Along with the rest of connected America, I was swept away by the shock of what happened to the Victoria Lindsay, the 16-year old cheerleader (although she claims to be 18 on her Myspace) who was beaten up by six other girls, an event which was videoed for the intention of web release.
Like every mother of every little girl out there, I shed a few superficial tears, imagining how I would react if my daughter was the one who’d been beaten up. And then I imagined how I would react if my daughter was the one doing the beating up.
I must say that I never would’ve had to think about such things if we were back home. Then again, we would’ve had other things to think about.
About a week ago, Raeven had a brief encounter with a female bully at the playground. The girl had “terrorised” Raeven with some aggressive words and gestures into leaving a part of the play structure she’d been playing with. Raeven simply ran away. The girl followed her for a while but Rae avoided her until she was left alone. And through all this, I’d played the role of the neutral (albeit nervous) parent, allowing Rae to go through all the steps of the non-confrontational Anti-Bully Action Plan we had in place.
- Use words like “Stop” and “No.
- Walk away if he/she does not stop.
- Get a grown-up if he/she follows you.
While Victoria Lindsay is hardly a kid anymore, I could not help but notice that she’d employed the same exact “action plan”. She did not retaliate and tried to walk away.
What happens when you’re cornered by more than one bully?
What about six? Eight?
“That’s why our girls need to learn self defense,” quips Lokes. Really? How the heck does one defend oneself against eight aggressors (when one is not Steven Seagal)?
Coincidentally, I’d just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes, a story about a lifetime of bullying that culminated into a school massacre. I remember making a mental note to put the title into the “must-read” list for the girls when they get older.
When one raises sons, one fully expects broken ribs, fat lips and black eyes somewhat regularly. In some cultures, it’s even considered a rite of passage to be bullied and beaten up once in one’s lifetime. If Victoria Lindsay was a jock, what happened to her would’ve been pretty standard locker-room (and not New York Times) fare. For daughters? Not so much.
It is such a scary world out there, a world filled with people who do not play by the same rules. What then?