He sat on the edge of his bed, head bent low, fatigue creeping into every ounce his body.
What would it be like to wake up each morning, hop on the school bus and not be taunted? How would it feel to breeze through a day, well liked by classmates and never ridiculed?
For many kids, this is a conversation that is played in their heads over and over again. Being bullied is a traumatic, damaging experience for adolescents, teens and even college kids across the country.
For some, it ends in suicide.
Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days after learning that his Rutgers University roommate Dharun Ravi had announced on Twitter that he’d seen him “making out with a dude.” Ravi had also invited friends to watch Clementi on a date in their freshman dorm room. Last week, Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail for charges related to the cyber-bullying.
The best way to stop this kind of harassment is knowledge, awareness and education.
Orcas Center’s new play “The Butterfly Effect” is inspired by a worldwide movement of anti-bullying video messages and adapted from local stories. It was created as direct response to the “epidemic of gay teen suicides across the country,” says director Jake Perrine.
We are all different. It’s what makes the world such a thrilling, maddening place. When we can embrace and accept our differences, that is when hatred – in all its ugly forms – is wiped out.
Thank you to the brave islanders who shared their stories for “The Butterfly Effect.” Thank you to Orcas Center and the LGBT grant funding for this production.
If you think the islands are immune to bullying – you’re wrong. Take your friends, your spouse, your co-workers – but more importantly, your teenage kids – to the performances on June 1, 2 and 3. The production is rated PG-15. For more information about the play, see our Island Living cover on page 9.
To those young men and women who are hanging their heads in shame and silence, you are not alone. And we promise, it does get better.