My speech for ELA class, Southside.
Every 14.2 minutes, someone in the United States dies by suicide. Over one million people make an attempt every year. 90% of people that die by suicide had a treatable mental disorder at the time of their death.
Stop and think. How many of you have ever bullied someone? How many of you have been bullied? How many of you have seen it and stood idly by and watched, not bothering to stop it? Now think about how that one person you watched get tormented, think about how he or she went home and blew their brains out. Think of how it is partially your fault. You did nothing to stop it. You are indirectly an accomplice to that person’s murder. No, not suicide. Murder.
Why do people get bullied? Is it their sexuality? Is it their height, weight, disabilities? What about their mental issues? Maybe they’re just different. We all have seen it. In Arizona, a young, bright, seemingly happy boy was bullied for being gay. He told his mother, his school, and his peers. His mother went to the school but none bothered to help. He ended up killing himself. Now that could have been prevented, but it wasn’t.
Bullying someone doesn’t make you any better. Calling someone stupid, doesn’t make you any smarter. Calling someone fat, doesn’t make you any thinner. In fact, bullying like this makes you less than half the person you think you are. That girl you call a slut day by day, she’s a virgin helping raise her brother and sister. That attention whore you rag on for crying on people’s shoulders is beaten daily by her father. That boy you pushed on the playground yesterday, because he wears a hoodie all the time, he strays away from people, or he’s different… “weird”. His arms were lined with cuts, and after you pushed him, over the edge, he went home and took his life. You were that final straw for him, you pushed him over that ledge and felt NOTHING. Do you really think that that makes you any better?
Many students at our school have been bullied, beaten and abused. How many of you bothered to stop it? Don’t say “I”, because I’ve seen all of you, none of you helped them, many of you joined in. What if… What if they weren’t thinking? What if, they were alone? What if none of those few people who talked to them bothered to help? What they carried out, harmful, or even murderous plots? How many of you would be to blame? What if they turned that pain on themselves instead? If they went home, took a gun and blew their brains out. That would be on you, on all of you. What would you have to say? What would you do? Would you feel guilty at all?
Those of you who have seen bullying, imagine right now how harsh it is. Now imagine feeling that, feeling you DESERVE it. Imagine growing accustom to, and even wanting it. Imagine that better than being home. Imagine coming to school, being bullied, and tormented. Now imagine going home, being beaten, bruised, burned, mentally and physically abused by your parents day, by day, by day.
Now from the side of the bully, imagine feeling not good enough, single out a target, aim, be the one that pulls the trigger. Imagine feeling good about yourself while tearing them down. Imagine smiling at their tears, their cries and screams. Feel free hurting them, smile and pull that trigger again, and again and again. Stuck in the same situation and different faces, causing more pain to make yourself smile and feel lighter.
Now back to that bullied kid. Feel good about the screams and cries, be happy to let it out and have reason to. Feel great about the lighter beating, the childish words. Love the feeling of being just hurt, not near killed. Go home, feel the pain and misery sink in as you walk up to that house. See it stand, hundreds of feet tall, iron gates locking you in, pulling you to your own demise. You start thinking of ways to avoid the beatings. One sinks in. Your parent’s gun, or that knife laying in the kitchen drawer. Grab the knife, the gun, lock yourself in your room, think of that salvation, to get away from life and the torment. Put the blade to your wrist, press down, slide it, release and feel lighter. Put the gun to your head, lock, load, pull the trigger, and feel free at last.
To the schools, what are they doing? We’ve all been to bullying seminars and such. Well what are they really doing? Nothing. They do nothing until it is too late. That damage is there, it will always be there. You know there are teachers who join in? How many of you seniors have been told not to get your graduation gear yet? How many of you have had that math teacher? I won’t name, but how many of you have had her tell you to, “Shut the fuck up”? They tease students, put them down, comment on their sexuality even curse at them and laugh at the thought. Now what is being done about that? Absolutely nothing. We need schools to do more, to prevent this. How many students will be pushed too far and take that final plunge before something is done. Push for change, strive for it. End their suffering and stop it. Together we can stop the bullying, suicide and self-harm. Save a life and speak up.