Tuesday, November 8, 2011

PS i can't believe U

I graduated from Penn State University in 2008 with two degrees and I was so proud. I wasn't just proud on graduation day, but for the entire time I spent at Penn State. Penn State was the first place where I felt at home and the first place I felt that I belonged, and I felt that way just because it was the natural result of being there. I knew, or I really thought that I knew that I would always love it there.

I have spent the better part of three days trying to dig up a way to get that feeling back. I've been trying to find something, anything to give me that pride and love back. I want to agree with my peers who are standing by our school and still able to believe in its motto, "we are Penn State." If I could wish for anything right now, it would be to agree with them. I can read all of the motivating quotes about how Penn State is more than just football and more than just a few disgusting people and I can try to become inspired. I am not admonishing those who have found a way to make peace with this scandal and come out still loving Penn State. I am so sorry to utter these two words that follow, words that I hate saying ever because they encompass the whole idea of giving up. But, here goes:

I.... CAN'T....

I can't love Penn State anymore. I never thought my feelings could change so quickly but I have learned something new about myself in the past few days. I am embarrassed to be associated with the school. Or rather, I want no association with the school. I was arguing with an author today, a high esteemed author in my opinion, because he seemed to be lumping the Penn State students (current and former) with the disgusting pervert who raped children and the disgusting people who knew what he was doing and didn't report it. That author reminded me of something important, something I had long forgotten because of the sense of belonging and the sense of family mentality created by Penn State. He told me, "You need to separate your identity from Penn State. Thats why you are taking these as attacks on yourself--because you see yourself as an extension of Penn State. You're a person, not a piece of Penn State."

I never thought (and I mean no offense by this) that Tucker Max would make me feel better about completely losing faith in a place that I loved and trusted. Up until I found out about this deplorable scandal, I was just like the stereotypical Penn State student. The DAY before I found out about this, I was in the car with my boyfriend and the car in front of us had a Penn State sticker on its back window. My boyfriend saw that "Penn State look" (that's the only way I can describe it) in my eyes upon seeing it. It's the same look I used to get every time I would meet a new person that went to Penn State, a new member of the "family" that my alma mater created for me. I used to try to describe it to people who didn't go to Penn State. I would try to explain that there was an unspoken connection, an inexplicable bond between Penn State students that just came naturally.

Consider me personally disconnecting myself from that family. This is me breaking the bond because everything I ever thought Penn State has been permanently destroyed. I am not going to sit here and say that everyone should consider to admire Joe Paterno because he "performed his legal duty" by telling his bosses what Mike McQueary had reported to him. I'm not going to breath a sigh of relief because a bunch of people are rattling off every fact they've ever learned about hearsay in order to justify Paterno's inaction. I'm not going to entertain the idea of possibly supporting Penn State's president, Graham Spanier, ever again. He thought that adequate action had been taken when Sandusky was ordered not to bring any more children into Penn State's football building. The first words that Spanier uttered to the public after word of this scandal went viral was that the two employees (now resigned--what a coincidence) who failed to report the incident and perjured themselves to a grand jury about their knowledge of the incident, had his "UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT."

People who have maintained their Penn State pride are advising everyone to dissociate their happy memories of Penn State from this horrible scandal. Well, as I said, "I CAN'T." It is all one in the same for me no matter what I do. Deep down, that is just truly the way I feel and every single one of my memories of Penn State is damaged. I double majored in English and French at Penn State. I had Spanier's wife as an English teacher and I remember that I didn't even realize it at first. I remember the day that she handed out one of our textbooks and I made the connection when I read the dedication, "For Graham." I used to describe this memory as "pretty cool." Now it makes me sick. Not just that memory, not just memories at all. Penn State makes me sick, RIGHT NOW.

I do not know what I can do to even attempt to fix this situation, but in order to get myself out of this pile of Penn State pride garbage, I know that I need to do something. I want to help the victims, I want everyone who knew about what happened and failed to report it to get the punishment that they deserve. But I know that I have to do more than just want. While people are deciding what color to wear to the next Penn State football game to express their emotions and opinions on this scandal while still showing their support for Penn State, I will be figuring out exactly what type of action I can personally take to get rid of this sick feeling in my heart.

Tucker Max is right. At first I was getting offended because I was taking the attacks on Penn State personally because I felt like I was "a piece of Penn State." Now I know that I am NOT a piece of Penn State. I am a person who went to Penn State. I am a person who got two diplomas from Penn State. But I am NOT Penn State. I am a person who feels betrayed by Penn State. Now, instead of trying to find a way to accept it, I have to figure out a way to change it. I'm not sure how I will do this yet. I just know that I am separate from this corrupt "community" and I am making peace with that.

I will figure out some sort of action to take. I have to, because even though I have lost faith in Penn State as an institution, I have not lost faith in myself. But if I just sit and do nothing about it, then I will lose faith in myself and I am not going to let Penn State take that away from me.

*Forgive me for any display of bitterness or lack of support for Penn State... but I don't like rape.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

COMMENT from the Author

I want to thank everyone who continues to visit this page. I really appreciate that people read what I write on here.

I also want to remind everyone that the "comments" feature is supposed to be used for just that: making comments relevant to the posts on here. I read through the comment page today and found that people had been using it as a means to insult each other and discuss issues that I cannot even decipher. I would appreciate if everyone would refrain from using the comment page on my blog to attack others. That is the complete opposite of why I created this page in the first place.

I just read that somebody who previously had a link to one of my articles took it down as a result of peoples' immature behavior in the comment page. This means that less people are reading my page because people feel the need to have some sort of Internet war on the comment page of MY blog.

I apologize to those NOT involved in this behavior for having to make this post, but I don't want to see this going on my page. I am just politely requesting that anyone who calls themselves a reader of my page to refrain from behaving this way. If you read my page, you know that I am strongly against bullying, so I definitely do not want to see any bullying going on at the expense of my blog and the people who read it.

Thank you :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Give Me Something to Write About

What topic would you like to see covered? Leave suggestions in the comments. :)

I'm going to have a movie review up soon about ABC Family's movie "CyberBully" which aired last night. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


New Post coming soon, I PROMISE!!!! Sorry, it has been a VERY busy summer. Thank you for those who have continued reading. I'll be back :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Internet Imitates Life... But It Is Not The Same

I will start this off by admitting the truth: I do not have 667 friends. That’s an outrageously large number of people with whom to have close relationships. However, if you were to happen upon my Facebook page, you would see 667 friends listed. Originally when social networking pages such as Facebook came out, many people in society thought it would be a great way to keep in touch with friends and reconnect with friends from the past. While these websites are useful for that purpose, they cannot compete with real life. Actually, they sometimes manage to conceal what is really going on in real life.

For example, upon seeing someone’s Facebook page similar to mine broadcasting upwards of 700 friends, nobody would expect the person behind the page to have no friends and spend their nights alone in reality. People can use the Internet to conceal pain and loneliness; anybody can act happy online. Hypothetically, someone in hysterical tears can muster up a Facebook status about how summer is amazing so far and post it for their digital friends to read. Afterwards, it is likely that some people will even click “like” on the aforementioned status. A stranger not knowing the difference who stumbled upon the page might assume that the people who clicked “like” are the page owner’s friends. And in some situations that is true, but in other situations it’s a complete facade. Not many people take the time to notice the difference.

I have witnessed numerous conversations in which one person will say something like “I have no friends” or “I never have anyone to go out with,” only to receive a response like “I’ve seen your Facebook and your Twitter and you clearly have friends.” The Internet imitates life and many people believe most of what they read online, especially on social networking pages.

Some users of social networking pages even acknowledge this problem. Upon doing some research, I came across Facebook groups that were created to bring together people who experience some of the above-mentioned social networking phenomena. For example, the group, “Facebook- a relationship’s worst enemy” was created to express the fact that once people publicly declare that they are “in a relationship” online, copious amounts of drama ensues. Some couples share too much information with their Internet friends, and it is detrimental to their relationship. Conversely, another group is titled “Facebook makes every relationship legit,” meaning that if a couple decides to leave their relationship off of the Internet, people might not even believe that they are actually dating. Some people do not care what their peers think of them, but more people are affected by these opinions and judgments.

Another problem that has arisen with the popularity of social networking pages is the amount of time people spend on these websites. Some people allow the Internet world to take over the real world. Some Facebook groups that encompass this problem are entitled “I just can’t get Facebook out of my head” and “I eat, sleep, & breathe Facebook.” Another group called “I actually know all of my friends on Facebook” was created for the users who have not allowed Facebook to affect on their personal lives.

Additionally, some people post so much information online that it almost makes regular, personal conversations obsolete. People don’t feel the need to ask how somebody’s weekend was if they already saw the answer in a Facebook newsfeed or a tweet on Twitter. For some people, this is convenient, but for others it puts a damper on friendships that used to flourish.

In conclusion, social networking pages can be very helpful in terms of keeping in touch with people and rekindling old friendships. However, these pages can also become too powerful if their users do not exercise caution. If a social networking page is ruining any aspect of your actual life, that’s a red flag that you have given the Internet too much power. Also, adding people as a friend on Facebook or following people on Twitter does not create real life friendships. This may seem like a blatantly obvious statement, but some people have gotten unbelievably caught up in these websites. All of the retweets, “likes” and comments in the world will not improve anyone’s actual social life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

NEW ENTRY COMING SOON-- I PROMISE!! Sorry for the hiatus. Even the most brilliant bloggers sometimes can't think of topics to write about. When that happens, feel free to give me some ideas.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Panic Attacks Are Normal: The Truth About Anxiety Disorder

Have you ever been mid-panic attack and had somebody, in an annoyingly nonchalant tone of voice, tell you to calm down or snap out of it? In these situations, the person making the remark likely believes that it is perfectly appropriate and even helpful behavior. The person in the midst of an anxiety attack would strongly disagree. For people who suffer from anxiety disorder, “calm down,” “snap out of it” and other phrases of that kind can be compared to scenes in the Harry Potter series where someone slips and says “Voldemort” instead of “he who must not be named” or “you know who.” For those readers who are not familiar with Harry Potter, whenever the characters hear the word “Voldemort” they become intensely upset, angry, and scared. These phrases are bad words for people who suffer from anxiety disorder; they are rage-inducing comments that make an already uncomfortable situation infinitely more unbearable.

This in no way means that the average person who uses those phrases maliciously truants people with anxiety disorder with the intent of worsening their condition; it means that the average person is unaware that anxiety disorder is a genuine, prevalent illness. Further, even the people who are not completely ignorant to the existence of the illness remain glaringly uninformed of the damage that it causes. Some even demand explanations for the behavior of people suffering from anxiety disorder. A person with the disorder often has no idea what triggered a particular anxiety attack and will become more distressed upon being badgered about why the panic is happening.

One of the main reasons that many people do not understand the severity of anxiety disorder is because everybody experiences some form of anxiety during life. People get nervous for exams and get stressed out when they have piles work to do, for example. This is a completely normal aspect of life. However, anxiety for the average person and anxiety for people suffering from anxiety disorder are so different that there probably should be two different words to differentiate them.
If the average person is experiencing anxiety about some aspect of life, that person might worry, have a faster than usual heart rate, or feel more tense than usual. However, usually that person is able to move on from those symptoms and tackle the part of life that caused them.

That is how anxiety works for the average person. That is why many people in society resent the fact that people claim to have anxiety disorder. They figure that everyone gets anxious every now and then, but not everyone runs around claiming that they are suffering from a serious disorder because of anxiety. It is completely accurate to think that, because not everyone who has felt nervous at some point in life is suffering from a serious disorder. However, many people in society actually are suffering from this serious mental illness.

This disease feels absolutely nothing like the way the average person might feel while studying for a difficult exam. People with anxiety do not have rare instances of mild anxiety, they regularly feel anxious and overwhelmed about aspects of life that many people would not consider difficult. The disorder completely interrupts the flow of life. It interferes with relationships, ability to work, and many other everyday activities. They are not just worried about an upcoming job interview, for example, but they have irrational fears of every possible way it could go wrong. This applies to a large part of their lives, so they are constantly on edge and worrying.

Sometimes people with anxiety disorder even avoid everyday activities to avoid the anxiety that comes with them. The feeling of panic can become so intense that people with this disorder would rather stay inside then have to worry about the catastrophes that could ensue if they were to go outside and go about their day. This can mean avoiding friends and family, skipping school or work, and destroying other important parts of life. "[Generalized Anxiety Disorder] is the leading cause of workplace disability (in the United States)." See: Consensus Statement on Generalized Anxiety Disorder From The International Consensus Group on Depression and Anxiety, by clicking here.

Anxiety disorder patients feel constant, intense fear about situations that would not pose a threat to the average person without the disease. The disease also has physical symptoms including insomnia, difficulty breathing, stomach pains, and many others. If these symptoms sound debilitating it is because they truly are.

Unfortunately, for people with anxiety disorder, the condition worsens when they are compared to the boy who cried wolf, referred to as drama queens, or even accused of exaggerating or lying. Society has made progress when it comes to acknowledging the condition; the field of psychiatry has greatly expanded, for example, but it is not nearly enough.
Having this disorder still comes with a stigma, one that is great enough that many people with the disorder feel the need to hide their illness and are embarrassed by it. This causes added stress, since they are constantly trying to maintain an idealistic “normal life” because that is the general expectation. This expectation gives people with this disorder more to worry about; not only are they already worrying about their everyday lives, but they also are worrying about maintaining an acceptable reputation in society.

Nobody should have to be embarrassed because they have a legitimate disorder. People with anxiety disorder should receive much more accommodations than the few (if any) that they currently receive. People with diseases that are accepted by society as a whole receive copious accommodations to help them get through life. Supporting people with diseases has even become a trend in the form of rubber bracelets like the livestrong bracelets. One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is a large rubber bracelet that says “panic attacks are normal” in bold, capital letters. But my bracelet is a rather unique accessory that many people don’t approve of or understand. If anxiety disorder continues not to be recognized for the disease that it really is, people who have it will continue to suffer more because of this alienation.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Not to worry:

To my readers:

I have not disappeared off of the face of the Earth... In addition to writing, I'm also in law school and I have a big test tomorrow. After that, I'll have another post up ASAP.

Wish me luck!

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Throw My Diamonds in the Air Sometimes: THON 2011

I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog programing to boast about my alma mater, the Pennsylvania State University (known less pompously as Penn State).

Every year, Penn State students participate in the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, aka THON. It is going on NOW at Penn State and if you aren't there to see it in person, you can watch it streaming online at this website. Make sure you don't miss the line dance that is done every hour; it is hilarious and creative every year. I don't want to give too much away, but Lindsay Lohan definitely gets made fun of in the lyrics this year.

Even though the event happens only once a year, students work hard on it all year round and proudly show off their THON gear (clothing, bracelets, you name it) to spread the word and show pride and support. When I studied abroad in France, female Penn Students had to battle against popular French slang, because "thon" means tuna in French and is a slang word for "ugly girl." And armed with warnings about this from older Penn State students, people still insisted on bringing their THON clothing, because packing their Penn State pride was more important to them. Needless to say, Penn State has a very tight-knit community, and this family attitude makes it perfect for philanthropy like THON.

THON is Penn State's battle against pediatric cancer. It started in 1973 as a small dance marathon held in the HUB, a building that is considerably smaller than the Bryce Jordan Center where it is currently held. There were 39 dance couples participating and it raised $2000. To say that THON has grown since then would be a gross understatement. Now, THON has 15,000 volunteers, 700 dancers, and has raised over $69 million dollars for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

There are yearlong events to make THON's success possible. Students who are involved in THON get to know the families that they are raising money to help. They provide both emotional and financial support for these families. Many of the children who benefit from the effort that goes into THON actually attend the event and participate by speaking and performing on stage with the students.

Last year, at THON 2010, Penn State students raised $7,838,054.36 for pediatric cancer research. Every year they strive to beat the amount raised the previous year. Everyone can contribute. I urge everyone reading this to donate at this website

Check it out and definitely spread the word to those who don't know about this already. It's an excellent cause and I am proud to have gone to the school in charge of it. WE ARE.... PENN STATE!

**EDIT: THON 2011 raised $9,563,016.09 in total.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It Doesn't Have to be All About "GTL": New Reality Show, "BULLIED" Promises to Entertain AND Educate

Reality television is taking over the world. The popularity of this genre of television continues to increase in society. Viewers loyally watch their favorite reality shows even when they get repetitive. Face it. Previously on Jersey Shore: Snooki got wildly intoxicated and woke up somewhere she didn’t belong. Sammi and Ronnie had another fight and Sammi struggled with the difficult decision of whether or not to leave the house. The guys teamed up on their quest to avoid grenades. The entire cast went tanning, and the show’s ratings skyrocketed. Viewers love to watch the same plots weekly. Watching reality TV has become a lifestyle; people have even coined the phrase “Jersday” since Jersey Shore airs on Thursdays. While people take a lot from programs like this, including hilarious quotes, they don’t really take in educational content. GTL is not a prerequisite for life. White Light Productions has decided to use the reality television genre and its popularity as a method of spreading the word about important issues to the public.

The CEO of White Light Productions, Albert Harris Jr., has a goal of spreading the word about bullying actively instead of sitting around and waiting for tragedies to happen. Harris Jr.’s original inspiration behind creating the docudrama, “BULLIED” was the Tyler Clementi tragedy. Albert Harris Jr. expects the shocking and inspiring stories in “BULLIED” to create and spread awareness. It will broadcast real-life stories of bullying as well as reenactments.

This show will be a representation of a large bulk of society, and families will benefit from watching it together, unlike with other reality TV shows. Often, when children are victims of bullying, their parents don’t fully understand what they are going through. The reenactments in “BULLIED” will make it easier for parents to grasp what is really happening to their children and why they are coming home in tears.

“BULLIED” will also display many ways that different people have overcome bullying. This will inspire viewers that are victims of bullying that they can overcome it too. This TV show will give viewers real people to look up to and relate to. Albert Harris Jr. also hopes that the show’s stories and reenactments will be uplifting for parents who have lost loved ones to bullying and moved forward in a positive way; they will have the opportunity to see how some kids have learned to turn bullying around to make the best of their lives.

Albert Harris Jr. Provided me with some examples of stories we can look forward to seeing when they are covered on “BULLIED,” which will be airing soon. The show will also tell the story of a disabled woman who was bullied by her school administrators throughout college. With a doctor on her side, she fought back and won a settlement against the school.

Additionally, Kevin Epling, a father who lost his 13 year old son Matt Epling to suicide, will do narrations through reenactments of his son Matt’s life from the beginning of it to the end of it. Matt was attractive and popular, but also a victim to severe bullying. He reported the bullying to the school, but no action was taken. Kevin Epling will tell his son’s story on “BULLIED” so that others can learn and benefit from it.

White Light Productions is choosing stories from all parts of life, because they don’t think only one side of bullying should be featured. The world needs to know everything about bullying. Using reality television’s popularity as a tool, White Light Productions will spread the word about bullying. I know that I will be one of the many interested, loyal viewers.

For more information on White Light Productions and their inspiring endeavors, please see their Facebook page.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stupid Mistakes People Make While Job Hunting

The poor state of the economy is not the only reason many people have trouble finding jobs. It is however a common excuse people use to justify their failure in the job market. Many job hunters don’t realize that their own stupid mistakes are prolonging their stay on the unemployment line.

These mistakes aren’t always obvious. Clearly if you are spending your days on the couch watching television, you shouldn’t expect a magic genie to plop down next to you and grant you three job offers. Since most unemployed people don’t think that they are Aladdin, they are probably making a painstaking effort in seeking employment. If laziness and the economy aren’t the culprits, what is going wrong here?

Mistakes that seem so minute that most job seekers don’t even notice them are often deal-breakers. These blunders can happen at any point during the job searching process. When searching for a job, the first task is to create and perfect your resume. Even though making a masterpiece out of your resume may seem like an elementary task, it is easy to butcher the document without realizing.

This is a resume, not an autobiography. When striving to create the most impressive resume possible, many people fall into the trap of including every detail of their lives. You can omit your lemonade stand endeavors from back in grade school without making yourself less marketable. Employers do not want to waste their time reading irrelevant information; the added reading is not going to make them more interested in hiring you.

Employers also do not want to read your spelling and grammar errors, so be sure to leave those out of your resume as well. Technology appears to assist with this, as most word processing programs have a tool to check spelling and grammar. However, this does not guarantee an error-proof document, and too many people make the mistake of relying on it to proofread their work for them. Sometimes spellcheck “corrects” words that don’t need fixing and ends up adding errors to a document that was flawless. People also make the mistake of relying on themselves to proofread. If you have a tendency to make a certain mistake in your writing, while proofreading, you might not even notice that mistake because you are so used to seeing it. Asking someone reliable to proofread your resume can help prevent you from submitting a resume that contains embarrassing errors that make you look unprofessional to an employer.

Additionally, never assume that if a certain company didn’t request a cover letter, it means that you shouldn’t write one. You should always include a brief note introducing yourself and supplying some of your credentials. Do not turn this into a novel; you are applying for a job, not applying for college.

Once you are sure that your resume is free of rookie mistakes, you need to make sure that you have chosen the correct audience. Never apply to a job if you don’t meet the qualifications. This accomplishes nothing and is a waste of your time and the employer’s time.

After you have found the appropriate audience, make sure that you come off as an appropriate candidate for the job. If you are sending your cover letter and resume via email, make sure to use a professional sounding email address. Employers are not likely to put their trust in sexxychick@hotmail.com. Keep your email address simple; something containing your first and last name will suffice.

In addition to keeping your email address appropriate, you also must make sure to keep anything that you post online appropriate. Employers search for you on the Internet to find information that isn’t covered in resumes and interviews. You will have to face your facebook posts, so don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want an employer to find.

Just like employers exercise precaution when researching potential employees online, you need to be careful if you are using the Internet to search for job openings. Watch out for scams; unfortunately they are becoming more widespread. Take it from somebody who had a man posing as a lawyer mail me random garbage because he got my address from my resume. You don’t want to send your resume to a scam artist, so make sure to do everything you can to make sure you are corresponding with a legitimate employer.

After doing all of that work to avoid making stupid mistakes on your resume and online appearance, it is crucial to take the same precautions at interviews. It is very easy to make stupid mistakes at interviews, but it is also very easy not to make them.

Before you even walk into the interview, triple-check that your cell phone is on silent. You don’t want your interview interrupted by your ringtone of the uncensored version of Bruno Mars’s “Billionaire.”

Make sure to dress in professional clothing and definitely not to appear exhausted and/or hung over. You don’t want an employer to think that you came to the interview straight from a party. While you want to come off as professional and confident, make sure your confidence doesn’t cause you to reveal too much information. An acquaintance of mine made the mistake of disclosing to her interviewer that she had taken a Xanax to calm herself down before the interview. Definitely avoid discussions about drugs, health issues, and other inappropriate personal information at job interviews.

Also, do not tell your interviewer that you are willing to do any job that is offered to you. You want to make sure that you convey that you have clear career goals. Desperation is unattractive in the dating world and it is also unattractive in the world of employment. You don’t want to come off as the type of person who will shack up with any job that comes your way; you want to display that you know what you want.

After the interview, make sure to send a thank you note, and be prepared in the event that you do get a phone call from your interviewer. Don’t download one of those idiotic ringback tones, for example; if your interviewer is calling you, it’s to talk, not listen to music. Also make sure that your voicemail message is appropriate; if you do miss the phone call, you don’t want a potential employer to be greeted with “yo, whatup, you’ve reached my phone. I’m busy so leave it at the tone.” Make a brief, professional voicemail greeting. There are also instances where it might be a better choice to purposely miss the phone call; you don’t want to have to scream at a potential employer because you’re at a bar or a concert.

All of these mistakes are easy to make, even for a responsible, hardworking person. Make sure you don’t let a stupid mistake ruin your chances at getting your dream job.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bullies Versus Victims: War with Words

In the famous rapper, Eminem’s song “Words are Weapons,” he declares, “my words are weapons, I use ‘em to crush my opponents.” In this song, he is describing his tactic of dealing with people who doubt his talent. However, these lyrics can also apply to the way bullies treat their victims. Mean spirited words and actions may not seem a big deal to the people who aren’t the victims of them. When a group of girls wears black on one of their classmates birthdays as a “joke” for example, they might not think about the outfits ever again. Their classmate will remember the hours spent crying in the guidance office forever. People remember avoiding the cafeteria because they weren’t welcome at any of the tables. It doesn’t go away like school goes away after graduation. People remember every piece of food thrown at them when they dared to venture into the cafeteria. It’s the people doing the throwing who are quick to forget. Bullying behavior like this used to be limited to happening in person or during the dreaded prank and devious 3-way phone calls. 

The arrival of the Internet and the social-networking pages has made bullying into a widespread epidemic. When people are online, they can take on personas that are completely different from their real identities. This means if they were already acting mean in person, the comments will get more vicious, the jokes will get more cruel and the victims will get more hurt. A computer screen is like a shield for bullies; it makes them feel invincible. Suddenly, instead of having the burden of saying their abhorrent comments out loud, all they have to do is furiously type these verbal atrocities on a keyboard without facing any person or any consequences. As soon as people recognized the power that the Internet had given them, it became evident that bullying in person and over the phone was merely the calm before the storm. Hurtful instant messages and emails only take a few minutes to send, but people who receive them keep them forever. The publicness of the Internet allows bullies to broadcast their tormenting to further humiliate their victims. Not only have these victims suffered severe damage to the ego, but everybody knows about it.

The technological advances in bullying caused people to fear showing their faces at school. It’s enough that they already have been called a loser, or whatever creative insult some bully managed to come up with, online. Having to see the people who have been tormenting you when you have been disarmed of your confidence can be traumatizing. The severity of this emotional damage goes unnoticed by most; most people can be found hysterically laughing through the genocide of their peers’ self esteem.

Most of the bullies barely even know their victims. They have no idea if they are torturing someone who already suffers from depression. The worse kinds of bullies know that they are dealing with someone who has depression and use the depression as a weapon. It reaches the dangerous point of bullies knowingly or unknowingly taunting people who are suicidal, causing them to have even less of a desire to live.

This became more disastrous with the advent of Facebook, a page that may have been paved with good intentions, but created a whole new world for bullying. Facebook profiles contained a wall where friends could publicly communicate with each other. Unfortunately, bullies had a different use for this wall than friendly conversation. The wall welcomed bullies to taint their victims profiles with public, painful insults. People have the opportunity to comment and contribute to these epithets. More recently, Facebook users were given the opportunity to click “like” on Facebook postings. This means that even if one mean person has the idea to post “you have no friends in real life, so it’s funny that you have so many Facebook friends,” on somebody’s page, 50 other people can click “like,” indicating that they agree. The comment and “like” features also are available for people’s pictures that they have posted on their profiles. A person can log onto Facebook in a perfectly good mood and log off feeling ugly, friendless and worthless. It’s a wonder many people have difficulty succeeding in English classes, but can come up with such creative adjectives to use when publicly abusing someone. As if the verbal abuse is not enough, bullies have also discovered the art of exploiting their victims’ pictures to deepen the wounds that they have already inflicted.

Facebook is not the only place on the Internet where behavior like this occurs. The bullying epidemic became more contagious when people started to use pages such as formspring.me. Those pages allowed users to either make comments or ask questions anonymously. Although this may seem like it has potential to bring people closer together, it got ugly very quickly. People asked invasive, personal questions and posted heinous lies on these pages. This may seem harmless or juvenile, but it really is a war with words. People have resorted to suicide due to unnecessary bullying, and bullying remains an ongoing battle. People have started to take legal action as a result of irreparable damage caused by bullying. It may sound like the days of kindergarden tattletales, but it’s a serious matter. Without increased legal involvement, bullying will continue to damage and destroy innocent lives. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sexual Abuse Made Easier

The definition of rape as we know is being redefined to exclude date rapes and other sexual coercion where the victim is incapacitated. This proposal comes from House Bill 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would further screws over victims of sexual abuse who were drugged, drunk, unconscious, mentally disabled or date raped.

This new definition of rape means that someone who is asleep, drugged or otherwise incapacitated would be able to be forced into sex, and by law, they would have to like it. This may as well be a proposal to arm sexual predators with an extra set of penises that they can legally force into women.

What would this mean for the woman suffering from insomnia who took her prescription medication to fall asleep, and then had a man force himself upon her while catching some much needed shuteye? No matter how loudly she screamed when she woke up and realized what had happened to her, she wouldn’t have been a rape victim. According to the law, she consented to the sex the moment her head hit the pillow.

Picture the application of this standard to other crimes, for example burglary and robbery. A woman plagued by panic attacks and anxiety who has taken her daily prescribed dose of her anxiolytic medication. She is now defenseless. A man breaks into her house and helps himself to her belongings. Imagine a world where attorneys would refuse to take that woman’s case because they wouldn’t have a chance in hell in a courtroom.

People find the burglary and rape comparison far-fetched, but believe me, a woman’s body is a lot more sacred to her than any Plasma television set in her house. No man should be able to abuse a woman sexually regardless of her blood-alcohol content.

It is even more mind-blowing that this change in definition would extend to date-rape cases. This means a man can discreetly slip a date rape drug into a woman’s drink, wait for it to kick in, and then do whatever the hell he wants to that woman. He wouldn’t have to worry about being charged with rape; under the new definition of rape, he would be considered a law-abiding citizen. What happened between him and the woman certainly sounds like rape, but it was only sex. That man didn’t rape anybody; he just got laid. Maybe instead of getting arrested, he’ll go home and brag about it to his bros. They form teams and see how many women they can drug and molest.

Making this change to the definition of rape would make it infinitely easier for men to sexually abuse women without getting in any legal trouble. They would just have to find the right drugs or women who are prescribed to the right drugs, and get busy.