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Your voice is strong, now right the wrong. November 7, 2013

Posted by jeneypeney in i'm just sayin', life, love harder, sports.
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A few months ago, I sat among a couple thousand people in a loud, dark arena taking in what was one of the best rock shows I had been to in a while. The music was phenomenal. The stage set was amazing. I was having the time of my life.

And I was crying.

We don’t have to take this, back against the wall.
We don’t have to take this. We can end it all.

“But Jeney – why on earth would you cry at a ROCK concert? Isn’t that an atmosphere full of screaming like a maniac, head-banging, and all-around shenanigans? Why on earth would this bring you to tears?”

I won’t lie. I was kind of embarrassed about crying at the show. I buried my head in The Actual’s chest and hid my face from my neighboring fans. But I couldn’t help it.

Because the band played one song for their encore. This song. And as the band was playing their final song, this video was projected on the screen behind the drum set. It was simply too much for me to handle.

It was too much.

All you’ll ever be is a fading memory of a bully.
Make another joke while they hang another rope. So lonely.

You see – these lyrics hit so close to home. They were sung by my youngest brother when he would come home bawling his eyes out because the kids at school were teasing him for not being able to read as well as they could.

They were sung by my other brother when he was shot in the face by a BB gun on the school bus because he wasn’t as social as the other kids.

They were sung by me when I was teased in front of everyone at a birthday party for having no idea what “being fingered” or “getting eaten out” meant.

They were sung by Amanda Todd, Rehtaeh Parsons, Jessica Laney, and countless others. Every time I hear a new story of someone being bullied, my heart rips itself apart.

Push them to the dirt till the words don’t hurt.
Can you hear me?

You’ve heard it before…  “Kids are cruel.”    “Boys will be boys.”

These are not excuses for us to continue to allow kids to be tormented to a point where they take their own lives; to be tormented at all.

“Football is a man’s sport! Get tough!”

And this. This is not an excuse for us – as adults – to perpetuate the problem.

No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die.
You’re a bully.

It would be redundant to sum up the current bullying scandal happening in the NFL because it is all over the internet. Pull your head out from the rock you live under and Google it. But I will say this:

I understand the locker room code everyone keeps preaching about. When I was at Notre Dame, the adventures of the locker room was something us women were never made privy to – none of it was allowed to leave the space and we weren’t allowed in.

Right now, there is a sign on the NDSU locker room that says, “What you see here, what you do here, what you hear here. Let it stay here when you leave here.”

I get it.

The locker room is a sacred space. It is a space for teams to bond, celebrate, and grieve away from the public eye and in their own way as a cohesive group. It is a space where the team can be exactly and only that – the team.

So when the team’s space violates a teammate’s ability to be a part of that cohesive group… when someone feels tormented in the team space by a member of their team… what does that say about “the team” and “the locker room”?

Regardless of the code, dehumanizing someone because they sought help for emotional distress doesn’t make them weak; it makes you foolish.

Proclaiming on national television that someone has ruined their career because they called someone out on bullying them does only one thing; perpetuates a culture of victim blaming.

All it takes is one child to hear about the football player who lost everything because he spoke up about being bullied. All it takes is for that one child to be hurt and ostracized by their own peers. All it takes is that child to suffer in silence because they fear the repercussions of speaking up.

All it takes? Is that child’s life.

Bullying is bullying. Regardless of age.

We don’t have to take this back against the wall.

We don’t have to take this. We can end it all.

You really want to man up? Take a stand against bullying.

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