Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Ohio child cancer survivor kills herself over bullying"

(CNN)The relentless bullying became too much to handle for an 11-year-old girl with a "crooked" smile, her mother said.

At 3 years old, Bethany Thompson was diagnosed with a brain tumor and battled through radiation treatments. Though cancer-free since 2008, treatment caused nerve damage that changed Bethany's smile. That, and her curly hair, led to bullying, said Bethany's mother, Wendy Feucht.

13 comments:

chickelit said...

This is horrible.

Synova said...

I'm... torn. (The tragedy involved goes without saying.)

Does anyone kill themselves because of getting teased about their curly hair or crooked smile? I think that the emphasis on bullying makes it harder to truly examine the causes of suicide in children or teens. It's always bullying, right? And if they'd just had acceptance then they'd not have done it. Except that every time you hear about it, the kid or teen HAS friends. They HAVE acceptance. There is always someone there who loves them. Sometimes the suicide happens *after* a teen finds support and approval.

I hope someone figures it out because I really don't think it's all about having to deal with a few mean kids.

Amartel said...

She was 12. It's a vulnerable age.
I don't think you can legislate against "bullying." It's too vague a term. One person's bullying is another person's gentle ribbing. People get bullied in order to conform and sometimes that's a valuable lesson, sometimes you ought to conform, sometimes you're rebellion is stupid and the sooner you find that out, the better. It's just true. OTOH, bullying a 12 year old cancer survivor because her face is a little different due to the residual effects of the cancer - that deserves punishment. That's something that needs to be left to community shaming. It's horrible. The kids who did this, and the adults at school (or wherever) who looked the other way, should be named and known in the community as unworthy of respect.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The kids who were teasing her thought it was funny, in all likelihood.

bagoh20 said...

So you punish the bully, shame them, and then they commit suicide. I think the bully should get shamed, if it was really cruelty and not just friendly kidding, but it's also likely there is no workable answer to prevent such a sensitive person from committing suicide sooner or later. We have a responsibility to our children to toughen them up and to prepare them to deal with such things. Life is full of this, and there's no way to stop it, if that is even a good thing to pursue. I know that the family I grew up in was so fond of sarcasm and constant ribbing that none of us could ever be made to do this by mere taunts or bullying. Arm your children through practice and exposure with tactics and emotional armor, because you can't be there to protect them their whole lives.

MamaM said...

The kids who were teasing her thought it was funny, in all likelihood

I don't buy that. The kids who were teasing her gained something besides an inner laugh or a tickled funny bone. While there may have been some in the group who went along, there was someone with an agenda that wasn't driven by joviality or a keen sense of humor. Bullies realize a sense of power through their behavior that extends beyond humor or whatever approval they might receive by providing a laugh.

The goal of a bully is to transfer the darkness, pain or shame they carry themselves and cannot tolerate, onto another in order to experience control and relieve their sense of powerlessness.

And no, it wasn't about her smile or curly hair either. Those happened to be the focal points, the unprotected places where the arrow of abuse could find easy entry.

Sixty Grit said...

Suicide is awful, especially when done by a young person. I would be interested in how much physical pain the child was in and how it was being managed. Pharmaceuticals are sometimes overlooked in tragedies like this, but even they play a small role, they have to be taken into account.

But how sad is this story - I hate it when the will to live and the love of life for its own sake is not present in any person's life, even more so in a young person. So very sad...

Amartel said...

Yeah, I hear you Bags. The kids need to toughen up, most definitely. But bullying a 12 year old about something she can't do anything about, that's cruel. When kids are cruel like that it needs to be squashed immediately. The solution is not the usual weeping about "bullying" from the usual suspects who are, themselves, poorly disguised bullies. It's got to be solved in the community.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Suicide is a strange and horrible thing. It is too simple to label it. We might never know what went into it. You can never really know what is in someone else's head regardless of their age.

A truly terrible story.

Leland said...

In DC, they are voting to help little girls like her... commit suicide. California already will. But they won't call it bullying.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I don't buy that.

Me neither. My point (cryptic, I readily admit) was that finding ourselves amusing is how too many of us give ourselves permission to say hurtful, otherwise useless things.

I'm guilty of it myself. And I'm doing my level best to knock it off. I'm too old for that crap.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I pray for her and her family.