Eleven year-old Mitchell Wilson took his own life after enduring months of cruel and violent bullying from his peers. Yet another young life lost to bullying— all I can say is “ugh.” This is no small issue. According to the website Make a Sound for a Voice Unheard, 160,000 children miss school every day out of fear of intimidation and attacks by other students.
As a counseling psychology graduate student and someone who has volunteered with children and adolescents for more than six years, I’m sorry to report that this is an all-too-common theme for children today. I have seen how a constant barrage of social networks (and the availability of instant communication among peers), provides bullies the unfortunate opportunity to destroy a child’s reputation within seconds. Humiliated and with no chance to defend themselves, children are left feeling helpless and defeated. In a conversation with his grandmother days before his death Mitchell said: “My biggest issue is that I can’t protect myself, and if a man cannot protect himself, then he is not a man.”
Here, Dr. Peter A. Levine shares his personal experiences with bullying. He emphasizes how we can bring back empowerment to the children who are being victimized:
We need to be dedicating our time to building our youth’s resiliency. Guiding them in finding their innermost strength and empowerment is so desperately needed in these times of skewed communication. I hope in Peter’s words you can find the optimism we need to help prevent more tragedies like Mitchell’s.
Rock on Trauma Healers,
Author Laura Piché has been an employee for the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute for over four years and currently serves as the media administrator. Laura has completed the beginning and intermediate levels of the SE training and is the co-coordinator of the 2011 Denver SE training. She is currently working on her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Regis University.
Photo by Eddie~S