Tools and Resources
Bullying Victims Use Stories for Advocacy
For five years Alan Eisenberg was bullied.
Both physically and mentally, Eisenberg was attacked for his Jewish heritage, his last name and the emotional way he reacted to being bullied.
As a solution, Eisenberg would lengthen his walk home from school every day by taking a walk in the woods behind the school until everyone left in hopes of avoiding the bullies.
"I did it for several years and thought I was quite clever until a bully finally figured it out and met me at the top of the path," Eisenberg said.
Eisenberg, now an adult and video producer and director in Fairfax, Va., is still affected by the bullying that took place decades ago.
"I realize that I have some fears that linger due to the bullying," he said. "I also struggle with what I call Perceived Threat Syndrome, where I see situations as threatening when they are really not. This is due to the fact that the bullying damages 'fight or flight' reaction."
Self-doubt is another lasting effect of the bullying. "But, I have awareness of this as an adult and now try to turn the negative experience as a youth into a positive learning experience. I now try to help others."
Eisenberg shares this story and others on his blog Bullying Stories, which he started in May 2007.
"For me, [starting the blog] was both a cathartic experience and also one I wanted to do to show that adults still feel the effects of the bullying," he said. "By sharing my stories from an adult perspective, I felt I could help others that felt the same way. Little did I know that so many people felt the same and felt alone as adults that did not talk about it."
Dozens of others have joined Eisenberg on his blog by sharing their story of bullying.
He is also working on a documentary to tell his story and get the perspective of the people who bullied him with the goal of showing the long-term effects of bullying has on adults.
"I feel there is power in seeing real people dealing with real issues," he said.
A more advanced tool for bullies who take their harassment digital, the Internet has also served as an outlet for advocates who want to speak out against bullying and victims who want to share their stories.
Words Do Hurt, a Facebook page and YouTube account, started after a girl named Alye Pollock posted a video to YouTube in March explaining, through signs, how she'd been bullied.
"Not a day goes by without one of these words," one of her signs read."...fat...freak, ugly, weird...I'm in therapy/guidance more than my classes...Will high school get worse? HELP."
The video has been viewed more than half a million times and Pollock has been featured in media across the country.
Firecracker Films is also working on a documentary to bring individual bullying stories to the masses.
Set to air on MTV in January, the filmmakers are seeking contributions from bullying victims everywhere.
The documentary "will explore the universal experiences of young people across the globe who have fallen victim to bullying," said Christina Wilby, with Firecracker Films. "The plan is for the documentary to be filmed by the contributors themselves and will highlight their personal stories. This is very much the victim's story in the victim's own words. We are very much hoping to get in touch with victims from all over the world and so far have heard from children in countries such as Peru and India. It is important for us to get the message across that bullying is happening everywhere."