By Anika Nambisan and Krupa Shanware
A scaly snake slithers slowly around my body, constricting me. With each breath I take, I feel myself slowly, but surely, suffocating. The pallid brown walls of the bathroom stall begin to blur, and the dirty white tiles and stray pieces of toilet paper left on the floor seem to merge. I can’t breathe. I can barely see. The tears that fall from my eyes seem to have no end, as they caress my face in its sticky warmth, leaving trails of wet mascara running down my face. I don’t want to step out of these confines of the tan bathroom stall. Although miserable and pungent, this seems to be the safest option for now; however, I cannot stay here for long – I have to get back to my class.
Bullying – the systematic abuse of power that often happens to many students right under their teacher’s noses. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to being bullied, and neither are the majority of students in America. 1 in every 5 teens in America have reported being bullied in a survey taken by StopBullying.gov, and as bullying continues to gain awareness from the general public, researchers have started to pay closer attention to it as well. An increasing number of studies have proven that there are serious psychological risks associated with being bullied including being put at a greater risk for panic disorder, anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety, depressive disorders, PTSD, and agoraphobia as adults.
One of the most common and overlooked forms of bullying, especially in schools, is name calling. Ranging from small insults to slurs, the impact of a build up of these aggressions is detrimental to a person’s well being. But how can you help and be more aware? One step you can take comes from GLSEN(Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network), an American education organization against discrimination and bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. They started No-Name Calling week, a week during mid-January where students and educators reflect on name calling in schools and the hurtful impacts it causes. Though the week has passed and was from the 17th to the 21st, it is still applicable to our daily lives. How often have you heard common insults thrown around over and over at a person, stifling them and making them feel shame for simply existing?
Taking part in stopping the bullying and harassment done to youth is vital to both their mental and physical health, and is something that you can start working on by reflecting within yourself. By doing so, we can open up a discussion about damaging effects of bullying and help eliminate name-calling in our communities.