Thursday, October 25, 2012

When bullying hits home

The issue of bullying isn't going away. It's happening at places of work, on the Internet, in schools - within local sports organizations.

Despite repeated tragic stories of torment - and even death - as a result of bullying, the epidemic (pandemic? disease?) isn't getting better. If anything, it's worse.

I've known a lot of victims of bullying, faced my own childhood tormentors, and even now continue to deal with an adult bully, despite repeated attempts to take the higher ground.

But today, I'm at my breaking point. Maybe it's because we're at the tail end of Anti-Bullying Month that I'm even more sensitive to the issue, but this latest instance is not only breaking my heart, it's making me mad.

A dear friend of mine is taking a stand against a group of bullies. Megan is one of the most intelligent, beautiful, caring and funny women I know. She's also a lesbian. Megan and her amazing partner play soccer on a team predominantly of lesbians - and they're a damn good team. They practice hard. Play hard.

And they play fair.

I'm all for friendly competition, and good-hearted razzing on the field is fine, even expected. But a group of girls on an opposing team have taken it too far. Verbal abuse, threats, pushing and shoving during the game and after. They've crossed every line of fair play.

But that's not even the worst of it. Despite numerous complaints against this team, the league has not only decided to do nothing about it, they've turned a blind eye.

Megan is doing what we encourage our youth to do. The team has reported the incident. They've filed complaints. They've rallied friends and family for support.

Isn't THIS where the league should also take a stand?

If a strong, vocal, passionate ADULT victim of bullying stands up and speaks out against this abuse - and her concerns are pushed aside, then HOW can we expect our youth to feel secure that if THEY stand up for themselves, they'll have the support they need?

This is Megan's story and I'll do whatever I need to help her tell it, not only because she is my friend and I love her, but because it's important for victims of bullying everywhere to understand the that one voice CAN make a difference.

Please, read Megan's story and share, because awareness is only the start of the battle.

- Dawn

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