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Bullying

Blog posts with a category of Bullying.

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Shining a Spotlight on Domestic Violence

By Kevin Sendi, New Oakland Executive Director

Throughout humankind, those in power have always exploited those with less,  whether it’s strong nations attacking the weak; owners and bosses abusing those beneath them, or men physically overpowering the so-called “Weaker sex.”

Along those lines, the hot topic of late has been NFL running back Ray Rice delivering a one punch, Tysonesque knockout of his then fiance, Janay, in an

Janay Rice

Atlantic City casino elevator. Janay may have enticed, angered or even hit him first. But in a civilized society, there’s no justification for a man to use superior strength to blast his wife into next week. A month later, after defending him staunchly, Janay married Rice.

After seeing a video of Rice dragging Janay off the elevator,  the NFL suspended him a mere 2 games, an act that speaks volumes about the pervasive plague of men exerting physical and emotional dominance over women and downplaying it for any number of reasons. (i.e, “she asked for it.”) The NFL received withering rebukes for the soft sentence.

In a hurried response, the NFL upped domestic violence to a 6 game suspension,  and then, only after the video of the punch was released by the gossip site TMZ, did they suspend Rice indefinitely.

Abuse of women is much worse elsewhere in the world than it is in modern, civilized societies like ours where for centuries brave women have fought for equal voting rights, fertility rights, work place equality and many other fundamental rights issues. But it’s of no consolation that women in Africa and Muslim women worldwide continue to suffer socially accepted atrocities like genital mutilation,  wear masks and body cover and being denied basic education. Do the men in these societies suffer from a collective mental illness? Or are they simply deluded by old-world religious taboos? The answer to both appears to be “Yes.”

Sadly, many anti-women taboos remain in the U.S., religious and otherwise, that deny women their hard fought rights to contraception, abortion, and overall subjugation to men. Societal contradictions die hard, and men resorting to violence against women  is a psychosis that may never go away.

The physical violence, like the left hook that left his supposed loved one unconscious,  is most alarming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls sexual and intimate partner violence a substantial “public health burden.” Continue reading

Two brave teens shine a light on depression

 

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By David Harris, MD and New Oakland Medical Director

Don’t be disillusioned: It’s tough out there. And that goes for everybody, even those who seem to have it all. I go back to the opening page of M. Scott Peck’s self-help classic, The Road Less Traveled:

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”  M. Scott Peck

Unfortunately, for those with untreated depression, the road becomes much bumpier and dangerous.

I bring this up to applaud two brave teenagers from Community High School in Ann Arbor, Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld. Both young ladies are aspiring Tdep3
journalists and suffer from depression, and after one saw a bottle of Prozac in the other one’s purse at journalism conference, they openly discussed their feelings and use of antidepressants. But when they interviewed fellow students and wanted to bring their discovery into the open, they ran into a roadblock. The two then wrote about it in a op ed article in the New York Times.

As editors at our high school newspaper we decided to fight against the stigma and proposed devoting a whole edition to personal stories from our peers who were suffering from mental illness. We wanted honesty with no anonymity.

We knew that discussing mental health in this way would be edgy, even for our progressive community in Michigan. We interviewed teenagers from around our school district who shared stories of depression, eating disorders, homelessness, prescription abuse, insomnia and anxiety. All agreed to attach their full name — no anonymity or pseudonyms.

But we were shocked when the school administration would not allow us to publish the articles.” Continue reading

IMG_1342By Martha Adair, Therapist, Director, New Oakland

Are Facebook and other social media sites immensely popular because of society’s growing inability to communicate well face-to-face, or, do they fill a void because peoplesm1 have fewer opportunities to communicate face-to-face?

This is the old, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg” argument played out in the wildly pervasive social media explosion.

We need answers and solutions, because, at worst, our children are getting bullied, and at best, are still wasting huge chunks of time caught up in the fascination, addiction and dangers of social media.

At a recent meeting New Oakland had the Warren Consolidated School System, middle school Principal Shaun Greene-Beebee said, “80% of the problems we have with our students stem directly from social media.”

Think of that: 80% of problems in our schools are attributed to something that didn’t even exist less than a decade ago!

Many students become hopelessly distracted by the constant flow of text messages, Facebook posts and Instagram photos. In fact, Greene-Beebee told of two seventh grade girls, straight-A students in fact, who were suspended for “sexting” naked pictures of themselves.

I’ll take a wild leap that the boys on the receiving end may have lost their teacher’s train of thought on the root causes of World War II.

So, we know we have a problem, but who is to blame? Mark Zuckerberg? The kids themselves? Or, is it us, the parents? Continue reading

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