The Bully Dialogues

"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." ~Dylan Thomas~

These are the stories of our rage. The only difference between Dylan's poem and our rage, is that the light shines continuously. We will not let it die out. Enjoy, and thank you for reading.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sticks and Stones and our Freedom of Speech

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”


This is something I am sure we have all said when we were kids. It was a comeback of sorts when someone was trying to purposely hurt our feelings. We would say it, and walk away hoping that our tormentor would just leave us alone. When we were alone with our thoughts, we cried. At least I did. Those words DID hurt me and I could not understand why anyone would say those things to me. Then our parents would step in and tell us not to react and they would say “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” - The Golden Rule of behavior…something we seem to be forgetting.

In my work on advocacy to bring awareness on bullying issues, I have come across two types of people. There are those who think we should ignore the bullying and name calling, thus bettering ourselves, and the others who think we should fight back verbally. I think both are worthy of being looked into and both can work with different types of people. It depends on an individual’s resilience and perseverance in how they handle these situations. But where do we draw the line?

Victims of bullying get blamed for being too sensitive and overly emotional, while the bullies do not get the consequences or redirection they deserve. This is why victims of bullying are ending their lives…people either do not believe them or care, or they think the victim just needs to “suck it up” and move on.

There is not just one blanket response to handle bullying situations. Everyone is different. We are all unique individuals who have different backgrounds, culture, education and upbringing. What works for one individual does not necessarily mean it will work for another. Take learning styles for example. Teachers should teach according to their individual students learning style, and not teach according to what is more comfortable for the teacher. Professional counselors need to know their clients’ backgrounds and cultures in order to help their client effectively.

Why would handling self esteem issues and bullying issues be any different? Some people may be strong enough to handle the bullying and name calling, while others cannot. Does that mean that we should belittle the ones who are having a hard time with it? Should we tell them to “get over it” and “move on” as if we do not care about their mental well being? Should we ignore them and assume that they will be ok without looking into the problem further?

A nationally certified school psychologist (Izzy Kalman from the magazine, Psychology Today) is saying that our efforts to bring awareness on bullying are not working. He's saying that the "no name calling week" is stupid and we should let students and adults throw insults at each other for a full week instead, because it's funny and people won't take it so seriously.

"I propose a better alternative to No Name-Calling Week. This new week would solve the name-calling problem for good. If we are genuinely concerned with kids' emotional well being, we should have a Call Me Names All You Want Week. Students will be instructed about the brilliance of Freedom of Speech–the Constitutional version of the traditional "Sticks and Stones" slogan. Both staff and students will be allowed to insult each other all they want, with the instruction that they are forbidden to get upset” (Izzy Kalman).

Seriously? It is this mentality that is harming our youth today. It is this mentality that takes an ugly turn on our Freedom of Speech Amendment. Yes, we have the right to speak to whom we want and about what we want, but should we? Where does common courtesy and respect come into play if we do not exercise that judgment? When I think of free speech, I think about my right to exercise my FREEDOM to speak, not to exercise my mouth and let the hateful words fall out of it as if I have nothing better to do.

If you say in an airport that you have a bomb, you are immediately taken into custody and possibly taken to jail. If you say you’re going to kill someone in the government, you are immediately taken to jail. If you harass someone at the bar, the bouncer is asked to escort you out. If you cause a scene anywhere in public, you are asked to leave and not return. Stores have the ability to refuse service for patrons being rude, disrespectful or belligerent. In the sports world, players are kicked off of a team for acting unsportsmanlike. Military personnel are given an unhonorable discharge for acting inappropriately or against the moral code. Why aren’t students held to the same accountability for being hurtful toward their classmates? We need to stop accepting that boys and girls act the way they do as a “right of passage” and that they will eventually grow out of it. We do not say those things when an adult is acting irresponsibly, so why should we accept those things for (and from) our children?

The statistics for bullying is staggering (Found on When we look at these numbers, shouldn’t we be educating our youth and each other on how to be nicer to one another and what we can be doing to help their mental well being? We need to be teaching acceptance and tolerance. We need to be providing coping skills, anger management, peer relationships and how to manage one’s own behavior. We need to get back to the Golden Rule of behavior and treat others how we wish to be treated.

We also need to not forget that a bully is a bully for a reason. We need to remember that we do not always know what goes on behind closed doors. We need to educate and train these bullies how to manage their own feelings. We need to provide counseling and an outlet for them to express themselves more appropriately. These bullies may also be feeling neglected, scared, betrayed, and belittled…the same way they have been making the victim feel. We (as educators, parents, and members of a productive society) would be making it worse for them if we did not try to understand them and teach them how to act appropriately. You and I may have the skills to know how to behave in social settings. We learned it from our parents and in our environment. Not everyone has that advantage.

~Amy Hewitt Bonin~
(Creator of "Standing Up For Victims of Bullies - Child or Adult")

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Keight's Story

I came from a good family. I dressed like any other 13 year old and kept to my group of friends. For some reason a group of grade nines decided one day that I was their victim and would call me "monkey face", a dirty ape and make monkey noises at me. At first I was stunned and was confused by the association they believed I had to a monkey. It continued relentlessly and soon I was looking at myself in mirrors, believing they were right. My "friends" started ditching me at school, except for a couple who braved my humiliation with me. Then one day I came to school to see handmade posters with a picture of an ape with the following title:


I just broke down. A couple people tore as many as they could down, but other people had already grabbed them to show others for a laugh.

I started getting into a very dark place that came to a head when I stole a pop bottle full of liquor from my parents and proceeded to get absolutely hammered at school. I got suspended, but these girls were never even talked to by the principals. My parents were too busy with the fact their marriage was crumbling and so I just continued to numb myself. The bullying continued right until the last day of school.

Those girls moved on to the high school but the damage was done. The summer before grade nine is a blur and my self hate continued to fester. I dropped out halfway in grade nine because school was cutting into my partying. I moved to the other end of Canada that summer but wasn't able to continue to function like a normal 15 year old. The only difference now was I was MAD and self mutilation was a everyday thing.

I'm not going to get into too many details but my mom was both scared for and of me. I wanted to die, but I also wanted to just not hurt. I'm glad I didn't jump off my mom’s step ladder that one afternoon, because a little while later I met someone. He too had been bullied and he calmed me down.

It’s been 7 years I've been with him, 10 years since those girls tortured me and yes what they did to me was always in the back of my mind, but I GREW and realized I had a great sense of self. I am now a very happy, strong and powerful person. I decided these girls owed me a explanation so I wrote the two main abusers and so far one has replied. This is how it went:

Keight Hubbs
Hey there, I don't know if you recognize me, but I went to Spencer with you. I was wondering if sometime we could chat a bit. thanks and ttys

Hey. You do look a little familiar. I was trying to find my year book but it seems to have gone missing. How is everything with you?

Keight Hubbs
It’s ok. I used to be called "monkey face" by a bunch of you girls and I wanted to know why? It was the only year in my life I was targeted for no reason. Clearly I'm very self assured, but I feel like I deserve an answer. I also want to know how to contact Sheena and ask her why she too felt better then me for no reason. I'm not mad or vindictive, I just wanted to find out what about me did you all hate about yourselves so much? I hope you all are much more happier in adulthood. Thanks

We were a mean group in our younger years. As I got older I matured and believe me when I say I feel terrible for the way I treated a lot of people. I am very sorry for the way I mistreated you, absolutely nobody in the world deserves that. I do not expect you to forgive me at anytime, but please know that that is not the person I truly am, and I'm deeply sorry.

Keight Hubbs
I already forgave. Because of that I found myself and have had a amazing adventure of a life. I am so secure and dominate as a person, because of you all. I am in tattoo magazines, friends with world famous artists, a animal advocate and a voice for girls who feel like I used to.

Your apology means a lot to me, but I wanted to reconnect and start again. I plan on eventually writing a book about bullying and to get to know my former tormentor in a different light would be a really big step. I'm so glad you have clearly shunned that way of life and also became a beautiful woman!

It sounds like you really have your life together and you have some amazing passions. I myself have a huge place in my heart for animals and do what I can at any time to help out at shelters. I feel really bad that I had such a negative impact on your life, but I'm so happy that you reached out to me too. I myself was bullied in elementary and again in high school. Maybe not to the extent it was for you, but it affected me enough to become a better person and realize that picking on others is not okay, even if it is just to fit in with the "popular" group.

~Written by Keight Hubbs~

** This is a wonderful story of forgiveness and acceptance. I like how Amanda apologized to Keight, and how Keight automatically forgave her. More people need to be like this in the world. Kudos to both women. ~Amy~ **

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Determine Who I Am! (Poem by Lani Elliot)

I Determine Who I Am!
I apologies for nothing
I'm quite happy being me
You think you know about me
And you judge by what you see

You criticize my body
You make fun of what I wear
You tell me that I'm ugly
And that to you I can't compare

Your words are filled with hatred
But your pain is all I see
I can see that you are hurting
And you direct that hurt at me

You only see the surface
Of the person that I am
I'm so much more than what you see
Or could ever understand

So no matter what you tell me
I'm just fine the way I am
I don't base my worth on what you think
I determine who I am!

Written By:
~Lani Elliott~

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kameron Jacobson and Kevin Jacobson

A year ago today, Kameron Jacobson committed suicide at the age of 14 after being relentlessly bullied. I read his story with tears in my eyes. Here was a child who was picked on for being small and put-down and humiliated by so-called 'friends' on-line here on facebook. He even had his jaw broken. Such a beautiful little boy, and his parents did everything they knew how to do to make it stop. But it was too much for him to bear. I listened in outrage to his mother Wanda's account of reading (after his death) the things written about her son, and I was stunned. Why are children so cruel to one another? It is senseless and brutal.

Kameron's story took a heart-breaking turn last week, when reports of his father's sudden death began to appear. With a heavy heart, I Googled Kevin Jacobson's name. Kevin and wife Wanda started Kindness Above Malice in Kameron's memory. He had been a passionate advocate to end bullying. But Kameron's death was a terrible blow, and with the anniversary of Kameron's death approaching, he, too, ended his life. Now Wanda and her surviving children face the unimaginable: mourning both Kevin and Kameron's suicides.

I did not know Kevin Jacobson. But his passing filled me with absolute rage. He is the second father I have heard of in a two month period who has taken his life as a direct result of losing his son to bullying. The other was my friend, Roger Crouch, whose son jumped off the roof of a building after being bullied for a game of Spin the Bottle that was twisted into a nightmare of homophobic taunts. Roger and wife Paola started Friends of Dom Crouch against bullying in Dom's memory, which is how I met him. He was a kind and funny man and I miss him terribly. The last time I spoke to Roger on facebook, he had seemed a little down, enough so that my comment on his status was (hug). It is so feeble, I know, but what do you say when someone is facing such a terrible loss? There are no words...

I am worried about our kids, but I am also worried about my fellow parents. I have a nine year old son and I remember holding him as a premature infant, thinking: if anything ever happens to you, I will not survive it. It was chilling, to realize that you loved someone that much. He is my only child. I hope that none of us ever has to face such a tragedy. I say this, and realize that I have friends who have done just that, and survived. They are the strongest people I know. Roger and Kevin were strong, too. Please do not misunderstand me. What I am trying to say is...please hold on. Every person we lose to bullying is one too many.

Rest in peace, Kameron and Kevin Jacobson ♥

~Beautifully written by Leslie from Even-A-Single-Lamp-Dispels-The-Darkness~

Kameron's page = Kindness Above Malice

Kevin and Kameron

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

National Mental Health Resources

HIV/AIDS Information and Resources:

National AIDS Hotline
800-FOR-AIDS (800-342-2437)

American Social Health Association: Sexually Transmitted Disease Hotline

CDC AIDS Information

AIDS Information, Treatment, Prevention and Research
800-HIV-0440 (800-448-0400)


Meth 2 Death

Alcohol Hotline

Al-Anon for families of alcoholics

Alcohol and Drug Helpline

Alcohol Treatment Referral Hotline

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Hotline

Cocaine Anonymous

Families Anonymous

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Helpline

National Helpline for Substance Abuse


Child Protection Hotline within Ca.

Judge Baker Children’s Center-Child Abuse Hotline

Child Help USA-National Child Abuse Hotline

Covenant House

National U.S. Child Abuse Hotline


LGBTQ Youth Crisis Line (The Trevor Project) 866-4-u TREVOR

Girls and Boy’s Town National Hotline

Suicide Hotline

National Hope line Network
800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Veterans Press Option 2

National Youth Crisis Hotline
800-442-HOPE (4673)

Youth Suicide Prescription

AAA Crisis Pregnancy Center


Depression and Suicide Hotline (Covenant House)

Free Online Support for Depression and/or Bipolar
Also see:

SAFE Alternatives (Self Abuse Finally Ends)
1-800-DONTCUT or (1-800-366-8288)


National Domestic Violence Hotline, Child / Sexual Abuse
800-799-7233 OR 800-799-SAFE
TDD# - 800-787-3224

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)

Abuse Victim Hotline

Domestic and Teen Violence (English and Spanish)

Parental Stress Hotline—Help for parents

Sexual Assault Hotline 924/7, English and Spanish

National Child Abuse Hotline


American Association of Poison Control Centers


Shoplifters Anonymous:


Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention.


Teen Help and Adolescent Resources

National Runaway Switchboard—(All calls are confidential)

National Hotline for Missing and Exploited Children

Child Find of America

National Youth Crisis Hotline

Teenline Online

Teen Support Line
800-GLB-CHAT (10-6 est)


Out Proud

Matthew Shepard Foundation

Mattthew’s Place

PFLAG (Parents/Friends/Allies of Gays)-Local chapters available

Gender Identity Questions

Family Support for Transgender

GLBTQ Youth Peer Listening Line 5-11pm est

Gay and Lesbian National Hotline (GLBT-Aging)

GLBTQ Youth Crisis Line (The Trevor Project)
866-4-u TREVOR
Trevor Project is the only nationwide around the clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lgbtq youth. Calls are confidential and toll free

National Coalition on LGBT health


Anxiety Disorders Association of America

Active Minds (Campus Educational support)

Technical Assistance Ctr. (Variety of Mental health Resources)

Autism Resource Guide

Borderline Personality Disorder

This compilation is provided by Willey and Associates Consulting Group providing free, confidential consultations to HSU students and other individuals.

We are here to listen non-judgementally and help you work through your situations. Feel free to contact us.

Amazing Communities and Helpful Pages on Facebook

This community is not the only community around who is greatly involved in the movement to raise awareness on bullying issues, preventing suicide, and mental health awareness. There are so many wonderful pages and people who work together to gain awareness, and provide positive information for those in need. I would like to take the time now to recognize some of them.

Two pages that definitely need to be recognized, are two communities who promote pages and help with bringing attention to efforts of political activism, social activism and consumer activism.

1. The Athena Tree
2. The Owl Report

These communities have been created by people who have lost a loved one due to bullycide (suicide, due to being bullied). They are wonderful individuals with huge hearts. To be able to put aside their own pain to help others, is just wonderful and amazing to see.

1. Ashlynn Conner Anti-Bullying Foundation
2. B.R.A.V.E.
3. Friends of Dom Crouch against bullying
4. Jeremiah's Hope
5. Kindness Above Malice
6. Kindness Matters
7. Matthew Shephard Foundation

The following are fellow anti-bullying communities I just adore and they are well worth the time in looking into. (In alphabetical order)

1. ABC:Anti-Bullying Coalition
2. Abolish All Cyber-abuse-Stop the Hate
3. Accept Me
4. A Thin Line
5. Blow the Whistle on Bullying
6. Bullying-Wrong on Multiple Levels
7. Bully Survivors: Victims to Victors
8. Bullying is for Losers
9. Bullying is not cool keep it out of our school
10. Caring and Courageous Kids: Program to Peaceful Intervention to Bullying
11. Courage - The Global Community
12. Cruel's Not Cool
13. Defy The Hate
14. Draw a heart on your wrist if you're against bullying
15. Enough is Enough: the blog page
16. Fight Club: advocacy program for bullied youth
17. For Leslie
18. Give a Damn Campaign
19. Hate is not a family value
20. I Oppose Bullying
21. It Gets Better Project
22. It Gets Better - FD
23. Jefferson Anti-Bully Coalition
24. K.A.R.M.A Stand STRONG Against Bullyin
25. Kids Against Bullying in Schools (KABS)
26. Mean Stinks
27. Minnesota Bully Busters
28. Mothers Against Bullying
29. No Bullying Movement
30. No H8 Campaign
31. Not Perfect? Me neither
32. PACER Teens Against Bullying
33. Shut it Down
34. Stand Up - Don't Give Up
35. Stand Up, Speak Out: On A Mission To End Bullying
36. Stand up, stop bullying
37. Stand up to your bully
38. Stomp Out Bullying
39. Stop Bullying: Speak Up
40. Stop The Hate
41. Support a Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights
43. Take a Stand
44. Teens against Cyber Bullying (TACB)
45. The Anna Packer Project - Community Creating Change
46. The Bully Project
47. The Trevor Project
48. Words Do Hurt

Pages who stand for Equality, and against Homophobia (In alphabetical order)

1. Advocate Magazine
2. Aquarius: Hippies of a New Wave
3. Be The Change You Want To See In The World
4. Created Equal
5. Diversity Role Models
6. Equality For All
8. Free2Luv
9. Fluid Ink
10. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight Alliance
11. GSA Network
12. H.O.P.E. against Hate
13. I like Big Words and Codfish
14. I'm Gay, I'm Straight and who gives a F*ck
15. I'm not gay, but I don't care if you are
16. Lesbians R Us
17. One Voice - Many Echos
18. P.E.A.C.E. for L.I.F.E.
19. People Against Gay Bullying
20. Power of Our Voices
21. Program Watch
22. Stop the Silence
23. Straight for Equality
24. Support Gay Marriage Across America
26. The Equality Mantra
27. The Happy Lesbian Uniting People in The Fight For Equality
28. The Hippies Were Right
29. The House Elf Liberation Front
30. The Pink Triangle Theatre
31. The Pride Wall
32. The Rainbow Room
33. We Only Have One Race: The Humane Race
34. Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook (WHOF)
35. Womens Rights
36. worldwidehippies

Pages to bring awareness on suicide

1. Ambivalent
2. International Association for Suicide Prevention
3. Jamey's Law - Bullied to Death: Aggravated Suicide Must Be Punished
4. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
5. STOP Teenage Suicide
6. Suicide Shatters
7. The Surviving Project
8. 1-800-RUNAWAY

Inspirational Communities (In alphabetical order)

1. Be Grateful
2. Chicken Soup for the Soul
3. Elevating Grace
4. Even A Single Lamp Dispels The Darkness
5. Flightless Goose
6. Imagine Peace
7. Inner Hero
8. Inner Journey
9. Inspiring Words
10. Karma Experiment - Pay It Forward
11. Lessons Learned in Life
12. Marc and Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living
14. People Who Inspire Us
15. Princess to Princess: A Guide To Realizing Your Inner Beauty
16. Positive Inspirational Quotes (PIQ)
17. Positive Outlooks
18. Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
19. Recovery, Spirituality and Wellness
20. Ripple Kindness Cards
21. Spreading Positivity
22. Strong Beautiful Capable Women of Substance
23. Themis Eagleson's Words of Wisdom
24. This TOO shall Pass
25. The Kaleidoscope of Life
26. The Ripple Effect Legacy
27. The Survivors Club
28. Unrelenting Positivity
29. Women Empowering Each Other Daily

Mental Health Communities and Parenting (In alphabetical order)

1. Adventures in Wisdom
2. Age of Autism
3. Aspergers Support Network
4. Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation
5. Depression
6. Emerging from Broken
7. Focus Adolescent Services
8. GO LIME Awareness for Mental Health (GLAMH)
9. Help Reduce Suicide, Depression, and Stress Related Illnesses in Young Adults
10. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
12. Positive Parenting Solutions
13. Support Page for those with Anxiety, Depression, or Mental Illness
14. The Comfort Compass

These are groups on Facebook - either open or private

1. Don't Suffer in Silence (closed group)
2. Fight Against Bullying - FAB - (open group)
3. GIVE EM HOPE CAMPAIGN (open group)
4. Helping All Kids Abused and Bullied (Closed group)
5. Operation Bullyhorn (closed group)
6. RIP Roger Crouch (Open Group)
7. The FIGHT For The Children (Closed Group)
7. Victim Rights Advocates (Open group)

Thank you.

~Amy Hewitt Bonin~
(Creator of Standing up for Victims of Bullies (Child or Adult)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What You Stole - An open letter to our son's tormentors

Do you know what you stole that day five years ago? You probably don't remember stealing anything, but you did. Five years can seem like an eternity at your age. Do you even remember that day? Let me remind you of it.

It was just another miserable day in your life, the same as the day before. You went to school, and you did what you did every other day; you tormented our son. It was no big deal to you. It was a very big day in Steven's life though, because it was his last day on this Earth.

Simply because you felt inferior and powerless, you decided once again to take out your frustrations on your fellow students. That day, you saved your most vicious attack for Steven, your victim of choice for the previous three months. It didn't seem like stealing anything though, did it?

It was.

The first thing you stole was Steven's life. That much should be obvious, even to you, but do you know how much more you stole? The effects of your violence have spread like ripples on water, never reaching the far shore.

We lost part of ourselves that day; part of us just disappeared. Steven was the last of his line; there will be no grandchildren in our lives, thanks to you. Steven's sister will never have nieces or nephews, his grandparents will never have great-grandchildren. His many aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins will never get to grow with him in their family.

You robbed Steven's friends of his friendship. He did have friends, you know. Good friends that cared about him as he cared about them. Unlike you, they were worthy of his friendship, and Steven earned theirs. You stole him from all of them, too.

The world will never know who Steven might have become, because you stole his future. He may been anyone or done anything, but we'll never know, now. He may have even done something with his life that improved the lives of others, even thieves like you.

His sister will never have a little brother to talk to, and will feel his loss every single day. She will never truly understand what happened, or why. She loved Steven and cannot understand why you didn't like him.

You stole more than that, too. Your actions started a chain of events that continues to this day, and will never really end. We lost several years of our lives because you bullied our son. Years lost to insanity and depression, in a haze of medication and misery.

His mom may never really recover. You can't possibly conceive how losing a child destroys a mother, eating into her soul, like a disease with no cure. You stole the woman I love, leaving a shadow behind. You stole her husband as well, and replaced him with an angry, broken man.

You can't know the depth of a father's pain, my anger at you, or how lucky you are that I had help dealing with my desire to erase you from this world. I will never find true peace, but I will not lower myself to your level, and act out on my frustration and pain, like you did. You're just not worth it.

You stole all of this from all of us, and more. All of the days of growing and learning, loving and being loved are gone, and cannot be replaced. Sunny afternoons and late night talks, family dinners and dreams of the future, all gone. New friends and possibilities, old friends and memories, all impossible now.

All because you felt like hurting someone that day.

~Mike Urry~