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Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Posts Tagged ‘Violence and Abuse

URGENT CALL TO ACTION!!!

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On November 29th, I posted a blog entry about 14-year-old Brittany who’d just attempted suicide and was in ICU.  Brittany not only survived her attempt, she returned to school this past Monday.  And, therein lies the problem.

The bullying returned with her return to school.  More alarming is that the school administrators refuse to do anything to intervene or to end the situation.  REFUSED!!  Brittany snapped at her aggressor(s), and SHE got expelled!!!  There’s nothing right with this case.  The aggressor(s) are getting away with nearly causing someone to kill herself.  The Principal is guilty of neglect at the very least.  Zero tolerance.

So, here’s a call to action!  Since the school in unable to assist Brittany, perhaps taking the story to the media will make them change their mind.  Here are a few of the media outlets in Brittany’s immediate area:  the Huber Heights Courier; WKEF ABC22; WHIO-TV( http://www.whiotv.com); and, the online news link http://www.topix.com/city/huber-heights-oh

LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!!!  Let’s make sure that Brittany and Crystal Tucker knows that they are not alone in this battle.
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Never Quit

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One of the tools necessary for combating this escalating epidemic of bullying and teen suicides is to report every incident.  If your teen is being victimized by bullying, it is imperative that it’s reported immediately.  We’ve learned that, unfortunately, oft-times reporting it to school officials is fruitless.  With the increased and increasing awareness, however, that climate is bound to change.  Regardless, if the immediate school official(s) fail to act, immediately and decisively, then it’s important to go over their head and onto the next level of administrators.  Repeat the process as many times as is necessary to get satisfactory results.  If your own child isn’t being victimized but you and/or your child knows of someone who IS, it’s still just as important.  Adopt a policy of “zero tolerance”.

The statistics for gay teen bullying are staggering.  It’s reported that 9 out of 10 LGBT teens have been bullied because of their orientation.  Nine out of ten!  The report doesn’t even give a statistic for how many of that 90% goes on to commit suicide.  Any number over zero is too many.

But, what if the bullying is occurring at home?  What if the child or teen is being victimized by their own family?  What if the LGBT teen has the misfortune of being born into an intolerant, non-supportive, unaccepting family?  There are ways to deal with that, as well.  Identifying the situation can be hard, but it’s doable.  Knowing your teens’ friends helps.  Being supportive of an at-risk youth can go a very long way.

Remember what’s at stake:  saving young lives.

Written by Ron Kemp

December 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Another Bullycide: Rest in Peace Mason Carter – Age 13

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It’s coming to the point where everyday when you look at your computer screen, there’s yet another story about a young teen ending his/her life because of bullying.  Today is no different.
Mason Carter was 13 years old.  Just 13.  Life hadn’t even begun to unfold for him.  Now, it’s over.  According the Mason’s step-father, he’s positive that bullying played a huge factor in his stepson’s suicide.  Mason was an Honor Roll student and “a brilliant kid”, according to his stepfather.  Tuesday, he was found with a .45 caliber Glock nearby, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
It’s not enough to continue the dialogue about ending the epidemic of bullying and the teen suicides it often leads to.  What’s needed at this very moment in our history is iron-clad action.  We need a plan.  We need action.  Talking about changing things is not working.  Legislating it will do little, although tougher laws and definitive penalties are needed.  It is my strong opinion that we need a total re-education, starting with the adults.  What are we teaching our kids, directly or indirectly, when far too many of them feel that it’s totally ok for them to treat other fellow human beings with such malice and disregard that the victim feel their only recourse, their only escape is to end their lives?
For those who haven’t realized it yet, we’re in crisis mode.  The carnage is piling up by the day.  The time to take action is now.  Sadly, taking action now won’t return Mason Carter to his family and friends.
May you rest in peace, Mason.

Written by Ron Kemp

December 15, 2011 at 6:24 am

MORE Jonah Madness!!!

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At some point, you have to say “enough”.  ENOUGH!!!  I’ve said this several times previously, and the events of last night simply proved my point.  Ok, let’s set the record straight once and for all:  This isn’t just about Jonah Mowry!

Jonah Mowry is a wonderful, courageous 14-year-old boy.  Four months ago, he bravely recorded a video exposing his pure fear and pain from being a gay teen, from having been bullied, and from having to face a new school year with only one of his closest friends.  It was a heart wrenching video.  And, the world — THE WORLD!! — responded!  In overabundance.  Far, far too many people made this issue all about Jonah rather than the real issue at hand.  See, the true message of that first video was “yeah, I’m scared.  Yeah, this hurts.  But, I’m gonna make it.  I’m gonna be alright.”  And, according to most of the responses I read, most people missed the fine print.  Okay, so fine.  Put Jonah’s face on the cover if you must. Make Jonah the poster boy.  But, never lose sight of the fact that there are literally millions of Jonahs out there RIGHT NOW who need that same support.  This isn’t just about Jonah Mowry.

From the frenzy created by the release of that first video earlier this month, no less that 130 “support” pages for Jonah popped up on facebook.  One of them, “Jonah Mowry, we support you”, was prominently featured on a national news broadcast!!  Right there on the green screen, anyone who watched that broadcast or the subsequent repostings of it could clearly see where all the action was.  Free publicity!  The page reached a “membership” of over 36,000!!!! Better yet, more that 40,000 people were “talking about it”, which carries a lot of weight on facebook.  Young people were going there to express their kinship with Jonah.  Perfect.  That’s what it was supposed to be about.  Former bullies were going there to express their remorse for having put people like Jonah through that and vowing to never do it again.  PERFECT!!  That’s what it was supposed to be about.

Last night, the creator of the page blew it up!  Gutted it.  Vanished.  The reason?  Well, I’ll keep that under my own hat.  No sense in fanning that flame.  Not only was the page blown up, in its final moments he lashed out verbally at Jonah, posting things that I didn’t get the chance to see.  However, from what I understand, and according to some of the reactions that I did get the chance to read, it was really harsh.  I’m not going to speculate.  Again, no sense in fanning that flame.

The real tragedy of it is that the focus was lost.  It’s what I’ve been trying to get across.  See, I know from first-hand experience that this issue of bullying, violence against gay teens, and gay teen suicide is nothing new at all and certainly was NEVER just about Jonah.  Far too many people wanted to make this Jonah’s struggle.  It never was.  Now, the hundreds, maybe thousands!, of young people – from both ends of the bully spectrum – have been alienated.  In the end, the page became a mockery of Jonah, himself.  In a culture that was already fragile at best, this is reprehensible.  Daily, there were teens like Jonah who were posting how they could relate to him because, as one boy put it, “we are the same”.  Conversely, as one former bully put it “watching your video made me momentarily hate myself”.  Watching Jonah’s video made him feel remorse for his actions.  And, there were others expressing the same sentiment.  They all found comfort there.  And, with comfort comes healing.  And, from the healing comes growth.  That process was stunted last night.

“Jonah Mowry, we support you” is no more.  That’s sad.  However, out of the ruins has emerged the support group Global Bully Awareness.  And, this one isn’t about Jonah or any one person in particular.  Rather, it focuses on the issue at hand:  bullying and it’s effects.  It has quickly grown to 392 “members”.  That’s a little more that 1% of what was in the original community.  Hopefully, it won’t take too long to get those numbers back up.  It’s about reaching out.  It’s about providing a safe place for at-risk youth to come and comfortably voice their concerns and issues.  It’s about trying to save lives.  Click the link.  “Like” the page.  Then, share it.  There are lives in the balance.

Written by Ron Kemp

December 14, 2011 at 8:33 am

Rest In Peace Ben Lewis 11/19/2011 (15 year old victim of bullying)

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The prayer is that someday, SOMEDAY!!, these headlines will disappear.  Fifteen year old Ben Lewis, of Lincoln, Nebraska took as much bullying as he could handle.  On November 19th, the bullying claimed his young life.  Say a prayer for his devastated family.  Then, get involved.  In your own way, to whatever extent you can afford, get involved.  This HAS to end!!!  Every state in the Union needs to examine and re-examine their anti-bullying laws, make them strong and all-encompassing, then ENFORCE them!!!  That these young people to get away with pushing another human being to their death with impunity is absolutely an issue that needs to be re-examined.  Rest in Peace young Ben Lewis.

Why It Matters to Me

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welcome-to-portsmouthTwelve years old.  I’m on vacation in a little rural city named Portsmouth, VA.  My aunt, with whom I was spending the summer, prearranged with her friend and neighbor to have her friend’s nephew also visit from out-of-state at the same time.  Built-in companions.  Little did my aunt know that I would become very attracted to this boy.  Sure, we certainly did hang out together nearly every minute of every day!  I was mesmerized by him.

One summer afternoon, we were over his [aunt’s] house shooting pool in the basement.  This was the most exciting time of the entire vacation for me!!  My heart-throb and I were alone together at last!!  Who cared who would win the match!?  I just wanted to be alone with him.  Eventually, I got close enough to sneak a kiss on the cheek!  I was in Heaven.  He was furious!  Needless to say, that slammed the brakes on our friendship.  Stopped on a dime.

I went on with my summer vacation sans my former heart-throb.  I’m resilient like that.  We never uttered another single word to one another, as badly as I wanted to.  He met all new friends.  They weren’t the kind of kids I would hang around.  Riding my bike merrily down a neighborhood street on blazing summer afternoon, I spot my former friend at the other end of the street riding his bike towards me.  And, he was with his new friends….the ones I would never hang around.  My gut instinct told me that this wasn’t going to be a friendly encounter.  I had no idea how right that instinct was.

As we met in the middle of the block, one of the boys knocked me off of my bike.  It was downhill from there.  Quickly, I was surrounded by the pack as they proceeded to beat the holy shit out of me!!!  At one point, the biggest of the boys had my head locked between his knees, using his knees as a vice grip!, as he delivered blow after blow after bloody blow to my face.  Eventually, I was rescued, and the gay bashing was over.

Nothing about me was ever the same after that summer.  Whereas it didn’t lead me to suicide (told you I was resilient!), it forever changed everything about how I view life.  There are emotional scars left even today. (to wit, my eyes teared as I wrote this recount)It matters to me because I’ve been there.

It matters to me because it’s either costing lives or leaving a lifetime of emotional destruction in its wake.  It matters to me because this kind of brutal, animalistic behavior MUST end!!

Taking Steps to Prevent Bullying

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Bullying has been identified as one of the major contributors to gay teen and teen (in general) suicide.  Certainly, the latest rash of teen and gay teen suicides have named bullying as such.  So, maybe the issue is to catch the situation before it becomes an irreversible issue.  Do YOU know what to look for?  Would you know how to identify if your son or daughter is being bullied?  My next several entries will be providing very valuable information on how to recognize the signs before it’s too late.The Bullying Report is a 44-page free downloadable book full of good information.  Get yours now!!