Music & Culture
“Bully”: A Voice for Victims of Bullying
Written by T.M. Gaouette | March 30, 2012
Bullying is a very serious problem in schools today. We’ve discussed it often here on PI, including how it has led to young children taking their own lives.
In a new film titled Bully, director Lee Hirsch will present an eye-opening documentary about the tragic realities of bullying.
The film follows five young victims of bullying throughout a school year, focusing primarily on 12-year old Alex. The film also includes the stories of two families whose children have committed suicide. With rare access to classrooms, cafeterias and school buses, Hirsch shows the truth behind bullying and the unspeakable pain these young children face, all while their parents struggle for a solution.
Below is the trailer:
If you found the preview disturbing, well, imagine what the film has to offer. In fact, the finished piece was considered inappropriate for young children and rated R because of its “crude language.” The irony is that young children, the subject of Bully, have to endure crude language every day in school, as demonstrated in this documentary. If you think an R-rating is ridiculous, you’re not the only one.
A grassroots organization launched by Katy Butler, a Michigan student and bully victim, petitioned to have the R-rating removed via change.org. Butler felt that an R-rating would prohibit access to those who would most benefit from watching the documentary. Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep supported the movement, and now the film will be released “unrated.”
Hirsch, a victim of bullying himself, feels this documentary is a long time coming. In a recent interview with TakePart, he reveals,
It was extraordinary to me that in the universe of documentary film, in which multiple subjects had been revisited hundreds of times, there wasn’t much about bullying. And yet it was such a common experience amongst people, not just in America but everywhere, that I felt like there was a compelling need for the film. I thought the film would connect with a lot of people who hadn’t had a voice before.
If you’re interested in helping, watch Bully, pray about it, talk to your parents, talk to your friends. Find out how you can be a friend or an advocate to bullied kids at your school. Remember that strength is in numbers, so if you’re part of a group of friends, welcome a bullied child into your group and be a real friend.
There’s so much loneliness, insecurity and sadness in the hearts of bullied children. Alex is one of millions. One day when you’re a parent, he could be your child. We as Christians have a responsibility to show love and compassion. By showing these sentiments to a victim of bullying, you could make a huge impact. You could change a life. You could make a friend.
I think the power of this campaign is that you can walk away from seeing this film and say, I’m going to be out there in an empathetic way; I’m going to look for opportunities to make a difference in the life of someone who is being bullied. At the end of the day, that’s what our hope is (Lee Hirsch).
Bully will be released in theaters on March 30.
Are you planning on watching Bully? Are there bullies in your school?