Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Bullies and the War on Girls

When I came home from work this evening, the CN tower was still glowing pink in honour of the first ever International Day of the Girl Child.

A day to honour all the girls in the world, and remember all those whose lives are brutalized or diminished by discrimination, and other horrors like child marriage.

Approximately 70 million young women today were married before age 18, according to the UN, which notes that child marriage denies a girl her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of being a victim of violence and abuse, and jeopardizes her health.

But all I could think about tonight was two of those girls.

Malala Yousafzai,14, who is fighting for her life in a hospital in Pakistan.

Shot by the beastlyTaliban bullies because they are more afraid of her and other teenage girls than they are of soldiers.

A teenage girl speaking out for girls’ education is just about the most terrifying thing in the world for the Taliban. She is not some Western NGO activist who just parachuted into Pashtun country to hand out ESL textbooks. She is far more dangerous than that: a local, living advocate of progress, education, and enlightenment. If people like Yousafzia were to multiply, the Taliban would have no future.

And Amanda Todd,15, of Port Coquitlam, B.C., who was driven to her death by a bunch of bullies for no good reason.

"I’m sorry Amanda Todd. I’m sorry you had to go through all that, I’m sorry that people are that horrible and cruel, I’m sorry you had to experience being that alone and I’m sorry that you had to end your life so short of its potential.”

And now everybody is sorry, or looking to blame someone, or the web, or whatever. But of course it's too late for Amanda. When she needed help nobody was there for her. And as society we should all be blaming ourselves for not doing enough to fight this horrible problem.

You know how I feel about bullies. It's one of the main reasons I started this blog. And one of the main reasons I despise the Harper Cons so much. Because they are the worst bullies I've ever seen. And they have never lifted a finger to help the bullied children of Canada.

But on the occasion of the first ever International Day of the Girl I want to end on a positive note by saying to any girls out there.

If the cowardly Taliban thought they could silence Malala's message. Other girls in Pakistan are showing them how wrong they are...

And if they can stand up to those bullies so can you. For you can do ANYTHING. Never settle for anything less than complete equality. Fight for your rights. Don't be cruel to each other, support one another because you still have far too many other enemies out there.

But also know that you have the support of many men, including me and my ragged gang of gay rebels. For even in our dumbest guy moments, of which there are unfortunately many, we know that those who would diminish young women, would diminish us ALL.

Just like we know that together we WILL defeat them. You can be sure of that eh?

Let poor Amanda move us to do more to help bullied children in Canada. Let Malala inspire us to change the world.

And as I've always said, and now more than ever.

Bullying is evil.

And bullies are LOSERS...

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  1. We won't get very far with this problem until harper is defeated two or three election cycles from now. Here in BC stupid Christy Clark can't muster up the required leadership of her failing government and put some teeth behind the problem either. How about recalling the legislature and deal with it. Education is not enough, it will not alone change the behaviour that we tolerate that leads to bullying. As we all know, the harpers of the world do not become bullies overnight. It starts in the sandbox. I can't understand how mobs can form on school grounds where in many cases one person is being beaten or taunted. Perhaps an instant suspension for every member of the mob is in order?

    1. hi're right that we won't make any serious progress in the war against bullying, until the Cons are defeated. But hopefully it won't take that long. And yes you're right, if you want to build a kinder, gentler society we have to start in our schools. I don't understand why more Canadians can't grasp that simple concept. But we also have to make bullying a crime, because bullied kids can't wait until a society comes to its senses, and religious bigots are driven from public life....

  2. Yes, Simon..and it is ironic (and pathetic) that Harper is in Africa pontificating about his disapproval of their human rights records, yet his KlownCircus remains silent on domestic issues of abuse, and a woman's right to control her own body is under siege by his KrazyKlowns...but much safer to leave Canada and criticize others when your own record is so dirty at home...
    Guess Harper doesn't consider girls and women to be 'human' surprise there...

  3. Meanwhile Harper is on vacation yet again; he doesn't give a shit about women or girls or their rights or their safety. His asshole govt hasn't said a word about this travesty. But don't ever forget, Harper was once a member of the Northern Foundation and it's repellent anti-women agenda. The NF was all about, among other things like homophobia, cuts to programs aimed for advancing the status of women.

    1. hi I was just telling Wendi, when I saw the way the Cons went after women's rights as soon as they came to power, I realized then that we were facing a group of rabid ideologues, and it has only got worse since then. Too many Canadians still haven't figured out what the Cons are planning to do to Canada, but when they do this ugly regime is going to get the shock of its life. And needless to say I'm looking forward to that happy day...

  4. hi Wendi...yes I thought it was hilarious that Stephen Harper should find himself in the Congo, for there are few countries that suit him better than that one. A place where rape rules, and human rights are non-existent. And I have to say, all he needs is a little braid, to fit right in with all those other dictators. I also noticed that while the new French President didn't mince his words, Harper's speech was mild by comparison. But as you point out, who should be surprised when the very first thing his Cons did when they came to power was go after women's rights? For which hopefully they will pay in the next election...

  5. i don't think it is fir to say "no one was there" for Amanda. According to her mother, Amanda did receive quite a bit of counselling. But something happened in that last week. What is needed it seems to me is an immediate go 2 in the community with a reputation for trust and availability and skills to intervene.
    Did Amanda just close down or was there someone besides her family,which can be complicated, who Amanda trusted to help her through the most recent suffering?

  6. Another thing is this body part obsession /possesion that develops at puberty.And continues.
    Even kids that used to run naked get very shy and confused.
    Boobs are breasts and very functional.But even fb was banning breast feeding photos.
    In patriarchal cultures girls become competitive rather than co-operative.Next Top Model is full of ugly scenes of young models trashing each other.
    And the guys with their disrespect,give it to me attitude,
    why all this confusion about our sexual nature and response?

  7. A great post Simon. This is an issue so close to my heart. It's so difficult to know what to say or think up a way to respond and I do admit I've been struggling with how to make sense of this story every since I first caught wind of it.

    I can't help but be reminded of a brave decision my 8 year old step-daughter made at one school she attended in a very rough rural area of Alberta. She befriended a young girl in her her class who was horribly picked on, teased, mocked and put down because of a mild speech impediment and learning disability. My step-daughter became the girl's best friend and champion, constantly defending and encouraging her, often to the point where she found herself targeted by bullies herself. And her friendship and care toward this young friend of hers never waivered for a instant in the face of all this. It was so incredibly selfless and brave of her and dare I say inspiring.

    I think many kids today could take a valuable lesson from this.

    1. hi Way Way Up...thank you, I'm glad you liked the post. And thank you for that inspiring story about your step daughter. It's horrible how some kids can be so cruel to others, for so many horrible reasons. And your step daughter was very brave, and very good, to reach out to that bullied girl. And it's the best thing other kids can do; offer their support, and show the bullies up. I'll never understand why so many Canadians don't understand, that when you teach kids to treat others with respect, you help build a better and safer society for all of us.
      I also should add, that since I wrote this post, I have been greatly encouraged by the debate Amanda's death has set off, because only good can come of that, and hope springs eternal...