Your Bullying Did Not Break Me by Katie Bucklein
Apr21

Your Bullying Did Not Break Me by Katie Bucklein

Your Bullying Did Not Break Me by Katie Bucklein Sometimes, when I think back to my high school years, they feel like yesterday. In a way, they were. I graduated in 2012 as an eighteen-year-old with a single blonde stripe in my brown hair (18yo-me thought it was bad-ass) and a goal to one day become the Secretary of Defense (lofty, I know). But that’s still four years between high school and now, where I am as a twenty-one-year-old college senior determined to become a real life Abigail Chase and a published author. But what I want to talk about occurred back in 2009, during the first months of my freshman year of high school. To provide a bit of backstory, I had moved to Arizona with my family (two older brothers, two younger sisters, two parents, and a crazy dog) when I was in 7th grade. I wasn’t a very social person, very shy and bookish, of which I am very glad. Had I not been that person, I would never be where I am today. I don’t even think I would be writing, so even though moving was a horror story at the time, I’m glad it happened. I had two lives, if you will: one at school, where I had a best friend (we shall dub her Saruman), and one at home, where I had another best friend in my neighborhood (we shall dub her Sauron). By the time we entered high school, Sauron had decided to attend the school that Saruman and I had been accepted into. It’s a small school, no more than 200 students. My graduating class was 40 total. And I thought Sauron, Saruman, and I would become the Three Musketeers. Saruman and Sauron had hit it off almost immediately after I introduced them that first day of freshman year, but as we had differing schedules, I was not in their orbit. The only time I saw the two of them was during lunch and passing periods, since our lockers were nearby each other. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what happened to cause all of this to begin to unfold. Perhaps it was because they were together all the time, and I had to make other friends in my schedule of classes. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t “cool” enough to hang out with them. After all, I was awkward and shy and dorky. (I recall, about a year after I had been friends with Saruman, she told me, “I thought you were this weird short girl when I first saw you.” Perhaps that should have been a signal that...

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The day my heart broke … a story about bullying.
Apr21

The day my heart broke … a story about bullying.

I usually keep this site to contests, workshops, promoting others, and book announcements. Rarely do I veer off and talk about myself, but I have something to share today. Some of you may have seen a clip of a video I passed around last month. It’s of a young member of my family (we’ll call her A) being jumped in the hallway of her school. She’s only twelve. Some girls decided that A wasn’t worthy of respect. Their jealousies and hatred toward her was so great that they decided to attack A and record it. Here’s the snippet I had shared … http://www.brenda-drake.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Stop-Bullying.mp4   In the video, one girl waits with phone ready while two girls stop A at the perfect spot to record the encounter. The girl recording it then yells, “Sienna, swing!” A dodges the first blow and pushes the girl away from her. That’s when the bigger girl moves in and punches A. Watching this recording made me sick. Broke my heart. My sweet A was attacked! The girls then spread the video on all their social media accounts to further humiliate A. It’s the new trend–attack someone, record it, share it, and become famous. Famous? How sick have we become as a society that our children are laughing at these cruel videos–laughing at the victims? I have no words. As I said, my heart is breaking. Bullying is nothing new. Most of us have experienced it. I was bullied my entire sixth grade year by an eighth grader. I still remember her name. Victims always remember the names of their bullies. It stays with you like the scar that the abuse leaves behind in your memories. Nowadays, it’s even worse. I see it in our community, online, it’s everywhere. Recorded and shared so that the bullying continues way after the incident ended. On the social media site where this was shared, it got hundreds of likes/favorites/whatever. Our kids are watching these videos as a form of entertainment. They share it with their friends and watch together and laugh at the victim and praise the attackers for getting the best of their victim. It vicious. And sad. In the video, A is surrounded by her classmates. No one stepped forward to help. Not one ran off to get a teacher. Not one. How can we stop it? I don’t think we can completely stop it. We could prevent more incidents. Maybe? It’s so much bigger than us. I believe we start at home. We must teach our kids to stand up for one another. That viewing and liking videos of acts of bullying is not right....

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