Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person physical or mental abuse. Everyday someone is bullied by an individual or group in school, through social media websites, at the workplace, relationships, even by family members. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. Sadly, It seems as though the number steadily increases and shows no signs of slowing down. According to statistics reported by ABC News, “nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of the fear of bullying”. One of those many victims was 16 year old Martin Horner.
Horner was a smart, well rounded, talented teenager who loved music. He would showcase his talent by posting videos on Youtube. Unfortunately, his classmates used the videos as a reason to bully Horner on a every day basis. After tolerating the physical and mental abuse for years, Horner had made a fatal decision. Horner hanged himself in his bedroom. His parents discovered his body and a message he wrote in the dust on his window “‘The darkness ahead is not what you imagine”. His mother, Marj Hamlett-Hughes, stated “he had suffered severe bullying’ throughout his life thanks to his small size and his love of playing music”. His father recalled the interaction between himself and Horner, two days prior to his death ” He turned round and gave me a hug as he was leaving the house, almost as if he had made up his mind to end it all’.
During the court case to determine whether bullying lead Horner to commit suicide, the coroner stated bullying was not the reason for his death. He admits the bullying occurred but Horner developed a thick skin and suffered from low esteem resulting from personal issues he dealt with regarding his appearance and talent. Mrs Hamlett-Hughes angrily replied “It was not just his size and his singing, they would pick up on something and see his reaction, he was seen as an easy target, he was a sensitive kid. They would take his bag, throw it down the corridor or in a tree, they would take his lunch and do the same. They’d rip his blazer too, they would pick on anything and everything as long as he gave a reaction, it was physical, mental and cyber. The coroner said the bullying had stopped – that’s not right, he just lost faith in the system to report it because nothing was being done. They had also forced him to delete a number of YouTube videos of himself performing by posting abusive comments on them”.
She closed her argument with “People need to know what bullying can lead to. It can lead to self-harm, it can lead to suicide. People need to be made aware of how words can hurt, it is no longer sticks and stones rhyme, these names can hurt. Bullying is a 24-hour thing now, kids can’t escape it, it needs to be stopped”.