Bullycide: Suicide as a Result of Bullying

While it is now well known that bullying is very damaging to its victims, it is still not generally considered to be a serious issue. Throughout time immemorial victims have been told to "toughen up," "stop whining," to "get a thicker skin" or to “fight...

On January 4, 2012 Amanda Diane Cummings, a fifteen year old Staten Island adolescent, died from injuries sustained the preceding week after she jumped in front of a bus.  The high school sophomore was carrying a note related to the unrelenting bullying she was experiencing by classmates who taunted her, threatened her, and also stole her personal possessions.  Peers continued to post cruel and inappropriate comments on Amanda's Facebook wall while she was in the hospital after being struck by the bus.

While it is now well known that bullying is very damaging to its victims, it is still not generally considered to be a serious issue.  Throughout time immemorial victims have been told to "toughen up", "stop whining", to "get a thicker skin" or to “fight back”.  When a victim of bullying attempts to get help, he/she is frequently betrayed by the authorities or told "no one likes a tattle-tale".  Considering the devastating, and sometimes fatal, consequences of bullying, society must re-examine its attitude to this issue.

Bullying will cause depression.  Depression is the leading cause in all cases of suicide.  According to the American Psychiatric Association over half of all kids who suffer from depression will eventually attempt suicide; seven percent will be successful.  Every ½ hour a youth who has been bullied will complete suicide.  Another estimated 19,000 victims of bullying will attempt suicide this year. 

Definition of Bullying

Fundamentally, bullying is a repeated physical, verbal, and/or psychological assault.  Bullying has three essential components; intent to cause harm, repeated hurtful acts, and a disparity of power. It includes physical attack, intimidation, rumor-spreading, isolation, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of possessions/identity, destruction of another’s work, and name-calling.  Bullying revolves around using intimidation directed at victims who cannot properly defend themselves due to size, strength, disability, or because the victim is outnumbered. Cyberbullying (instant messaging, chat room exchanges, Web site posts, digital messages and/or images via cell phone or PDA) make it easier for children and teens to bully one another.

Granted, not all taunting, teasing and fighting constitutes bullying.  Two individuals of approximately the same physical or psychological strength fighting or arguing is not bullying. Rather, bullying entails recurring acts by someone perceived as physically or psychologically more powerful.

Definition of Bullycide

Bullycide is a new term used to identify those children/teens who were victims of bullying and became so emotionally distressed that they committed suicide.  Children and adolescents who are repeatedly bullied live in a chronic state of fear and confusion. Attempting suicide due to the suffering caused by bullying leads many children and adolescents to believe that the only way to escape the assaults, rumors, insults, verbal abuse and terror is to take their own life. There are multiple reasons that ultimately can lead to bullycide including:

  • Exposure to relentless physical and/or emotional bullying by peers
  • Experiencing continuous resultant pain due to the bullying
  • Having to incessantly relive humiliating moments that are repeatedly brought up by peers as a means of torment
  • Having no other friends to rely on for support or encouragement while being bullied regularly
  • Being the victim of bullying by an authority figure (parent, teacher, coach, etc)

The Staggering School Bullying Statistics:

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