Sunday, April 28, 2013

Right the wrongs

Last June, a lot of media attention was given to Karen Klein, a bus monitor who was bullied by children on the bus.  Fourteen minutes of bullying was caught on video.  Seeing this video inspired people to donate money to Karen Klein.  She ended up with over $700,000, and she chose to create the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation.

What my friend said was, "Where's my money? I was bullied for a lot more than 14 minutes!"

He estimated that he was bullied at school 140 days a year for 2 hours each day for 7 years, and bullied at home by his brother 300 days a year for 2 hours a day for 7-8 years.  That comes to 1,960 hours of being bullied at school and 4,500 hours of being bullied at home, for a total of 6,460 hours of his childhood spent being bullied.

And that was all he mentioned in that context, but that's not the only suffering he has known.  He counted what his brother did to him as bullying.  But there was also the father who never approved of anything he did, who told him he didn't measure up to his older sister, who doled out physical punishment.

What doctors did to him when he was a young adult he doesn't say much about.  It was too traumatic to talk about.  There was something about a procedure which is usually done with anesthetic being done without anesthetic.  There was also something about them treating him as a freak, a spectacle.

There are the frequent migraines.  The knee joints that have hurt him since he was a toddler.  The two fingers that were hurt in two different injuries and have never been the same since.

But those are conventional medical problems that can sometimes be alleviated by medications.  They are nothing compared to the pain he experiences every day.  No clear diagnosis, though it's thought to be some sort of autoimmune disease.  Nothing to alleviate it.

People gave Karen Klein money because they felt she had suffered too much, because she deserved something good.  My friend too has suffered more than anyone should have to suffer.  The world is filled with people who have suffered bullying, harassment, intimidation, violence, illness, injury, and injustice.  How can we wrap them all in kindness? How can we right the wrongs?  I can't fix it all myself, but how can I be part of the solution? I help by being a friend to one person who has suffered. What else can I do? No one should have to suffer the things he has been through.

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