By Kerri-lyn Traves, Vice President

Stand up and speak out to prevent bullying (photo courtesy of google images)

Stand up and speak out to prevent bullying (photo courtesy of google images)

 “Selfish,” “fake,” “I hate you,” “I hope you get pregnant and the father dies in a fire,” “b****,” “ugly,” “No faggots aloud on the bus,” “You look boring today.” These are some things that have been said to me (mostly in college, pathetically enough); I’ve even received text messages from an anonymous number telling me how horrible of a person and “whore” I was. So what was your bullying experience like? I say this like I know because chances are, you’ve been bullied or know someone who has been.

   So are you thinking, “I’ve heard enough about bullying”? Yeah, you probably are, it seems like the talk of bullying has been all over the place for too long. But here’s the thing: Bullying doesn’t go away. It doesn’t go away because we keep talking about it. It doesn’t go away because we’re sick of hearing it. It doesn’t go away after high school.

  18% of college students have reported being bullied in person, and 22% via the Internet (gse.buffalo.edu). This does not include the students that don’t report their cases. Cyber bullying is of course higher because the bullies are too cowardly to say anything to victim’s face. As many as 100,000 students drop out every year due to bullying (Buffalo State University of New York Anti-Bullying Initiative).

   So why do people bully? Well, a multiple of reasons of course. I obviously don’t know all of them, but it can be jealousy, anger, body image, hatred, etc. In high school someone actually told me that they put others down purposely so that they would feel better about themselves. Shocking, right? This was very upfront, but did you know you could be bullying someone and not even realize it? If you’re putting someone down in any way, please think about it and reflect about whether it is bullying or not. You can’t simply get frustrated and put them down to let out anger, it can really get to them, or whoever the go-between person is.

   I say this so that people really realize that there are many different types of bullies. You can simply be bad mouthing someone, or you could be taunting them, or sending negative facebook messages, or you could be physically hurting them, or anywhere in-between.

   All of these types of bullying affect the victim. It can cause depression, self-hatred, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, suicide, etc. I bet we all remember the college man a couple of years ago who killed himself the day that his roommate posted a video of him having relations with another man. Sometimes victims cannot stand to be alive anymore. They are completely miserable because of the attacker(s).

   Bullying does not go away when someone reaches college. We need to be aware of the signs of bullying and the signs that someone in front of us is a victim. Many people are unaware that it happens in college years. Awareness and action: These are two keys to stopping bullying, the more awareness the better.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call 1-800-273-TALK.