Posted by: joshjasper | May 5, 2010

Rest In Peace Lisa

A candlelight vigil took place last night in Dubuque, IA.  for freshman, Lisa Simon, 15,  after her suicide last week.  Lisa was found dead in her bedroom from an apparent overdose.  Eight fellow students are now facing charges for driving Lisa to her untimely death.   The charges – which come after months of complaints that the bullies weren’t being punished – include a violation of civil rights with bodily injury, criminal harassment, and stalking.

Lisa was born and raised in Dubuque, IA., and leaves behind her parents and two younger siblings.  Lisa was active in the community, volunteering her time for a local dance marathon team that benefits the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, and was a member of the high school softball team.  She loved the outdoors and aspired to become a nurse.

The investigation revealed relentless activity directed toward Lisa designed to humiliate her and to make it impossible for her to remain at school.  Her parents reported to authorities that they had contacted the school numerous times pleading with school officials to put an end to the bullying.  Students reported that Lisa was often isolated from her peers, teased endlessly, and was often called a “whore” and a “bitch.”  Records revealed that Lisa’s Facebook page was littered with insults from hundreds of her “friends.”  One such comment read as follows: “Why don’t you just kill yourself, no one likes you bitch.”   
 
Lisa Simon is not a real person.  The bullying that takes place in EVERY single school, in EVERY city across America, EVERYday, is real though.  One of our violence prevention educators was telling me last week about a presentation he gave about bullying and how a young man approached him after the presentation to share that he was thinking about killing himself due to the daily harassment he was receiving from his peers. 
 
Please tell me that it does not require one of our own to be killed before our community bands together to end this senseless violence.  We need to start teaching young boys and girls how to effectively express their feelings.  Putting someone down because you don’t feel good about yourself or because of the pressure felt from peers to be tough, strong, and controlling, can no longer be the standard operating procedure.    The cost is too great.  We must demand that this behavior ends immediately.  Bullies need to know that this behavior will not be tolerated.  And I’m not talking about just in schools, but in the workplace, amongst our friends, and online as well. 
 
Lisa is your daughter, she’s your granddaughter, your sister, and she’s your neighbor across the street.  Honor her memory with your committment to end bullying and harassment. 
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Responses

  1. I experienced bullying like this while I attended college in Dubuque. It was after I had been assaulted. But it was my fault I was suicidal, right? I deserved it all… Yea… that’s what I’ve been telling myself for many years.. and I’m wrong! In fact… I was forced to sign a contract that said I wouldn’t talk about anything that I was going through or anything that happened. I couldn’t talk to professors or anything. Luckily I transferred to a supportive campus and have had the support of professors and peers to work through it all… and I’m well on my way too healing! After being told to be quiet for sooo long… I finally feel like I have a voice and was reassured at TAKE BACK THE NIGHT, that it’s ok to talk about it… People need to hear it and others need to know they’re not alone! They thought they were protecting me by keeping me quiet…. Yeah think again… It’s been 2 years and because you wanted to keep it all hush, hush and protect your image. I’m still experiencing the effects. I had to repress it, and feel ashamed, instead of dealing with it right then. Yes, I forgive you, its what Christians do…. but I’m in no way healed from that. Those were the worst 3 years of my College Career. I’m not afraid to share my thoughts anymore! Maybe the next time something happens, you’ll think about the well being of your students, instead of your image!

    Sorry, this post really triggered me. I’m a HUGE supported of Riverview Center though.. It’s done GREAT things for me!

  2. Julie,
    Thank you for speaking out! You are not alone! It is shameful that you were told to keep silent after what happened to you. I applaud you for seeking out help at Riverview and working on healing. It is a long, hard journey, but you are not alone and it is a journey worth taking. I apologize on behalf of the university for the way you were treated, and I want you to know that there are people speaking out to educate university faculty and staff on this issue. We, as a community, will not tolerate sexual violence!

    Best wishes,
    Melanie


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