Saturday, September 27, 2014

Confused 4.28.14

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

We’re talking about bullying in my ninth grade class. I read about a girl, Felicia, who jumped in front of a train last year and killed herself. She slept with, like, 4 guys on the football team at a party. Then she said she was bullied. The newspapers said it was consensual sex. If it was consensual, how is that bullying? Just because they told on her? Why didn’t she just not get high or drunk or whatever and not have sex with 4 guys? I mean I feel bad for her cause she killed herself, but then I don’t feel bad for her cause she had sex with 4 guys. I mean, who does that? She had a “RIP Felicia” tattoo on her arm. So is she just-I don’t know-bad.

Signed,
Confused

Dear Confused,

It’s easy to be confused when someone commits suicide. It’s a final ending of a precious life. You may have loving friends and family who are truly committed to caring about you and all of your experiences (good or bad). You may have never been in a bullying or abusive situation (we hope not). You may have true confidence and feel a good sense of worth. We truly hope so, because if you are that blessed, it means you have an opportunity and a responsibility to be a good leader. What does that mean?

It means you may help someone else who is a victim. Felicia Garcia was a victim who told authorities and others that she was suffering continual bullying from several boys who had sex with her at the same time. That fact alone and her new behavior tell us that the “tough girl” was feeling vulnerable and wanted help. Apparently those boys felt no dishonor in what they did. Instead, they demonstrated their supposed superiority by publicly, horrifically and continually shaming her. Ask yourself if those four boys are perpetrators who took advantage of a 15-year-old classmate and ask yourself if she deserved it. Felicia’s parents died when she was young. She was put into the hands of an aunt whom she felt compelled to run away from over and over and then she was put into several foster care homes.

Felicia was also suffering from depression and taking medication for her mental illness (Mental illness isn’t any different than a broken leg but harder to treat). She also dated an older man. We don’t know if he was old enough to have committed a crime by having sex with her. It’s easy to be confused when newspapers report that Felicia’s sex was consensual. They failed to question if she was seduced or drugged. Another obvious question to ask is whether Felicia was taken advantage of? Especially when considering the odds against her were 4 boys to 1 girl. It’s easy to be confused with pseudo-confident people who cover up their pain with symbols like tattoos. Our guess is Felicia inked “RIP Felicia” because you couldn’t see her losses, her sense of not belonging, or her deep feelings (So deep that she couldn’t cry, as was reported, except in the days before her suicide) of abandonment and emptiness. So, how do you help someone who is so broken?

Be a courageous leader!

Help her to become a survivor by helping her to define herself in positive ways. The best way to teach her (and others like her) to define themselves is to be your best example. She is a child of God just like you. She is loved by God too. By your nurturing and loving example, she may learn that she doesn’t have to be tough exhibiting confidence. Stand up for civility! There’s no confusion about helping other girls to stand up and not become an object that can be toyed with.

Felicia was cruelly objectified when all she really wanted was to be loved. That’s a righteous desire. She was played with and didn’t learn that she’s a young lady who could have been treated with respect. She’s a daughter of God and thereby she’s a princess in His eyes. We applaud you for caring enough to take active steps towards making a difference in the lives of others. That is what matters the most. Our relationships matter the most… forever.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri







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