How can anyone in this world justify berating, belittling and threatening others for the choices they make, especially where their sexuality is concerned? Bullying is an epidemic, a plague on society, and it’s time we did more than give people false hope.

One year ago, headlines across the country were filled with what seemed like a different name every week. Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas, Harrison Chase Brown and Seth Walsh were all victims of extreme bullying that eventually lead to their suicides. The “It Gets Better Project” is a campaign that was created in the wake of their deaths to let those struggling with sexual identity around the world know that it gets better. But for one 14-year-old boy who told the world that it gets better, it turned out to be a lie.

Jamey Rodemeyer made a video for the “It Gets Better Project” where he told the world about anonymous messages people had left on his Formspring account such as “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it 🙂 it would make everyone WAY more happier.”
Despite the comment, Rodemeyer went on to tell everyone, “…it does get better because when I came out for being bi I got so much support from my friends and it made me feel so secure.”

That video was posted on May 4 and on Sept. 18 he hung himself in front of his parents’ house.

What type of evil and cruelty must live inside of someone who is capable of all but committing actual murder? In my opinion, bullies are the lowest form of human filth. If you’re a bully, I have a few choice words for you that I can’t share in this article.

When the “It Gets Better Project” started, I was an adamant supporter. After so many people had taken their lives because they felt alone, I thought that thousands of videos telling people that they weren’t was a fantastic idea. Even my favorite band, Rise Against, made a music video in collaboration with the “It Gets Better Project” for their song, “Make It Stop (September’s Children).” It directly addresses bullying with lines like, “And too much blood has flown from the wrists/Of the children shamed for those they chose to kiss.”

But the truth is that it’s not enough. The truth is that, while it may get better for a lot of individuals, the overall problem is getting far worse. We have to stop ignoring the pleas for help. We have to do more than the little that we have been doing.

If I had it my way there’d be a new campaign. We tried “It Gets Better.” How about if someone started up a program called “If You Bully, We’ll Find You”? Ambiguous enough I think, but the message is there. I’m not saying I condone violence, but anyone who has seen the video of Casey Heynes standing up for himself knows that it does produce results.

About a week before he committed suicide, Rodemeyer posted on his Tumblr, “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”

He asked the question and I wish I had had an answer for him. I honestly don’t know what it will take before people finally start listening.

What really makes me mad, though, is the fact that it’s 2011. This should not be an issue anymore. I don’t care what the bullying is about. I don’t care if it’s about sexuality, because someone is goth or because they’re fat; this should not be happening.

My heart weeps for the families that are left with questions when they are forced to bury their children. Should we be telling them that it gets better?