Most of you know my young adult writing by now, but in the event that I’m new to you as an author, I advocate for abused youth and sometimes I write about recovering from abuse—including bullying—in an effort to do my small part in the world to inspire victims to learn to live again after abuse. Some works coming in 2015 will be less centered on abuse, but still centered on the very real problems our youth face today.
Bullying doesn’t only occur among youth. It also occurs among adults. I feel fortunate in that most friends and authors who I hang with are passionately against bullying and any sort of abuse. Yet, it does happen. At the risk of being deemed unPC in the extreme, the spiritual and mental sloth that exists in our society today about abuse and bullying infuriates me no end. I’ll skip the arguments put forth about “millenials” or “Generation Y” which paint a picture of a cohort characterized by inaction, hiding behind a computer and an iPhone, expecting things to come easily—and when they don’t, for others to do it for them. While I do agree with the less-than-favorable characterization to a nominal degree, I don’t agree that it is only the members of our youngest generation who live in a chronic state of inaction and acedia. Why? Because the instances in which we see willful ignorance have nothing to do with age. They have more to do with the age we live in and a cultural diffusion of responsibility.
It comes in many forms; primarily from those who choose not to get involved for no reason other than personal gain. It is the co-worker who walks away when you’re being degraded in public by your boss for fear of being tainted by association with you. It comes in the form of the “friend” who offers no response in the form of politically correct words and walks away when you’ve asked for help because they don’t have time for you. It comes in the form of the bus driver who does nothing when you are bullied mercilessly and physically harmed on the bus. Worse yet, it comes in the form of siblings who ride that bus with you and cheer your abusers on.
Several studies have been performed in which a person and a separate group of people have been placed in the same set of circumstances to see who would react to a threat, someone coming to harm, etc. The single person always reacted. More than ninety percent of those in a group did not take action because the reality is that, when everyone thinks that someone else will take action, the end result is that no one takes action. But let me take it a step further. What does inaction and silence result in when it comes to observing abuse and bullying?
Silence. We all know that silence can be very powerful at times. But it can also be very destructive. When you remain silent and do nothing, when you stand by and allow it to happen, you actually give the abuser power by sending a powerful message: Nothing will happen, no one will intervene, no one will help the victim; and that abuser feeds off it. Worse yet, when you laugh, or speak behind the victim’s back later, you give that abuser even more power. You are not only condoning that abuser’s behavior, but lauding it.
If you or your child takes the step to get involved and help to solve the problem, it is a source of even greater power. You have then taken the power from the abuser and made it your own by showing the abuser that his/her behavior is not acceptable, and you have played a role in assisting someone. That is an unbelievably good feeling and you or your child will actually see results in the way your community reacts. If you can get to that place, or help your child get to that place, to be able to help in ways big and small, it will mean a lot to you and a lot to them. It’s worth it—not only for your child, but for your life and community as well. Don’t be a bystander. Get involved. Stand up for people.
Here’s to the bullied and beautiful!
Read about one of Timmy’s personal experiences riding his school bus. With Timmy’s permission, and while he doesn’t state this in his writing because he detests speaking of the family he left for a better life, all three of his older siblings rode the bus with him. Read Bus Ride here.
See you back here on Wednesday, September 17th!
Available from: Harmony Ink Press
Όμορφη. Ómorphi. Greek. Meaning pretty
Pretty. adj. /pritē/ Pleasing by delicacy or grace
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.
Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together. Read an excerpt of Omorphi
Available from: Harmony Ink Press
Caleb had one mission in life.
To keep his boyfriend safe.
They met at ten, kissed at twelve, and were madly in love by eighteen. Caleb Deering is the captain of the swim team and the hottest senior in school. He comes from a loving home with a kind father and a caring, but strict, mother who is battling breast cancer. Nico Caro is small and beautiful, and has a father who rules with an iron fist—literally. One morning Caleb forgets himself, and he pecks Nico on the lips at school. A teacher sees them and tattles to the Headmaster. The accidental outing at school might be the least of their problems, because the ball set in motion by the school’s calls to their parents could get Nico killed. In the face of that very real danger, Caleb knows he has only one mission in life: to keep Nico safe. Read an excerpt of Safe.