From the Department:
Since we hosted the first Summit in August, 2010, attention and efforts around bullying have taken on new importance and urgency. We are starting to turn a corner from thinking of bullying as “kids being kids,” to understanding the real and serious consequences bullying may have. Although there have been many advances over the past three years, there is still much to be done. We must come together to make sure our efforts are informed by the best available research and work to protect all youth.
The consequences of bullying are very real and impact many children. According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System 20 percent of students nationwide in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
Back in October, for Bullying Awareness Month, we ran a series of articles on our website and on this blog. Below is part of a story of one man’s experience with bullying and its lasting impacts – a great example of how exposure to violence as a child can bleed into adulthood.
Bullying Victims Use Stories for Advocacy
For five years Alan Eisenberg was bullied.
Both physically and mentally, Eisenberg was attacked for his Jewish heritage, his last name and the emotional way he reacted to being bullied.
As a solution, Eisenberg would lengthen his walk home from school every day by taking a walk in the woods behind the school until everyone left in hopes of avoiding the bullies.
“I did it for several years and thought I was quite clever until a bully finally figured it out and met me at the top of the path,” Eisenberg said.
Eisenberg, now an adult and video producer and director in Fairfax, Va., is still affected by the bullying that took place decades ago.
“I realize that I have some fears that linger due to the bullying,” he said. “I also struggle with what I call Perceived Threat Syndrome, where I see situations as threatening when they are really not. This is due to the fact that the bullying damages ‘fight or flight’ reaction.”
Self-doubt is another lasting effect of the bullying. “But, I have awareness of this as an adult and now try to turn the negative experience as a youth into a positive learning experience. I now try to help others.”
Eisenberg shares this story and others on his blog Bullying Stories, which he started in May 2007.
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