Category Archives: No Bullying

SVU – S19 E4

Spoilers and Trigger Warning – Sexual Assault

Screenshot 2018-07-26 17.36.43I am a survivor of sexual assault, on more than one occasion. This episode really got to me because it was like my first assault, but there wasn’t an easy resolution like Mandy got. In this episode, a girl, Mandy went to a party. She was super popular because she was a vlogger, and she was beautiful. She went to a party where she was raped and written all over in black marker. The next day she was chastised and bullied because she spoke up.

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Kids were calling her names, threatening her, assaulting her and forcing her to hold her head down. She had no friends left, no one to stand up for her even though many saw what happened. They blamed her for the guys getting in trouble instead of blaming the true responsible parties.

In the end, the rapist confessed in open court, apologized and then there was an assembly with an open discussion about being victims and how you’re not alone. She was able to go back to the school and hold her head high, because the police had her back, the boy admitting to his wrong doing and other students spoke up about bullying and why they didn’t speak up for her.

For me although my case was very similar to her, I didn’t get the same luxuries as she did in the end. In seventh grade I had a Halloween party because my mother wasn’t going to be home. It was all anyone could talk about. I was excited because I invited my crush, who I won’t name, although I should.

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Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

Everyone was at my house, everyone saw the things that my crush and his three friends did. No one stood up for me, minus one friend and she was attacked as well. Everyone else went outside and waited for their rides to come, ignoring my screams, my pleas and my childhood being ripped away from me. The next day, I tried filing a police report. I told the same story four times, and was finally told by an Alexandria (Fairfax County) Police officer, that as a black girl, I probably wanted it. Four black boys wouldn’t rape a black girl. If I was white, they would’ve believed me.

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Photo by Carlos Arthur on Unsplash

Crushed is not the word that defines this moment. I felt victimized again, but trust it didn’t end there. I was branded a whore. Everyday I got on the bus things were thrown at me, people tried to fight me, and school was worse. I was pushed in the eight grade boys gym hallway where boys grabbed at me and stuck their hands in my clothes. I had girls who fought me for trying to get the “cool guys” in trouble. I had a girl pull a gun on me in the middle of the park for “lying on them”.

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Photo by Andrei Lazarev on Unsplash

I was afraid to go to school, and what made it worse, Walt Whitman Middle School did nothing to protect me no matter how many times my mother went to the school. We eventually moved after months of bullying and fights. Which doesn’t help a kid. I tried to commit suicide, I had a plan. I told two friends who called my Mom and prevented it from happening, but it took a long time to get through.

Its crazy how years later I have heard a handful of apologies from now adults who had something to do with it. One of the guys tried to friend me on social media (he got a quick decline and block). I share my story because this episode almost triggered something in me. I felt for this girl, and then I felt bad for the reality. Not all of us survive, not all of us get to where they can speak up about the harsh realities of sexual assault.

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Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

I don’t consider myself a victim. I consider myself a survivor because I fought everyday to protect me, even years after it was over. I fought to get passed and to tell my story. Yes I am a #metoo and I am opening up and finally telling my story. I hope that perhaps I can help one person to know they are not alone.

 

If you or anyone you know have suicide thoughts or plans please call 1-800-273-8255 or you can text HOME (0r CONNECT) to 741741 and someone can text you through it. Also if you have been a victim to a sexual assault call 1-800-656-4673. These numbers are available 24/7. Reach out for help! You are not alone and cannot get through it alone. 

 

Friendships: A Teaching Moment

Teaching your daughters how to be a friend and not a problem.

Todays world is a mixture of distaste, bad words and dishonesty. Our children are facing harsher discriminations, abuse and bullying because the world is no longer keeping them safe. How do we as parents teach our children to not only stand up for themselves, but to stand up for injustice and others.

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Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

I dont have boys, so I cannot speak on what is going on in boys friendships. But as a mother of four girls I am disgusted with how some of these mothers are allowing their daughters to grow up.

Could it be because more parents are young themselves? I remember when I was pregnant with my now 11 year old daughter, the lobby of the OBGYN was filled with 13 year olds pregnant with their first child. The mothers of those babies, usually in their 30s, were excited about becoming a Grandma. I can’t imagine having that same feeling.

I wonder how those 13 year olds raised their children, or if they did at all, because now the girls who are my 11 year olds age are out of control. Watching and doing challenges that can physically harm them. Playing the role of someone who has lived a “hood” life but has never been in a serious situation.

I also blame letting television and youtube raise these kids. I remember the television show, and Im not sure if it still aires, “16 & Pregnant” I remember the reason for the show was to originally show the raw hardship that a teenage pregnancy can cause, from homelessness, not having a lot of money, and the struggles that being a parent and being in school can have.

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Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Somewhere along the way, it became glorified. The thought of having a child who would love you unconditionally seemed like a great idea to the lonely and the misfortunate. An epidemic was an understatement, and those poor girls on the television show became celebrities instead of becoming a lesson.

These girls are taking Mean Girls, as a right of passage instead of taking a lesson from it. I blame the parents, but I also blame social media and schools who do not take their “No Bullying” signs seriously. We have to be the voice for these young ladies, we have to stand up for them when they feel like they have no one else to stand for them.

Having a baby shouldn’t be a trend, because along with babies there is also the fact that STDs spread further and quicker than pregnancy. So what do we do for our girls? How do we save them?

Featured photo Photo by Drop the Label Movement on Unsplash

My Kids are Afraid to go to School

We Need To Protect Our Children, It Wont Change Your Rights

After the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, there have been several more shootings or threats of shootings, including a shooting by a teacher that the politicians are pushing to arm.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

“Its getting closer and closer Mommy.” My 14 year old comes home and talks to me daily about her anxiety and fear of something happening. I told her today that she will be fine and nothing will happen to her, and then I paused. How can I say that? I’m sure those kids who went to school felt safe and never afraid of anything except the normal teenage things, like a test or a crush.

Then it was their school…

sometime around midnight a few weeks ago there was a post circulating, that the school my kids attend was to be shot up the following day. There were factors that I thought about as I read it, it only said RHS. How many RHS’ were there in the world? Several I am sure, but this said Rison kids be careful.

My daughter was in tears and begging for me not to let them go the next day. I pictured all the things that could’ve gone wrong. I imagined how many parents wish they would’ve listened to their kids begging them to stay home, how many warnings that were not taken seriously. So I decided they wouldn’t go. I called the police who offered no information, because the officer “just got on and had no information” (a simple hold on, let me find out would’ve sufficed, and his huff like I was annoying him as he hung up was heard as well…. I understand the police get a lot of calls but have patience).

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The principal posted a FB message around midnight, that I didn’t see until the next day that said it was for another state, I believe Ohio. Like that was supposed to calm us down and make us send our kids to school. My kids decided to go at 1 p.m. I wasn’t the only one who decided to keep their kids home, as many assignments and tests were rescheduled because half the school was out. I have to admit, I expected there to be police officers on campus to protect the kids and staff that did show up, just in case, there was not one. The girls said there wasn’t any though out the rest of the day either.

To say I was a mess for those four hours, would be an understatement. I couldn’t sit still and none of my conversations made much sense. I was stressed and I was scared. I kept my phone close because I told my kids that for today put their phones on silent instead of off. I told them to pay attention to their surroundings, where to hide and to not run. That if a shooter was to show up to the school be still until the police releases them.

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Photo by D x L on Unsplash

The school should’ve had a conversation or assembly discussing the fear and what to do in case, but once again, just like when the child who committed suicide, it was swept under the rug. My daughter has a full plan in place, and knows which classes have locks and are safe. My daughter shouldn’t have had to make this plan for herself, we as parents, those of us in congress and us as voters need to stop letting the NRA run and pay for the discussion on gun control to be quieted. h

To make matters worse, instead of talking about what to do, legislators are too busy talking down on teenagers who speak up for themselves, or blame the victims and say that they were the blame in some form or fashion. Bullying is a problem, but that doesn’t give anyone a reason to shoot and kill several people, besides with this kid, it wasn’t the case.

So what do we do? Its hard enough as a parent of teenagers of color, with the threat of police brutality, and racial profiling, but now we have to deal with the fact that any kid can get and own a gun. Lets not even begin to discuss the fact that they want to arm the teachers. Teachers who have way too many titles, already stressed out and get far too less pay.

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Photo by xandtor on Unsplash

There has got to be a better way, the NRA won’t allow people to have to give away their guns, but we need a compromise. War guns have no reason on the streets or accessible to civilians. An AR-15 should be for military use only. But its not only that,  its the availability to guns. Over half the kids our school district have guns and are proud of them, but shouldn’t they have a license? To drive a car you have to have a permit and take a test to get a license. Why can’t the same be done for guns.

You shouldn’t be able to go in a store and pick up a gun like a gallon of milk. There needs to be stricter regulations, because the guns are now in our schools. They are coming after our children. Something needs to be done. We need to change the conversation or vote the ones who don’t want to out.

 

Featured image: Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Every Parents Nightmare

Screenshot 2018-02-15 12.51.17Yesterday, the country watched as teenage students came pouring out Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with tear stained faces and confusion. Seems a student who was marked a bad apple was back with a vengeance. One of the teachers remember the kid as one who wasn’t allowed to have a backpack at school, he threatened the school plenty times in the past, including a comment on a YouTube video that was forwarded to the FBI, so is he the only one to blame for this crime? I don’t think so, I think there is a long line of people who are to blame for the lives that were lost.

This is a former student, a student who wasn’t allowed to bring book bags to school because of his threats towards the school. A student, that instead of getting help for whatever mental health issues that was there, was put out and left to his own thoughts and dangerous threats. Parents and kids that went to this school everyday not knowing the history. Students went today thinking it was a holiday full of love and flirting, yet had no idea that some it would be its last.

IMG_1750As a mother of four girls, two of whom are in high school, I cannot imagine this, but at the same time, unfortunately, I can. We come from a time zone where we have posters that say “No Bullying”, but we don’t abide by it. I am waiting on the backstory of this kid, because while now he is a murder, I wonder where mental health and bullying comes into play.

On his Instagram page, Cruz posted a photograph of a shotgun. In another photo, he is shown brandishing a pistol, which appeared to be a type of BB gun. In other photos, he is covering his face with a kerchief, and brandishing long knives.

Other postings under the name Nikolas Cruz also included threatening comments on YouTube and other sites, including “I whana shoot people with my AR-15 (sic),” “I wanna die Fighting killing shit ton of people,” and “I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people.” – CNN

We need to do something about how we teach and mold our children, or more attacks like this one will happen. They are already a daily issue in this country, because we don’t put the movement behind the “No Bullying” posters. Principals feel like they have too much to do than to stop a bully in his tracks, school counselors usually don’t have a psychology degree let alone a license. If there are no parents to help, which trust in these days, there aren’t many, who do these kids have to turn to? What happened to the assemblies where people would come in and tell their story about the realness of life, the pain of bullying and effects of drugs? What happened to the D.A.R.E. program, that no only told you about the dangers of drug, but also gave you information about standing up for yourself.

Screenshot 2018-02-15 12.50.24In a world full of hatred and violence, led by a President who is outward with his hate and bigotry for those who don’t look like him. His words on this tragedy were not moving, nor did his words make you feel like he wanted to find a way to change what continues to happen. America is becoming a place where a camera or video is better than helping those in harms way. Where having more likes is more important that giving your time or helping someone else in need. We didn’t and don’t just see this with everyday people, but we see that with the news outlets.

So how do we change this? How do we stop letting these children die in vain? How do we protect our youth and let them know they don’t have to be afraid when a balloon pops, when a fire alarm goes off, how to we make them safe to go outside again? I struggle with this when my daughter asks me, because how can we? What can I say, because teachers are dying with these students, guns are not the answer, but taking them away are not either.

There needs to be a discussion, there needs to be people taking back our schools and our communities. We need a Crazy Joe from Lean On Me to take over the school legislator because the little quiet caucasian lady is not it. My love and prayers are with the families and friends and those effected by the shooting.