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Teen Phoebe Prince Commits Suicide After Being Bullied

Violence Among Young Women Drops, But What About Bullying?

Most of us can remember the mean girls from our adolescence, and with the news we read today, it's not hard to think that bullying has taken a turn for the worse. However, statistics show the occurrence of violent injury by and toward girls is plummeting. Today's teens might not be beating each other up, but their actions have violent consequences as demonstrated by the high-profile suicide of Phoebe Prince, a bullied freshman at Massachusetts' South Hadley High School.

This week, prosecutors brought unprecedented charges against students who bullied 15-year-old Phoebe so much that she committed suicide in January. Her friends and family allege that the students repeatedly harassed Phoebe at school and with technology by sending hurtful texts and talking trash on Facebook. Her fellow students allegedly threatened her verbally and physically because she moved from Ireland and was involved briefly with guys whom other girls at the school liked. Now those teens have been charged with the felony of violation of civil rights with bodily injury resulting, and two young men also have been charged with statutory rape, presumably for having otherwise consensual sex with Phoebe.

Some spectators argue such bullying isn't confined to South Hadley High, but rather a phenomenon taking over US schools. Unlike bullies of days gone by, modern kids have technology at their disposal. The threat of digital abuse, including sexting, online cruelty, and digital disrespect, prompted MTV to launch a multiyear initiative to empower youth to it. As violence caused by young women goes down, youth are increasingly able to harm each other from afar. While I doubt young people will ever stop picking on each other, maybe the threat of serious consequences, mixed with some preventative action, can curtail the impact of Bullying 2.0.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
I was bullied from middle school to junior high, mostly from the boys. I tried talking to teachers about it, but they wouldn't help any. Only one teacher tried to help but could only do so much to protect me and it incurred more harassment from my peers. My parents tried talking with the principal. Nothing stopped. It got to be so over whelming that I started to cut myself to escape the pain. I considered suicide as well. It wasn't until I was sent home for my scars "disturbing my classmates" that the bullying slowed down. Graduation couldn't come fast enough. I have not seen any of my classmates since then, except maybe 2. And I was so overtaken with emotion at running into one of the bullying guys, that I ended up crying in my car for a good hour.
McMexican McMexican 7 years
I'm currently writing a theater piece on bullying and how cruel kids and teenagers can be to each other, and I'm looking to base it mostly on people's real stories. If anyone here has stories on the subject they'd be willing to share with me, I'd really appreciate it. Feel free to email me at
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
Bullies and the people who condone this behavior are sociopaths in my book.
soapbox soapbox 7 years
. I have an acquaintance who was a terrible bully in high school. He was a jock, and him and his friends would pick on this kid because he was smaller. He would literally torture this kid (makeshift gas chambers, beating verbal abuse, ect). I asked him why he ruined this kid's life and he said because "it was fun". He had absolutely no remorse. And I'm sure that these kids that bullied Phoebe have no remorse. I think the public should understand that when kids commit suicide in high school, a majority of the students don't care. When I was a sophomore in high school, a freshman shot himself because he was bullied to hell and back and I overheard a kid saying "At least there's one less person in this crowded hallway". High school in general just sickens me.
PureGrace PureGrace 7 years
The school and parents need to do something when they become aware of it. I was tortured by my classmates in junior high school for having a bad haircut. I was spit on daily, had the scraps from tech class chucked at me but the name calling was the worst. One incident happened in front a school official and all she did was laugh along. When I would go to the dean, they said I must be provoking it in some way. My mom kept going to the school but they did nothing. I remember seriously considering suicide right before school started up again because I felt I couldn't go through another year of that abuse and that no one was going to do anything to stop it. The bullying was painful but the inaction of the people supposedly in charge was the most unbearable part.
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