It was her first day of secondary school. No one knew her and she knew no one. She decided to get herself out there, make new friends. “Get away from me you freak,” the boy says. “Do I know you?” a girl says, walking away. The comments keep rolling and eventually she gives up and mutters under her breath, “What is wrong with me?” Tears threatened to fall. “Why are people so mean?”
The National Autistic Society reported that 40% of children with autism and60% of children with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying.
“Mama, do you know who I am?” Her mother doesn’t remember. “It’s me your daughter…” That’s how the conversation starts off every day. When the conversation ends, she leaves the nursing home and scowls at her mother for not remembering her.
We are aware of the effect that our words have on others. We are aware that some people feel to give up on their lives because of bullying. We are aware that for some, bullying causes depression and health disorders. We are aware that our negative words are planting a seed of insecurity. We are aware. We are aware that no one is perfect. We are aware of the many disorders, syndromes and disabilities out there. We are aware that everyone is born differently and that some things happen that are beyond our control. We are aware.
Still, that awareness is not enough. Still, we get aggravated with the kid that’s struggling in math class. Still we torment the girl who has her own sense of style. Still we get annoyed with the hard of hearing and sigh in exasperation. Still we bully people and get satisfaction out of it. Still we blame the person for their current condition even though we are aware that they didn’t choose it. Still we use our words to hurt people, to tear people down.
Awareness either doesn’t change anything at all, or, it’s just not enough. I hope it’s the latter.