News / Health

Teens Share Devastating Impact of Bullying

Faiza Elmasry
Bullying can take different shapes and forms such as social isolation, verbal assaults and physical harassment.

Elana Burack is a high school senior in North Carolina. Three years ago, she had a group of girls she spent most of her time with. They were close friends, or so she thought. 

“We'd eat together at lunch and go to parties and share secrets," Burack said. "One day I decided to sit with a different group of girls at lunch. I didn’t think this would be a problem.” 

But it was. 
Dozens of teens share their experiences in the book, "Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies and Bystanders."Dozens of teens share their experiences in the book, "Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies and Bystanders."
x
Dozens of teens share their experiences in the book, "Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies and Bystanders."
Dozens of teens share their experiences in the book, "Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies and Bystanders."


“I was sort of cornered by my friend group and told, ‘You’re not allowed to do that. You have to sit with us. You're not allowed to sit with other people,’" Burack said. "At that moment I sort of realized - are these girls really my friends? - and I sort of had to reflect on our whole friendship and thought of all the other times they had been possessive of me and controlling and had told me what to do.” 

Burack confronted the girls with her disappointment about their friendship.

“You’re supposed to support me, help me and encourage me," she said. "I don’t feel like you’re doing that, that I wasn’t sure that we could be friends anymore.” 

Burack is one of more than 80 teenagers who shared their experiences in a new book, Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies and Bystanders

“It’s extremely painful to hear how cruel people can be towards each other,” said Stephanie Meyer, co-creator of a monthly magazine written by and for teens, who helped edit the stories. “Very often a young person who is bullied becomes very depressed, or because they're depressed, bullying affects them even more. There are too many instances of teens who have committed suicide as a result.” 

But bullying, she says, is also a cry for attention. 

“Very often the bullies themselves have been victims," said Meyer. "They are trying to regain the power that they have lost in being bullied at home or by other older children when they were young. And so they regain a sense of power by being the actual bully.” 

With the growth of social media, Meyer says, cyber-bullying has become a serious problem. 

“One young woman who was at a party, the end of the summer...At one point, part of her bathing suit apparently was kind of revealing and a picture was taken," Meyer said. "It was posted on Facebook and she wasn’t even aware of it for weeks.” 

At first, 17-year-old Autumn Bornholdt was too embarrassed to tell her family.

“I was mortified. I couldn’t believe that these girls who I thought were my friends had not told me that this picture was online,” she said. "I was actually at the doctor’s office with my mom one day. One of my true friends texted me and said, ‘Oh my goodness, there is another post on your Facebook wall.’ Then I read it and just started to cry. My mom asked me why I was crying. I told her. She immediately started calling all of these other girls’ parents asking them to remove these nasty posts.”

Being bullied when she was in 7th grade is a painful experience that 18-year-old Sitav Nabi, now a college freshman, will never forget. She says there was one particular girl who had always picked on her. 

“As I was walking home, she was across the street. She was throwing rocks at me," Nabi said. "I had my headphones on and didn’t realize until she hit me several times. I went to my house and when my mother realized that, she went to the police and reported her. But when I went to school the next day, instead of feeling sorry for me and understand it was wrong, everyone else attacked me because they said I had purposely gotten her into trouble.” 

Passive and reluctant bystanders, she says, are just as guilty as bullies.

“If you are watching someone being bullied, being attacked, and you know it’s wrong, you have to stand up and make them stop because you’re traumatizing another human being,” Nabi said. 

Nabi and the other teens who shared their experiences about bullying hope by raising awareness about the problem they’re helping others realize they are not alone, so they can stand up for themselves and their friends, and put an end to bullying.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid