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Bullycide – Bullying Kills

Students taking their own lives because of bullying – Bullycide

Very often, the victim who is being targeted and traumatized needs treatment. At times, they don’t receive the treatment they need because people in authority don’t recognize them as a victim/target or they don’t have the resources available to help this person. When this happens, it makes the person feel helpless and leads him/her to believe there’s no way out and they commit what is called bullycide.

Being suicidal doesn’t mean that the person really wants to die. It is just a sign that the person has crossed the threshold of pain that he or she is capable of handling. Because of this very reason, it can safely be said that suicide is never an impulsive act. In fact, it’s the culmination of a long drawn out thought process. A stage where there is an imbalance of pain versus the willpower required to get through it.  It’s that point where the person feels he/she does not have a way out of the pain just as in this comment:

“If you’re bullied for long enough, that’s going to go through your mind,” he said.  He added, “You wake up in the morning and you just think, ‘I have to go face them again. I have to spend another eight hours in that prison.’ And you just don’t want to be there and no matter what you do, you can’t escape.” [1]

From our statistics many students commented stating ‘that if they spoke up to a teacher nothing would be done anyway.’

Besides the bullying induced trauma, there usually is a combination of other factors in their lives which exerts pressure on them and forces them to make this decision to end their lives.

These problems could be  major family related issues which they are facing in their lives or it could be age related issues which all teenagers go through (like their adolescence years). It could stem from problems happening around them which affect them deeply, such as their parents getting a divorce, domestic violence or child abuse in which they might be the ones suffering. Or these could be lifestyle related problems like addiction and/or drug abuse.  All of these usually make the victims feel lonely and isolated; effectively they withdraw into a shell away from their loved ones.


Any teenager who already has his hands full dealing with so many problems in life, to add bullying, especially cyber-bullying, really proves to be the proverbial last straw.  Their mind gets pushed into such a mess that ending their life seems the only way out of all the torment they are surrounded with. This bullying could become the trigger for them committing suicide.

At our sympathy extends to the families that have lost a child.  Our hearts go out to the thousands of children who feel there is no way out. No words can ever comfort what has been lost but it is our duty as adults to change everyone’s mind, we all need to be involved to stop bullying- it is our responsibility.


Signs if your child is a victim

Keep in mind that these symptoms could be signs of other medical issues therefore don’t assume it is just bullying – these should be seen and diagnosed by a professional doctor.

There are a number of signs to watch out for, some of which might be easy to spot whereas others might not be. A keen eye of a friend, or a parent, or anyone interacting regularly with the victim, gets a number of opportunities to identify some of these signs:

  • Ø Wild mood swings
  • Ø Depressed mood
  • Ø Loss of interest in activities of pleasure or interest
  • Ø Sudden bouts of hostility towards friends and family
  • Ø Significant weight changes
  • Ø Memory lapses
  • Ø Hallucinations
  • Ø Not sleeping at all or sleeping too much
  • Ø Fatigue or constant lack of energy

Besides these signs which are visible, there might be recurrent thoughts of death in the mind. Those close to the victim must be very vigilant and look out for any preoccupation with death and dying. These thoughts could be in his/her mind or could manifest in daily life where the potential victim might show symptoms[2] such as:

  • sharing a desire to be dead
  • threatening to commit suicide
  • making and discussing plans to commit suicide
  • harming themselves by mutilating, cutting or burning parts of their body
  • giving away favorite things to others
  • talking about making final arrangements

I would like to believe that no one really wants to die, but when they are on this path it’s because they are confused inside and don’t see a way out.

All the symptoms they show are a cry of help whereby they are trying to look out for someone who can recognize their trauma and help them out of it. If they can be extended a helping hand which guides them out of this quagmire of pain and trauma, their destructive path can be altered.

Reminder: these symptoms could be signs of other medical issues therefore don’t assume it is just bullying – these should be seen and diagnosed by a professional doctor.

Bullycide has increased over the years. Suicide remains amongst the leading causes of death of children under the age of 14.   Suicide rate among 10 to 14-year-olds has grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades.[3]

In many cases, bullycide occurred without anyone even knowing that the victims were being bullied. Many victims of bullying don’t speak up because they have this belief that speaking up is ratting, snitching or tattling and if they do that things will only get worse. These words started in the jail system and have over the years filtered down into our school system that “if you speak up, you’re a rat or snitch.”


Dawn Marie Wesley was a 14 year old student from B.C.   She took her own life due to escalated taunting and torture and finally after one threatening phone call from the bully girls this was the letter that she wrote to her mom and dad before committing bullycide:

“If I try to get help, it will get worse. They are always looking for a new person to beat up, and they are the toughest girls. If I ratted, they would get suspended and there would be no stopping them. I love you all so much.” Dawn Marie Wesley (Died Nov 10, 2000) [4]

The most difficult part of making the paradigm shift is moving our emotions and reactive thought processes to focus on the proactive side. One of the biggest questions I get asked when speaking to parents is “should we educate students on what to do when they get bullied?” There is nothing wrong with teaching people different angles of problem solving, but if all you do is teach someone what to do after they have been victimized, then this becomes completely reactive. It seems like the right thing to do, teach our kids how to protect themselves.  Bullies don’t pick on kids with high self esteem; they pick on the weak so that they can control them.

Teaching such kids to protect themselves becomes futile. They just don’t have the self esteem to speak up. As in the case of Emmet:

“Emmet Fralick, 14, shot himself in his bedroom because he was being bullied by classmates.  Emmet was regarded as a quiet boy with a reputation for kindness to others.”[5]

Victims feel alone, so educating victims as if they’re bystanders, keeps them on the same team as the rest of the students instead of educating them on what to do as a single entity. Students must be educated to speak up to a teacher when they witness a bullying or have had a bullying experience. They must be told that when they go home they must ensure that their parents are aware that they spoke up to a teacher. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure the school follows through with the correct procedures. It’s the responsibility of the school to find out the whole picture without using their own value system and it’s the parents’ role to work with the school system to resolve the behavioral problem.


[1] CNN Living, Bullying victim: ‘I believed that I did not deserve to live’, October 5, 2010, http://www. (May 13, 2012)


[2]   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Understanding Suicide Fact Sheet 2010, (April 1, 2012)


[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-CDC 24/7: Saving Live. Protecting People. Suicide Prevention Youth Suicide, (March 12, 2012)


[4] School Advocacy Hamilton, Bullying kills, (March 1, 2012)

[5] (March 1, 2012)