Saturday, October 19, 2013


Welcome back to Through Stephanie's Eyes. The last time we visited together I shared a video I found on Facebook that literally brought me to my knees. The bullying depicted in the video led to the child attempting suicide. Of course the video was a dramatization depicting a "what if" scenario, but the actions were very real. That type of tormenting does occur on a daily basis and is getting out of hand.

It horrifies me to see more and more of these type of stories in the news. Just within the last few weeks two Florida teens were arrested for their part in the vicious cyberbullying that lead to the suicide of one of their classmates. Now another beautiful young woman is being harassed mercilessly by other students and strangers because she's different. 

Shea Shawhan is an 18 year old high school junior in Texas. For the last eight months she's been receiving horrible texts calling her ugly, whore, wishing she would have a seizure and die already.  Yeah, that sort of sick crap is going on by people who think they can say anything they want under the guise of being anonymous over the Internet and in text messages. 

Who does this sort of crap? Why on earth do this other than to get your rocks off out of deliberately hurting another human being?

It's time we all stood up to this sort of childish, mean spirited and ILLEGAL activity. These people think they can get away with doing this to Shea and others because they don't think they'll be found out or turned in. 

I've got news for you asshats. Sending threats and harassing messages over text, phone, or the Internet is a crime and they authorities do have the ability to trace where these messages originate. You will be brought to justice and the book thrown at you. No longer will you be able to hide behind the idea "kids will be kids."  The judicial system has ZERO tolerance for this sort of thing.

Whether you are an adult or a minor, you will be punished to the full extent of the law. Those of us with Shea will accept no less.  

If you are the target of this kind of harassment and bullying, don't keep quiet. STAND UP.  Tell the local police. Tell your story so others will do the same. Bullies only have the power if we stand back and let them have it.
I'm with Shea and all the others like her. Are you?

To learn more about Shea and lend your voice with hers and her mother's, follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Turning the Tables On The Norm: Bullying Hurts Everyone #BRAVE #MyWANA #ASMSG

One of my friends on Facebook posted a Youtube video that grabbed my attention immediately. By the end of it, I was in tears and moved to write about it. The creators of this powerful short film turned the tables on society "norms" by portraying a world where heterosexuality was considered taboo. Everything in day to day life revolved around this concept from school to religion.  Take a look for yourself.

I'll let you take a moment or two to compose yourself.  (passes tissues).  Okay?

This amazing video depicts bullying from a point of view you many never have experienced. As a heterosexual myself, I've never been picked on or shunned because of my sexuality, but I have friends and family who have. I stayed quiet about it for far too long thinking it would just go away if we ignored it.  Well it didn't and it won't.  The time for silence is over. 

Teaching our children to hate those people who are different whether it's because of their sexual preferences, weight, color or religion is wrong. By doing so, we create another generation of intolerant, narrow minded individuals. Instead of talking "smack," why not encourage you children to listen, learn and formulate their own ideas and opinions.  You may not agree with everything they say or do, but that's the beauty of life. If we're all cookie cutter images, life would be boring and we miss out on so many other experiences and possibilities.

Children don't just start out being mean and nasty. It's a learned behavior. They emulate the adults and older kids in their community in order to fit in or get attention. Look at the video again. The part in church where the reverend is condemning heterosexuals from the pulpit after laws have been passed to make it legal for "breeders" to get married mirrors exactly what's happening across the country now.  The teacher berating the child who was just bullied is classic. Telling the victim if they would only just try to fit in the attacks wouldn't happen is the wrong advice. That teacher should have stepped up and protected that child.

This is what the #BRAVE movement is all about. Stand up and make your voice be heard. If you see an injustice, speak up and don't let it go on. Don't sit back in silence hoping it will all pass over.  It won't. 

The differences between us are what make us unique and the world an exciting place to be. We can learn from each other and grow as human beings because of our differences. By cutting people out of your life who are different than you or hold different beliefs, you've not only done yourself a disservice, but also to those who could have benefited from having you in their lives.

Speak up and stand up for these children being tortured by their peers. STAND UP for marriage equality. SPEAK OUT against discrimination of any kind. You don't have to share the same religious beliefs, but support another's right to have their own or none at all. If just one of us stands strong with these innocents, another life can be saved.  Just like the song says, "Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave."