When words kill

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

All rights reserved © 2012, 2019 Louis Antonio Abate, D.C.

The senseless and tragic death of Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, has left me feeling raw, hollow, angry and extremely sad.

Tyler took his own life after his roommate posted to the internet intimate sexual encounters between Tyler and another man.  Tyler’s suicide was one in 6 over the past several weeks since school started. All of the children who committed suicide did so as a result of cyber-bullying.  The more I read the more I fell into sadness, depression, and anger.  6 children gone in 3 weeks, 12 over the last few months, all to bullying.

When I was younger I was the target of bullies.  Many lived adjacent to us, or just a few houses away. As a twin we were already different.  Add to that a strong Italian, catholic family who valued homework over hanging out, academics over athletics, and math over malls.  Just walking to and from school was a nightmare.  Once in school, thankfully we didn’t have to hear the taunts and jeers of the bullies; but when the bell rang at 2:30pm I began to sweat, get nauseous, and plan out a dozen different ways to get home without seeing someone who wanted to punch me in the face just because I was different.

Our parents told us to ignore them, that they would get tired and leave us alone. One halloween, while walking home from 6th grade the bullies attacked with eggs and shaving cream. I followed my parents advice and tried to ignore them. “Ignore them, Louis, you are better than they are” was my mantra as I was getting pelted with eggs and doused in shaving cream. I thought “they will see it doesn’t bother me and will leave me alone.” All it did was make sure they continued until I got to our driveway. I certainly didn’t feel like I was better than anyone after that.