. He was found dead at the age of 14 on September 18th in Buffalo, NY after people had assumingly not heard his cry for help. After his death, Lady Gaga tweeted about anti-bullying and dedicated a song to Jamey at one of her concerts. It is sad to think that Jamey was able to promote so much positivity to other people with his YouTube videos but the very thing that he was aiding others with, fatally inflicted him in the end.
4 Noel Estevez & Timothy Crump
Bullying doesn't only affect victims. Noel Estevez, on the left, and Timothy Crump, on the right, were classmates together in New York. Apparently, Crump teased Estevez so much that he would not show up for school for weeks on end. Estevez had also reportedly tried to hang himself. The bullying became so severe for Estevez that on June 18th, 2014, while they left the school building, Estevez stabbed Crump multiple times. Crump was pronounced dead at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital. Estevez, 14 at the time, was tried as an adult. The debate of who was wrong doesn't matter in cases like these. The bullying should have been addressed and taken seriously and maybe the lives of both of these boys wouldn't have been affected in such a jarring way.
3 Sladjana Vidovic
Sladjana Vidovic was a Bosnia native who moved to Ohio with her family. She was bullied because of the accent she carried from speaking her native language, Croatian. She was taunted, called “Slutty Jana” and had food thrown at her on a daily basis at her school. Random calls in the middle of the night were made to her house telling her to go back to Croatia. In October of 2008, Sladjana committed suicide. Before her death, her parents had reached out to the school and were urged that they would take care of their daughter. Apparently, their efforts were either not enough or just not done in a reasonable amount of time. At her wake, Sladjana wore a pink dress that was intended for her prom. She was 16 years old with so much more ahead of her.
2 Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover
Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover was 11 years old when he took his own life because of the excessive bullying he faced at his school in Springfield, Massachusetts. His classmates would call him “gay” and torment him all throughout the school day. Anyone else notice a trend here? On the day when his mother was going to talk to school authorities about the incidents that had been happening with her son, she discovered his body. It often seems like the schools are unable to do anything about the way students treat each other. When parents drop their kids at school, out of their care, they expect that their child is safe, not only physically, but emotionally. Cuts and bruises are easy to mend but an emotionally broken child is not instantly fixable, and in some cases the children take matters into their own hands.
1 Lawrence King
Many of the cases before this one were a result of hate received by other people and resulted in suicides. The story of eight grade Lawrence King was the act of a hate crime that resulted in a murder. Weeks before his death, King had openly come out and was living out his days in junior high school in Oxnard, California. King had started wearing make-up and other feminine accessories to school. This included his favorite high-heeled boots he would wear often on his commute on the school bus. When Lawrence was in the computer lab on February 12, 2008, another student, later identified as Brandon McInerney, walked up to Lawrence and shot him. He arrived unconscious at the hospital and was declared brain dead by the next day. He died on February 14th. Brandon McInerey was charged as an adult with murder as a premeditated hate crime and possession of a gun. Children are not born to hate but some where along the way they can learn the filthy behavior of targeting those who are the "odd" ones in their perspective. Any action fueled by hate is worth analyzing.