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Rebecca Marino Leaves Professional Tennis: A Story of Cyber-Bullying
“Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the -SAFE foundation:
- Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
- More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.
- Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
- Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.
The Harford County Examiner reported similarly concerning cyber bullying statistics:
- Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying
- Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim
- Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement
- 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
- About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others
- Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying”
Those, my friends, are alarming statistics. True, all statistics can be manipulated to serve a purpose, but I think most of us see those figures and nod our heads in agreement.
But they are just statistics, right? Just words on the screen, somewhat meaningless unless we give a face to them.
Meet Rebecca Marino, ex-professional tennis player from Canada.
Rebecca Talks About Leaving Tennis
Be a part of the solution
THE REALITY OF THOSE STATISTICS
Ms. Marino recently retired from professional tennis at the age of 22. Lest you think she retired because she had no future in that demanding sport, be advised that at the time of her retirement she was ranked #38 in the world.
So why did this six-foot beauty and world-class athlete suddenly toss away years of training and sacrifice when she was in her athletic prime?
It seems that Rebecca has been the victim of cyber-bullying for quite a few years now, and the bullying led to a depression so bad that there were days she could not find the energy to get out of bed and get herself dressed.
“Why don’t you just die?”
“Why don’t you kill yourself?”
“You are so ugly!”
“You are a terrible player!”
“Go burn in hell!”
How long do you think you could battle those negative messages? Rebecca has battled depression now for six years, even taking a full year off of the tennis circuit to deal with the negative consequences of these attacks on her character.
Imagine all the years spent following your dream. You start swinging a tennis racket at an early age. You find joy in doing something well, and the thrill of competition flows through your blood. When you are a child you have visions of one day playing against the best in the world, and finally there you are in Center Court, and all of those long years of hard work have paid off, and you……..
have to give it all up because of the vileness of people who need an outlet for their frustrations and hatred.
Rebecca summed it up by saying, “You know, there’s that saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’ But that’s not true. Names definitely hurt. Words hurt."
Marino vs Williams
TIME TO WALK AWAY
There will be those who will say that Rebecca is being too sensitive. Ridiculous of course, but there is no shortage of ignorant people in the world. Rebecca was simply being human. How long can any of us receive demeaning, hateful messages before it affects us? How many times can we be called hurtful names before we begin to believe those lies?
As a teacher for many years, I can attest to the pain caused by bullying. I have seen kids reduced to tears and I have seen kids refuse to attend school because of the bullies who awaited them on the playground and in the classroom. Amazingly I have seen the parents of the bullies defend their children as “just being kids.”
Now we have a new form of bullying. We might call it the ultimate platform for cowards because cyber-bullying does not require the bully to face their victim. They can just anonymously spew hate and then go about their lives unscathed by their actions.
Do hateful remarks hurt less when delivered over the internet? Of course not! Bullying is bullying whether it is presented in person or through the relatively-safe platforms of Twitter or Facebook. Cyber-bullying is an attack on the character of another human being. There is no other way to describe it, and it causes damage and it must be recognized and stopped.
My thoughts on bullying
- Anti-Bullying: Making A Stand As A Community
Bullying is a worldwide problem, and have been around seemingly forever. In order to stop it, each citizen must be willing to do their part.
FOR REBECCA IT IS TOO LATE
Rebecca Marino has returned to her family in Vancouver, and she will be entering college to pursue a degree. Her depression is better now and she has a life ahead of her, but that life will not include professional tennis.
It would be simple to chalk one up in the win column for those cowards who ridiculed Rebecca, but the truth is that they are the losers in this story. Rebecca is surrounded by the love of her family, and she will go on and find new happiness outside of the tennis world. For those who felt the need to belittle her, though, there can be no true happiness for them.
You see, bullying is the act of an insecure, frightened human being who needs to cause suffering in order to hide the fact that they are miserable. With each new act of bullying, the hidden truth is further revealed, that in the heart and soul of a bully lies a deep pool of unhappiness and discontent. Bullying may temporarily mask this fact, but nothing will make it permanently go away.
Yes, Rebecca, you are only human, and as such this writer wishes you all the happiness that you deserve.
As for those who have tried to drag you down, I feel only sorrow.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)