‘DON’T Name and Shame Bullies’ Begs Sister of Bullied Teen Who Took Her Life
Ask any parent if they have it all figured out, and you’ll no doubt get the answer that they are just muddling through, making it up as they go along. It applies to everything from the first days of trying to figure out what their incessant and all consuming cries mean throughout the long and wearisome nights, to helping them on their first steps to independence as school-leavers. Many would argue that a mother’s work is never done. We’ll worry about them until their dying day, or our own because that will surely come first.
But for some, that is sadly not the case.
Last week we shared the devastating story of Jessi – the 14 year old teen who took her own life after suffering years of bullying.
It was a story that was heartbreaking and confronting in equal measure – a much needed reminder for those of us who think that if bullying does not effect us personally we don’t need to stand up and do something to prevent it.
It is a problem that affects us all. If we want our children to understand the impact that bullying behaviour has on their peers, if we expect them to stand up rather than stand by whilst bullying happens, we need to understand it ourselves and be prepared to have these candid and much needed conversations with our children and our teens.
Why should we shield our children from the fact that their words and actions, or the words and actions of their peers, can have such devastating ramifications, if no one is prepared to protect and shield the children who are the victims of such behaviour?
But, what should be done with the perpetrators of these crimes? Many would say ‘naming and shaming’ the bullies is the best, most just course of action, and goodness knows in a world where social media is always just a hand-grasp away, it’s tempting isn’t it? Why not make those bullies feel the humiliation, the self-loathing, the helplessness that their victim was made to feel, right?
In a surprising turn of events. the family of Jessi Graham are urging their friends and family and the family and friends of other bullying victims not to name and shame the bullies.
In the words of Jessi’s 23 year old step-sister Jess (known as Big Jess to their family)
DO NOT BULLY A BULLY. We do not want to become bullies ourselves by picking on those who already pick on others. That is not fixing anything. We need to be SMART. Record the bullies, screen shot whatever horrible things they are saying to you. TALK TO SOMEONE, talk to me. I will help you stop this. Most importantly, DEFEND THOSE WHO ARE BEING BULLIED. Tell the bully to stop. Do not encourage them. Do not be a by stander. Together we are strong. Together we can lift each other up. Together we can save and change lives. Together we are unstoppable and we can make this world a very beautiful and kind place.
Parents, speak to your children today and share this story with them. Make them aware that this is what can happen when kids say or do nasty things to other kids. Education is the key to prevention my friends.
She did this because of the torment that she had endured from cowardly bullies day in and day out. She did this because nasty horrible people had told her to. She did this because she believed them when they would tell her that she was ugly, fat, a bitch, that they were going to bash her or kill her, and loved ones of hers. PLEASE DO NOT BE SO NIAVE TO THINK THAT THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO YOUR FAMILY.
This is real. Bullying is real. Mental health is REAL. There are so many more kids out there struggling on a daily basis, begging not to go to school, cutting themselves to feel something, starving their young and growing bodies to control something. Today, and EVERY DAY, make a stand and do not let these bullies push people to these points. What kind of world are we living in?? Why can’t we just love one another and embrace each others differences. We are all special and wonderful in our own unique ways.
You can read what Jessi’s mum has to say about naming and shaming bullies here
In another heartfelt post on the Bobdan Facebook page Jessi’s other step-sister Peppi describes the very real impact that the loss of her sister, just 15 weeks ago has had on her personally.
My beautiful angel of a sister, jessy I say this to you everyday but it honestly isn’t the same without you. So much instantly changed. I got that phone call from dad sobbing down the phone choking out the words ‘sorry peppy’ along side words I’ll never forget. You were gone. I vomited down nanas driveway trying to pull myself together to get to the hospital. That drive honestly took what seemed like forever. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know weather I was about to wake up. All I knew was that a part of me died when you did. It’s this dark hole that consumes you when your forced to face reality.
My heart changed that day jessy. It was like an instant disconnection towards life. And you start asking yourself why.
– WHY should I wake up and brush my teeth
– WHY should I get out of bed and eat breakfast
– WHY should I get out of bed and go to a job that doesn’t mean anything but money?
– WHY should I put nice clean clothes on and put on my makeup and head out to the world to try and impress this horrible species that took you away from us? How is that fair? Everything just got hard jessy. My relationships with friends and loved ones took a turn, purely because I stopped caring. How was I meant to keep something alive and full of happiness and warmth when I didn’t even know what those words meant anymore. Going out to socialise became just as hard as sitting at home alone in the quietness. You don’t understand how much people complain about the smallest dumbest things in the world and take their life for granted until you loose something so important to you.
I have been told since you left us that my resilience is ‘inspiring’. But what is so inspiring about losing your mind, losing relationships and losing my little sister? Nothing about me is inspiring. I’m lost. I’m so lost in this world of shit. All I’m trying to do is keep busy but the more I do that the more I let others around me down.
This feeling is never ending and I want people to realise how much their words have not only affected my angel of a sister but also the world that connects to her
Which is us. Every night I try to dream about jessy, in hope I’ll get to see her face again. I’ll get to converse with her again. Even a glimpse of her pretty little face.
Please just think about your actions towards others and the things you say. No one wants to live this nightmare. No one deserves to live this. All I want is you chook. I love you so so much.
There are no winners, only losers, and with the mental heath and wellbeing of our vulnerable young people at stake why are we continuing to allow bullying behavior to happen without consequence? If we are to resist the temptation to name and shame bullies then surely the government needs to give us recourse to find a more fitting and justified outcome? We will not keep burying our heads in the sand like emus and hoping that this issue will go away.
Suicide is the top cause of death for 15-24 year olds in Australia and alarmingly, self-harming deaths go up 657% when comparing those between 12-13 and 14-15 years old.
None of us want our child to be a part of this statistic.
Angels Hope are running an online petition on their website www.angelshope.org.au for each state in Australia, to strengthen the fight against the bully.
We urge you to take a few moments to click through to the petition and pledge your support.