Bullied to Death: Rebecca’s Story

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On the outside, Rebecca appeared to be the average student. If you were to see her walking down the hallways of her Lakeland middle school nothing would seem out of the ordinary. Deep down this was not the case. Rebecca suffered for an entire year as a result of intense bullying. It all started because of a boy and then escalated to involve almost fifteen girls ganging up on Rebecca daily. Cyber bullying continued to eat away at Rebecca, even after she moved to another school. It wasn’t long until she changed her Facebook name to “That Dead Girl.” Friendless, hopeless, and voiceless, Rebecca did the only thing that her little 12 year old mind could come to terms with. Late one night she jumped off a warehouse building to her death.

Teen suicide, specifically as a result of bullying, is on the rise. This is not just a high school issue, as Rebecca was in middle school. Nor does it only affect one gender, as both boys and girls are suffering. We cannot assume that bullying is limited to physical fights either, as some of the deepest scars result from our words.  The truth is that nothing is the same as it used to be; nor should our approach to anti-bullying be the same either.

Something needs to change. How do we take a stand against bullying? More importantly, how do we address this issue from both a male and female perspective? I send a plea to students, parents, and youth leaders alike: We must stand united and raise our voice for those who have none. Stand up, step out, and be someone’s superhero!

Bullying is NOT just a part of “being a kid.” It is a serious issue with severe consequences. Look at the link between bullying and suicide:  

Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University

 A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying

10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide

Nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying (ABC News)

 http://www.bullyingstatistics.org

We cannot ignore this crisis. Students need to be encouraged, empowered, and loved unconditionally on a daily basis. Do not underestimate the power of your words! Proverbs 18:21 states, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” As October comes to a close, make a commitment to stand up for those who are hurting. Let your words bring life, not death! You may just save someone’s life in the process.

Join the Youth Alive movement as we seek to equip and empower the next generation to love every student in every school across Pen Florida.

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Written by:
Natalie Barnoske
Youth Alive Missionary/Evangelist
Co-Founder of Generation Outcry International

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