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Feeling weak is a big reason why many bullying victims don’t come forward.
Glen Canning, wrote a blog about his daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons, who hung herself because
of the trauma of an alleged gang-rape by four classmates and the relentless bullying that followed. He wrote, "They say parents need to teach their children. Instead, it was Rehtaeh who was my teacher." But here's the thing: Parents do need to teach their children, and they are not doing it. Rehtaeh Parsons' death arrives on the horrific heels of the Steubenvile high-school rape case and Amanda Todd's suicide near Vancouver last fall after a sexually explicit photo led to the bullying that eventually drove her to take her own life, too. Our job is not just to feed and clothe our kids, but to shape them.
When we first learned that one beauty brand is joining the battle against bullying by donating to a fund that offers a teen help line for bully victims, our heads turned. There are others. An admirable message, all. But what about the medium?
For us, campaigns like these raise more questions than answers. Can a cosmetics company make a sincere plea to stop bullying and plump up the customer's pout or zap a zit? Or are these token donations -- made by companies whose marketing strategies tend to reinforce teens' fixation with physical appearance -- suspect?
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I think one element of bullying that we don't talk enough about is the need for parents of teens who do the bullying to step up. Where are the parents of these kids?
No celebrity messenger can draw the same level of emotion or heartache that is inherent in the stories of the victims they represent. After all, if we really need Lady Gaga to illustrate why teen suicide is unacceptable, society has deep problems.
While your child's school has its clear responsibility to ensure the safety of its students, it needs parents' support to make lasting, effective change to stop bullying.