Oct 16, 2010

Murder By Bully: The Hot New Trend

Sladjana Vidovic.
If you don’t recognize the name, don’t wrack your brain too hard; she isn’t a spray-tanned bimbo toting a 2 ounce dog and she isn’t singing about burning a picture. Nonetheless, it turns out that it’s pretty important that you know her name. You see, she was a perfectly normal girl, one of thousands of nameless and faceless bullying victims, but her story is making headlines.
For now.

Sladjana Vidovic was 16-years-old in 2008 when she hung herself by tying one end of a rope to her bed, the other around her neck and then jumped out her bedroom window. This came after she endured a fatally full day of bullying at Mentor High School. Students reportedly mocked her Croatian accent, and called her names like 'Slutty Jana' or 'Slut-Jana-Vagina'. One boy reportedly pushed her down the stairs and another girl hit her in the face with a water bottle.

Now, I admit that sometimes I dismiss accounts of high school bullying with the words, “That’s life.” In this case, and quite a few more like it, it just pisses me off. Because in these cases, it’s the exact opposite of just life. And it’s not just that this poor girl felt that suicide was her only option. It was her murderers’ reactions:

Even at her funeral her family said they saw the girls who had tormented her, walk up to Sladjana's casket and laugh at her dead body.

In another version of this article, it revealed that not only was her little sister the one to have found her body, but can you imagine the entire grieving family having to endure their child’s tormentors walk up to the casket and laugh at her?
I make plenty of jokes here and there about violence, but I also only mean them maybe 8% of the time. This is one of those times. I can say with all honesty that if I had been that kid sister, I would have taken those arrogant, smug, worthless self-absorbed little bitches apart. With a hairbrush and my teeth. And people, it would entirely be worth being locked up for life--or possibly taken out by a SWAT team. Whichever.
Granted, I have a mildly psychotic reaction to people I care about being hurt. And by “mildly psychotic,” I mean my face turns red and I start looking around for all manner of objects to lodge in their spleen. Also perhaps something to set them afire with, just to break up the tedium of my attempts to wrench their head from their body and break all the major bones. So because I am a little sister myself (extended family counts), this story grinds on a nerve for me.

I don’t consider there to be any excuse for driving someone to suicide. For one thing, high school is rough. Bullies are everywhere. But the fact that it has come to this point, where the schools can not handle the situations, and repeated instances of parents not seeming to care, that points a spotlight on these tragedies. It has come to the point where advocacy groups are calling attention to these situations more than the parents--who, by the way, are the people who are supposed have the best interests of the kids at heart--and the kicker is that the advocacy groups are seeming to get more done and make a bigger impact. Parents, please. Stop fiddling while Rome burns.

Now, it's not really far-fetched to say that the bully-girls ought to be prosecuted. Protective parents extolling what limited virtues their little monsters have be damned--these little sociopaths killed someone and then displayed an alarming amount of glee about it.

So, what is the definition of Involuntary Manslaughter? Read on:
There are two types of involuntary manslaughter statutes: criminally negligent manslaughter and unlawful act manslaughter. Criminally negligent manslaughter occurs when death results from a high degree of negligence or recklessness. Modern criminal codes generally require a consciousness of risk and under some codes the absence of this element makes the offense a less serious Homicide.
Unlawful act manslaughter occurs when someone causes a death while committing or attempting to commit an unlawful act, usually a misdemeanor. Some states distinguish between conduct that is malum in se (bad in itself) and conduct that is malum prohibitum (bad because it is prohibited by law). Conduct that is malum in se is based on common-law definitions of crime; for example, an Assault and Battery could be classified as malum in se.
While Wikipedia is not the best source, I include this quote for the argument:
Constructive manslaughter is also referred to as ‘unlawful act’ manslaughter. It is based on the doctrine of constructive malice, whereby the malicious intent inherent in the commission of a crime is considered to apply to the consequences of that crime. It occurs when someone kills, without intent, in the course of committing an unlawful act. The malice involved in the crime is transferred to the killing, resulting in a charge of manslaughter.

Rachel (the future law student who can make sense of all this) remarks that the unlawful act was emotional torture, which resulted in this poor girl's death.

In addition, Criminally negligent manslaughter is another option:
Criminally Negligent manslaughter is variously referred to as criminally negligent homicide in the United States, gross negligence manslaughter in England and Wales. In Scotland and some Commonwealth of Nations jurisdictions the offense of culpable homicide might apply.
It occurs where death results from serious negligence, or, in some jurisdictions, serious recklessness. A high degree of negligence is required to warrant criminal liability. A related concept is that of willful blindness, which is where a defendant intentionally puts himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable.
Rachel remarks that Criminally Negligent Manslaughter appears to fit because mental, verbal and sometimes physical abuse should be classed as reckless. She goes on to say that if they can find corroboration for any physical abuse, that is assault, which is of course another unlawful act.

NOTE: Neither of us are legal experts or hold legal degrees. We are, however, concerned citizens that are more than a little pissed of that justice is being ignored. Rachel also points out that we found these two legal opportunities researching on the web for maybe 30 minutes, and it is probable that a legal professional could find other opportunities.

It’s not a secret that teens generally begin to consider their parents to be some kind of strange, totally lame oddments right around 13. They don’t tell them about their problems for a variety of reasons. They deal with peer pressure about everything under the sun--and I hate to be the one to tell you this, especially if you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade (welcome to the Internet, by the way): Mean Girls are trendy.
I could ramble on about how much I think Lindsay Lohan is a worthless twat, but I’m trying to stick to the point here. Mean Girls was shocking...to the parents. I’m pretty sure every teenage girl out there has had to deal with their own version of The Plastics at some point, which is probably part of what made the movie so popular.
And now we have a new TV series called Pretty Little Liars.
Interestingly, it’s based around the concept of a small group of girls and one dead mutual friend. The kicker? Her death may have been their fault. Somehow, it’s a hit.

For every bullied girl, it’s great to have a media escape where you can imagine being airbrushed perfection in itty bitty clothes. You get the guy, you ruin the Bitch Girl’s life...all in great fun set to a fabulous soundtrack. Self-esteem rises, you refuse to believe the trash people talk about you, blah blah blah, roll credits.

Here’s how it is in real life. The bullied girl probably won’t ever achieve airbrushed perfection because, hello, she’s human. The guy will end up being gay or a jerk. Or a gay jerk, you can never tell. The Bitch Girl will contract herpes and will either end up in a trailer park or in an upper middle class home with an upper middle class husband. It’s a pretty good bet that she won’t remember the bullied girl in 20 years. If she does, it’s because she showed up at the reunion with money, a tiny ass, and a raving desire to prove to everyone who could care less that she’s still wicked awesome.

And if you’re the Bitch Girl in real life, that high self-esteem is more like an over-inflated ego. Refusing to believe the “trash” people talk about you is denial about reality. Dismissing them as “haters” is so much easier than pausing and trying to objectively decide whether, say, driving another girl to suicide for the fun of it makes you a bad person or not.
Oh, and you’re probably not a size 00. And if you are, have fun with your eating disorder.* I’m sure that eroding your teeth with stomach acid definitely sets you aside from all the total losers who aren’t too lazy to actually work out...or just allow themselves to eat more than 300 calories a day so that they don’t collapse.

My point is, Mean Girls have been glorified. Sure, the Plastic Queen Bee is eventually derailed--but dang, didn’t Regina look cool the whole time? Oh, and the power she wielded! And she had lackeys! And in Pretty Little Liars, aren’t the Queen Bees so pretty! Much like how The Simpsons makes having little money and much stupidity seem charming, glorifying Mean Girls and their ilk makes bullying seem like a fun lark, filled with trendy clothes and totally awesome comebacks.

Every teenage girl’s dream: accolades, attention and minions.

And you know what makes the bullied girls watch these things in the media? Because in Scripted-Life Land, revenge is sweet--and justifiable, because the Bitch Girls always lose.
In real life, they just step it up.

Unfortunately, Sladjana paid a very big price for her tormentors’ ego-maniacal shenanigans. Her memory and the memories of all the others that share her story, including every gay student who has committed suicide because of being harassed endlessly, ought to be remembered by taking more of a stand against this kind of BS.

Because there is no excuse. So get up, do something. You might save a life.
And if you know of someone who is or may be a victim of bullying, please pass this on to them:

RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network)


And finally, if you are a victim of bullying, please do not harm yourself or take your life in response to the actions of petty morons. They are not worth it and there is help out there from people who have either been in your situation or will do their best to move heaven and earth for you.

And last but not least, please remember you are loved.

*I am aware that some people are naturally skinny. I am not referring to them in this post. I am referring to the girls who starve themselves or vomit in order to maintain a stick-thin little figure.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yeah I heard about that one. Got to... tell kids, it's not alright to bash people who are different, more. But kids are awful brats sometimes. Unacceptable.


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