iamtheinvisiblehand

Posts Tagged ‘politics

I read an article last week on a mother that was charged with child abuse for “smooshing” (I don’t really know what that means but that is how the article described it) the kid who had recently bullied her son.

It appears that she’d heard that her son had encountered some trouble with a bigger kid, so she escorted her son to take the bus in the morning. The bully showed up and started arguing with the boy before even boarding the bus. The mother took action, the teen retaliated (!!!), and then the mother followed the bully onto the bus and pulled his hair. All this was caught on video and all the mother had to say was that she didn’t really regret it. 

The bullying topic is permanently discussed on parenting sites and blogs and the consensus seems to be the same: even though schools have established policies regarding the topic, at some point someone else has to do something about it (either the parents or the child have to eventually take a stance) because the law constrains the authorities way too much to truly be able to take care of things.

My take is that there is something essentially wrong with the way the issue is being dealt with and with the lack of consequences (or enforcement actions) that somehow conveys the message that bullying is ok.

I mean, bullying isn’t new. It’s always been present and is a part of many kids’ daily routine. The thing is, nowadays, it’s just so much more difficult to straighten up your kids when everything is now set up to “protect” the children, even in the cases in which they are the bad guys. And I’m not even talking about spanking the kids, which is not allowed anymore, but about truly and unequivocally letting them know why and how this is unacceptable behavior and making sure they never abuse anyone in any situation again.

Would I have done what the mother in the news did? Probably not. And I’m the mother who shamelessly shouted at another toddler on the beach for throwing sand at my daughter’s face. But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have gone to the bully’s parents and the school to tell them all about their son’s cowardly actions.

People are always trying to explain bullying by stating that bullies have low self-esteem, are insecure, their parents usually pay no attention to them, and the list goes on and on forever. However, no one ever tries to analyze what happens with the bullied child, or what the long and short-term consequences are. The problem is always focused on the perpetrator and never on the victim. What does that say about us as a society?

In my opinion, there are two types of bullying: traditional bullying, which usually involves boys violently beating up other (smaller) boys. The other, is bullying among girls. This is a lot harder to spot, because it’s subtle. You’ll never see any bruises or scratches. And yet, bullying among girls is just as dangerous because it strips the bullied girls of any self-confidence they may have. It’s more if-you-don’t-bring-me-the-English-paper-by-tomorrow-I-wont-let-you-sit-at-our-lunch-table. Or in the case of smaller girls, if-you-don’t-come-to-school-with-a-ponytail-we-won’t-play-with-you. That is really dangerous, because if you aren’t truly alert, you’ll never see the signs until the damage is done and it’s probably too late.

The topic is way too broad and has so many takes that it’s impossible to condense it in a few lines. I will say, however, that I’m convinced that bad kids who aren’t taught that actions have consequences, turn into bad adults. Not being the religious type or a believer in divine retribution, there is, however, one thing I’ve instilled in my daughter and that is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. The good part is it’s easy enough to understand and I know she gets it because when other kids treat her or someone else badly she always asks them if they would like to be treated that way too and it usually stops the offender.

But then of course, she’s only 6 and at some point it will no longer be enough. That’s why I’ve also told her to defend herself or fight back if someone does anything to hurt her. It’s not ideal, and my daughter’s school strongly disapproves, but kids have to learn that it’s ok to stand up for themselves if they are being attacked, because the world isn’t an easy place and not all people are good. What’s the alternative, turn the other cheek? No thanks. But even though they have to learn to stay out of trouble, they must also learn that it’s ok to tell a teacher or an adult if someone else is being mistreated. We can’t allow our kids to be bystanders just for the sake of protecting them.

I heard from a friendly couple whose son attends my daughter’s school that last year there was a bully in his class. A full-blown bully who would beat up other kids in the bathroom or in the corridors on a daily basis. Mind you, this was happening in second grade, not junior high. Anyway, the problem was spotted early enough during the year and the bully’s parents were instructed to take the boy to therapy to deal with it. The school told those affected to be patient, that it was being handled, but it just went on and on and it wasn’t until the end of the school year that the kid was expelled.   

As a parent, to be informed that your child is a bully that is physically or psychologically hurting other kids must be a fatal blow. However, seeing it as the parent of a bully’s victim, how can you be told to “be patient” and expect your child to understand that it’s going to be ok, even though he gets slapped around every other day? How can you just stand aside and allow you kid to get hurt? I honestly don’t know how the victims’ parents handled it, but I know I would have pestered my daughter’s teachers and the school’s principal every single day until some effective action was taken. So the bully was expelled? Big deal, he was given a whole school year to inflict pain on so many of his classmates that I’m pretty sure the damage to those he bullied will last longer than the bully’s punishment (if any) or remorse (if any).

Anyway, regardless of the reasons why a child becomes a bully, I’m convinced that the parents are the only ones who can nip the problem in the bud. Sure, schools and the authorities may lend a hand, but if a child doesn’t get the message at home (loud and clear) that abusing others is wrong and unacceptable, there’s really nothing left for the others to do. 
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Men!  The only animal in the world to fear.  ~D.H. Lawrence

Last week, a terrible crime was committed against a very poor woman in the city where I live.

Not only was she assaulted and raped, but impaled as well. She agonized – while remaining conscious –  for a few hours at the place where she was dumped by her assailant. When the police finally found her, she was showing signs of hypothermia.

As if this weren’t enough, when they found her they asked her if she had medical insurance. She said no. She was then taken to a hospital about 20 minutes away from where she was, instead of taking her to another – private – hospital that was just a couple of blocks away.

The poor woman never stood a chance. She died later on due to cardiac arrest, after enduring several operations and all kinds of procedures to save her.

The worst part was the way the media treated the whole thing. It was pitiful and uninformative, to say the least.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to write this post and how to approach the broad array of issues that arise from such a hair-raising event, but in the end all I can say is that I’m sad. Sad and enraged.

Truly and deeply sad.

I’m sad because I feel like something inside of me died a little. Maybe it was hope. Because I always thought human beings were essentially good, but it seems to me that this theory has been proven wrong way too many times already for it to be true.

I’m sad because this was a monstrous crime committed against a helpless woman.

I’m sad because of the way she was treated for being poor and because no one should have to suffer what she suffered only to die part of a health-care system that wasn’t willing to help her.

I’m sad because this is not how things are supposed to be.

I’m sad because the justice system of the country I live in had already tried her attacker before for sexual assault and murder and had released him only 15 months after his conviction. Several arrest warrants are still outstanding for his involvement in other crimes of a similar nature, and yet he has just been released, again, after being apprehended this weekend due to “lack of evidence” or some sort of BS story concocted especially to let the perp walk.

I’m enraged because impunity is, in my opinion, the mother of all other crimes. I mean, why even bother making laws if they are only going to be stomped on by animals such as these and their lawyers, who are just as bad?

But what really infuriates me is that this sort of thing happens all around the world and no one seems to know. Or care.

And I’m not only referring to random violent crimes like this one. I’m talking about systemic, reiterative violence. Against women. Against children. Against other human beings.

People will only become aware of these things if the media informs them about it. But if the media hasn’t heard of it or decides it’s not newsworthy, then it’ll just be ignored and that is so unfair. And since this case had to do with a poor woman in some God-forsaken third-world country, no one will ever know.

Because I’m pretty sure the global media has ignored this: I googled the news in English and only found one reliable source that has not even been updated: http://www.ntn24.com/news/news/outrage-colombia-rape-and-impa-13948

So, I’ve decided to inform the few people who read my blog about it. As long as just one person reads it, I’ll feel like I’ve done my part by making that one person aware of what has happened to that woman nobody seemed to care about.

She is just one of the many who are killed, assaulted, raped or abused every single day across the planet. We can’t feel regret or remorse for things we aren’t aware of, but we should, every now and then, think of those who are not sufficiently important to be on the news, but who nonetheless suffer the unthinkable – some of them, every day -.



  • None
  • Carrie Rubin: I don't always remember names well, but I remember circumstances. I especially remembered yours because it's such a rare cancer, and you were the firs
  • iamtheinvisiblehand: Thank you for your kind words, but also thank you for remembering it was me....it's amazing that you'd remember this considering the endless stream of
  • Carrie Rubin: I am so sorry to hear about your mother. After you commented on my blog yesterday, I remembered that your mother was the one who had cholangiocarcinom

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