Stop Bullying is a photo campaign, designed to raise awareness about bullying and express people’s disagreement with the phenomena. Stop Bullying was founded on September 23rd 2012 after a personal tragedy of one of the co-founders. Stop Bullying was founded by Matthew, Alana and Nikki. Nikki is also the official photographer of the initiative. The first people to take part in the photo shoot were Matthew’s closest – his family. After that the campaign grew exponentially, with many people contacting Nikki on facebook, requesting to take part and get their photo taken. After that celebrities like Brandon Hoover, who is the guitarist of Crown The Empire and Local Eastern Iowa New Anchor Beth Malicki from KCRG-TV9 expressed their desire to become part of the campaign. Most recently Jared Weeks and the rest of the Saving Abel crew joined in on the cause. Here is their video – check it out and see what they have to say:
Here are all the photos of the campaign: All the credit for them goes to Nikki and NPG Photography
But let’s rewind a bit.
What is bullying?
Amanda Todd, Felicia Garcia, Tyler Clementi, Phoebe Prince, Ryan Halligan and Megan Meier – they all have one thing in common – they have all been bullied until the one choice they had was to end their lives and stop the suffering. They were all bullied or abused until that breaking point. You never think about what a person’s breaking point is until it’s already too late and he/she is already gone.
Bullying is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It can fall within three main categories – physical, emotional and verbal. All of them are equally bad, you can’t possibly say that physical bullying is the worst because the emotional one could, for example, leave psychiatric damage to the targeted individual. Years may pass but that nagging feeling of inferiority that you’ve faced for years may stay there to haunt you. It can become your shadow, unless you find a way to overcome it.
Unfortunately, bullying is becoming a phenomenon, which could be witnessed daily in every part of the world. I will admit that the most famous bullying cases and consequently, school shootings originate from the US, but honestly, you can find it virtually anywhere. You can meet abusers at school, in work, on the street. Incredibly disturbing but true.
I would personally praise the movie Bang Bang You’re Dead. After watching that brilliant movie, you won’t be the same, believe me. It is set out in one suburban US high school where as usual the jocks, cheerleaders and popular kids rule the school and the artsy, loner kids get in the role of the pariah. Some of them, the social outcasts, so to say, are even called Trogs. The movie follows the character development of Josh – a loner and outcast that has previously made a false bomb threat as a result of getting constantly and mercilessly bullied by the popular kids. His drama teacher, Mr. Duncan, chooses him as the main character in a play called Bang Bang You’re Dead*. There is a massive upheaval and disapprovement of the play, coming both from faculty members and the parents. This movie shows us that if bullying is not handled in time, serious consequences could follow – such as the infamous Columbine High School Massacre. We, the audience, get an insight of how the days go by for the bullied kids, how Zero Tolerance policies and metal detectors aren’t an effective way to combat the phenomenon and how with a little bit of tolerance, understanding and positive acts to solve the problem, everything could change.
Returning to the movie – In the end, after a threat to the school’s security was stopped in time and the bullies got to see the video diary of Josh, they finally got it. In the movie, the bullies were either expelled, suspended or reprimanded. That doesn’t happen as often in real life, though. Why? Because everyone from the school administration to the teachers try to stay away from the problem. The most startling thing is that 9 out of 10 teachers will act as if they don’t know what’s happening and turn a blind eye.
A moment before the end credits, we can see Mr. Duncan, content with the result. He had managed to achieve his aim, which was to raise awareness of the bullying problem and to open up the eyes of everyone, using a positive and artistic solution, meaning the play. This movie makes us, the society, take a hard look at the issue and motivates us to be proactive. I, personally, could not ignore the problem or act as if I haven’t seen how someone gets abused. No chance! Bullying, hazing, name calling, horsing around or whatever you want to call it – it’s an issue and actions need to be taken, before it’s too late for thousands of kids.
Do you know the three options of a hazed child for development? – Firstly, suicide, as a way to escape the pain and end it; option number two would be a total nervous breakdown and as we’ve witnessed many a times – possible school shooting (though not all shooting are a result of bullying); the final option is to ignore it all, become stronger, thick-skinned, motivate oneself to excel to prove his assailants wrong and channel his/her knowledge and experience for good, like campaigns against bullying.
I am a person, who chose the third option and I think that so far, I’ve done quite well for myself. I have recently graduated from uni and am planning to devote my time to charity, volunteering and let’s not forget – raising awareness of the bullying problem. I would love to see people mobilise, do whatever they can to prevent this ‘disease’, from spreading more than it already has, and help the seemingly weaker and introvert people to cope and feel better about themselves. That’s what I’m preaching – tolerance! I honestly can’t understand why we can’t be nice, helpful and understanding of other people’s needs, culture and personalities. I strongly hope that this will change in the future and that people will stop tolerating the bullies. Until then, please have a look at the Stop Bullying campaign, that I’ve told you about a bit earlier or any of the other anti-bullying initiative and please, stand up and speak out for the people that can’t find the courage to do it for themselves.
* The play called Bang Bang You’re Dead was written a bit before the infamous Columbine High School Shooting and it was heavily based on the facts of Thurston High School Shooting, which happened on May 20, 1998. Since its premier on April 7, 1999 in Eugene, Oregon the play has been downloaded over 100,000 times, leading to thousands of productions in schools, community centres and churches throughout America and the world.