Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Sister's Perspective on Bullying

I've said it many times: words have power, especially in the age of social media where those words can spread like fire for the whole world to see.  Now, I'm limited in my capacity to say how hurtful those words can be.  You can only learn how painful it is to be tormented by your peers through hearing personal stories like this one.  Here in my home state of Iowa, 14 year old freshman Kenneth Weishuhn told his community that he was gay.  His friends turned against him, and about a month later on April 14, he committed suicide.

Here is what his older sister Kayla had to say about her brother.

Think before you speak. Consider the fact that the person you're tearing down is a real, flesh-and-blood human being. They have feelings, and they need to feel loved just like anyone else.  And sometimes, when someone is surrounded by rejection from all sides, the love they still get from their family isn't enough to combat the pain.

People may say they didn't intend for things to go this far, but that doesn't change the fact that they did.  There are far too many stories like this one.  There's no longer any room for the excuse "Well, I didn't know it could end this way."  If you've ever read or seen the news, you know.  And believe me, caving in to the pressure to fit in right now won't drown out the regret you may feel later for hurting someone, even if it doesn't go as far as suicide.

Just think before you actively harm someone this way.  Say what you will, but know what can happen and ask "Is it worth this?"

This story, as well as the countless others like it, must remind us of what can go wrong.


  1. I truly hope that those bullies will feel lifelong regret for pushing that poor kid so far. It's stories like this that make me scared for our own children. Bullying has reached a scary new level in comparison to the torment we suffered through school.

    I don't care what a person's beliefs are. I have faith, too, but I believe that we are all children of the same universe. Just because two people of the same gender are in love, they aren't "jeopardizing" marriages or "destroying" our society. The people destroying society are the ignorant ones who push these innocent people to believe there is no solace except for death. It's heartbreaking.

  2. Hopefully the people who turned their backs on him will know never to make that mistake again. I worry about our children too, which I why I've been focusing so much on this problem lately. Maybe if kids learned to look past the pressure to be popular or elevate themselves over others, this issue wouldn't be so pervasive.

    People are who they are, and tormenting them for it only makes them hate themselves or feel alone. All bullying is bad, but it seems to be worse for kids who come out as gay because it's more acceptable to bash gay kids. Most people use the bible as their excuse. And sure, if someone believes being gay is wrong, fine, but I don't see how that gives them an excuse to torture people.

    If anything is destroying our society, it's this kind of rampant hatred we've been seeing. It needs to stop.