Did you know the word moxie comes from a brand of soft drink marketed as a nerve tonic? Just a bit of trivia from yours truly! Uh-huh! Giveaway info at the bottom of this post.
I am thrilled to be included in the Speak Out Against blog tour. The lovely gals over at Moxie Writers, Susan Oloier (my Write On pal) and Rebecca Green Gasper want to make folks aware of bullying and the violence that can arise with teen dating. Their books are about these super important topics. I asked them both some questions about their books and about these very serious subjects.
Susan, how did you come to write your book, Outcast? And for Rebecca, the same question. How was your story, Break from You born?
Susan: Thanks for being a part of the tour, Robyn. We really appreciate you using your voice and your blog to speak out. I wrote Outcast eleven years ago. In fact, it was my very first novel. I was the victim of bullying in junior high and high school. So it was a subject that was very close to home for me.
Rebecca: Robyn, thank you so much for hosting us during the Speak Out Against Book Tour. Break From You started with a dream about a fire and a cowboy, and another element I can’t tell you about because it will give away the book. I know- a dream- very clique, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Eventually the idea developed into a story about dating abuse and became Brooke’s story. I did a lot of research about dating abuse, abusers, and victims.
Do you both find that bullying is on the rise even though more teens are aware of it?
Susan: I think awareness of the issue is on the rise. In the past, bullying was considered a right of passage, part of “growing up.” I believe social media has contributed to the awareness. In the past, bullying happened during lunch time or in the high school hallways or locker rooms—and it still does happen there. But now people can bully in more insidious ways—through Facebook or texting. I think there have always been bystanders. And those are the people who really need to speak up. We’re a long way away from resolving the issues.
Rebecca: I don’t necessarily think that bullying is on the rise as much as I think that it is more severe. I feel that bullying is more intense with the increase of technology and social networking. Pictures, words, rumors, etc. can be sent to millions in seconds. I also think that parents, teachers, and administrators are in denial of the severity of bullying.
Do we know the characteristics of bullies?
Rebecca: Bullying is defined as the use of strength- either physical, verbal, or emotional- to intimidate someone to force them to do what he/she wants. A bully can be anyone: any size, any looks, any gender, etc.
Susan: I agree with Rebecca. There’s no stereotypical profile that fits the bully like we’ve seen in many 1980s movies like The Karate Kid—big, burly, always popular. However, there are some things that may contribute to bullying behavior, such as witnessing aggressive behaviors at home (physical and/or verbal) and lacking empathy for others. Bullies may also be individuals who are also victims of bullying themselves. I have seen this first hand.
Are there any statistics on how often teens actually see someone in their schools being bullied?
Rebecca: According to the bullyproject.org over 13 million kids will be bullied this year. Over 1 million kids will be absent from school because they feel unsafe at school.
How should someone react if they’re bullied?
Susan: I believe silence is your enemy. It’s important to tell friends, family, or someone you trust if you’re being bullied or if you’re the victim of violence. There is strength in numbers, which often works to the bully’s advantage. If, as a victim, you can stack the numbers on your side—telling trusted adults or friends who can help advocate for you—then you’re in a much better position than being alone. If there is no one in your immediate circle to turn to, there are always online organizations willing to help. No matter how much it seems like you are alone, you’re not.
I was shocked at this stat: One-in-five between the ages of 13 and 14 say their friends are victims of dating violence, such as getting struck, hit or slapped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, and nearly half of all tweens in relationships say they know friends who are verbally abused. What can we as a society do to stop this?
Rebecca: The most important thing to do is raise awareness on this devastating issue and to encourage schools to recognize the issue as a priority and develop programs against abuse.
Are there any stats that answer the question of whether or not videos like Amanda Todd's really help turn bullies away from bullying or turn them toward bullying? Do videos like hers stop kids from wanting to commit suicide because of bullying or do these videos make suicide even more desirable?
Rebecca: I had the opportunity to walk with the Executive Director from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this past September at the Out of the Darkness walk. We had amazing conversation, and one of the things that came up was a discussion on the power of the internet. He said they had no idea if certain events increased suicides across the nation because of the internet and how wide of an audience videos, stories etc. can reach. It was unclear if they caused suicide epidemics or not, where once, without internet, they could pinpoint those things. Personally I think stories like Amanda's should be shared because it helps raise awareness.
Susan: As far as actual research and statistics: so far, we couldn’t find any. But it’s definitely food for thought.
Thank you so much for your insightful questions and for hosting us on your blog today.
I loved having you guys over today. I would have offered you chocolate, but I ate it all. *wink*
Noelle dreams of a different life, one where Trina Brockwell doesn’t exist. Trina has bullied Noelle since junior high. Now she’s tired of it. With the help of her black-sheep aunt and a defiant new classmate, Noelle seeks revenge. But vengeance comes with a price: Noelle risks friendship, her first love, and herself to get back at those who have wronged her.
Rebecca Green Gasper
Break from You
Love shouldn’t hurt this much…Brooke Myers wants to believe she has it all: the perfect guy, the perfect relationship, the perfect life. She wants to believe it so much that she's willing to overlook the fear, the isolation, and the pain her boyfriend has caused her. She knows it isn't right but tells herself that love isn't always easy. However, when a fire destroys the restaurant during homecoming dinner, she forms an instant bond with the boy who saves her, one her boyfriend wouldn’t like. With the pain of a concussion reminding her of how bad things can get, she is forced to re-evaluate the relationship she has with her boyfriend and face the ghosts that haunt her. Brooke once believed love was all it took…but is it enough? Is it truly love when you've lost yourself in it?
People! Buy their books and PLEASE do what you can to help STOP bullying. Talk, talk, talk, about this to anyone and everyone. Write your own stories and most of all SPREAD THE WORD, PEEPS!
And the giveaway with Rafflecopter!
And the giveaway with Rafflecopter!
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e88cb14/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's the Amanda Todd video in case you have not seen it. She committed suicide a month or so after making this. Let's do all we can to stop bullying. :(