Bullycide, a term coined by Neil Marr and Tim Field in the book Bullycide: Death at Playtime, is the combination of two words bullying and suicide indicating that bullying, in some cases, can lead to the victim committing suicide. Suicide is a very hard subject to talk about and understand. Bullying on the other hand is talked about and discussed much more openly. This new term Bullycide is a way to look at the possible link between bullying and suicide.
Bullycide is gaining attention because loved ones left behind, when someone commits suicide, want to tell their story. They want to prevent the same thing from happening to others and they want justice for their loved one. Bullying can happen anywhere, from online or cyber bullying to bullying at work, home, school, through text messaging and more. Bullying statistics are on the rise according to bullying statistics reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. In 2007 32% of students aged 12-18 reported having been bullied at school during the school year, these bullying statistics are up from 14% in 2001.
So, what is bullying? Bullying has been defined in many different ways. A general definition found on the web states “the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something”. This is a very broad generalization and by no means all inclusive. Bullying can be through taunting, exclusion, verbal methods, physical intimidation,or even written means and can occur between any number of individuals: parent to child, teacher to student, boy to girl and the opposite of any of these. Bullying knows no limits. Often the one doing the bullying thinks they are teasing ad mean no real harm. What may have little or no effect on on person could be devastating to another.
Some cases of bullying are cut and dry and easy to prove but most cases of bullying are subtle and carried out through social media or other means that may conceal identity and make it very hard to prove and/or track. Because of all the variables involved in bullying and how bullying affects each individual, suicide or bullycide occurs far more often than it should. Any suicide brings about questions of why didn’t someone do something? Why didn’t anyone help this individual. The truth is, there is no easy answer. No one can fully understand what another person is going through. Something that may seem trivial to one individual may be devastating to another.
There is no easy answer for preventing bullying, suicide, or bullycide. Talk to your loved ones. Listen to your loved ones. Seek professional help if you are concerned that a loved ones behavior is not normal. Talk to your children about bullying from a young age. When your child comes to you with hurt feelings take the opportunity to help them recognize the pain that comes from being hurt by someone else so that they will think about and recognize it when presented with the opportunity to be mean to another. Just because it is hard and there are no easy answers doesn’t mean we do nothing but rather it means we do many small things all the time.