Rape Culture in Hispanic Communities

Teens holding handsYou will not find a single family sitcom that does not have at least one episode dedicated to “the talk.” The likelihood of flipping through the TV channels late at night and stumbling upon a scene of a teenager in 1980’s acid-wash jeans, having a heart-to-heart about the birds and the bees with their shoulder-padded parent, is much greater than your chance of being struck by lightning. The chances that this conversation would be taking place in a Hispanic household, though? Not so great.

In the Hispanic culture, discussing sex with your child is seen widely as taboo, or inappropriate. For many Hispanic youth, the uncomfortable acknowledgement of a transition from childhood to young adulthood is made only in the form of a short statement: be careful. These two simple words mean something too simple when told to a son; be careful not to get her pregnant. Yet when told to a daughter, their meaning changes drastically from advice to warning. For a Hispanic woman, ten cuidado often translates to, “Be careful… not to show too much. Be careful… not to give the wrong idea. Be careful… not to get raped.”

Sexual assault is an issue that affects innocent women across all cultures. In the United States, 1 in 5 women, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic, are sexually assaulted during their lifetime. The collection of behaviors and attitudes that encourage or allow for that staggering statistic to exist is referred to as rape culture.

There are specific challenges that Hispanic women face, which perpetuate rape culture and the rate of sexual assault. For example, while Hispanic women are not assaulted more frequently than non-Hispanic women, they are more likely to be assaulted by a spouse or intimate partner. In the Hispanic culture, a woman’s primary role is traditionally thought to be as the homemaker, a wife and a mother. There is nothing wrong with a woman choosing to devote all of her attention to her family. But the key word here is “choice.” According to the Women of Color Network, 8% of Latinas are sexually assaulted by a spouse or partner during their lifetime. In many of these situations, a woman will not seek help or report the assault, because there is so much pressure on Hispanic women to comply with their husbands, or with men in general.

As awful and inexcusable as sexual assault is, it does happen. So while the many causes that lead to sexual assault should still be addressed, it is also important the after-effects of sexual assault be addressed as well. Resources that offer counseling, medical and legal help to victims of sexual assault are important to one’s recovery. If it weren’t difficult enough for victims to seek out this type of assistance, (giving a testimony of a sexual assault forces the victim to experience the same emotional trauma all over again, a reason why 80% of all sexual assaults go unreported) language barriers pose additional headaches. “Many rape crisis centers do not have a Spanish-speaking advocate available,” says the Office of Victims of Crimes, “so the phrase ‘I’m sorry I don’t speak Spanish’ may be the only response many Spanish-speaking victims receive.” With 41 million native Spanish speakers living in the U.S. today, the demand for bilingual resource centers is great, and the supply of them is small.

The problem of sexual assault and rape culture, especially in Hispanic communities, is present, and goes far beyond this article. And though a solution will not come overnight, countering rape culture can begin with informing each other on the importance of consent, with teaching young men not to rape, instead of teaching young women not to get raped, and with making victims feel brave and supported when they decide to share their experiences with sexual assault, not judged or blamed. This topic of conversation is not pleasant, and it is not comfortable. But if I have learned anything from sitcom episodes about “the talk,” is that healthy, open discourse usually ends in understanding, improvement, and the applause of a live studio audience.

Are Sororities Right For Me?

Before coming to college I thought sororities were not as inclusive with Latinas. How could I, a black haired, brown eyed, tan skinned girl, who would never be caught wearing anything other than sweat pants and sneakers, fit in with a bunch of sorority girls? Plus, weren’t sororities for girls with bad grades, who liked to drink and party? Yeah, not for me. But as it turns out, sorority and fraternity life is available to people of all backgrounds. Here at the University of Texas at Austin, I got involved with Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Señoritas Latinas en Action (SLA), and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Now, for those of you chicas who are soon to be freshman and don’t quite understand what a sorority is, here’s a quick overview as described by Ball State University:

–      A group of women formed by sisterhood and common goals and aspirations;

–      Who make a commitment to each other for life;

–      Who share in their efforts, friendship and knowledge;

–      Who grow, learn, and together make the Greek Letter Organization.

These common goals shape the foundation of a sorority, but each sorority is different with a unique vibe and dynamic.

While attending Adeleante, a university sponsored event aimed to promote Latino based clubs and organizations, I was getting ready to leave when I was stopped in my tracks by loud stomping and chanting. I turned around to find a group of girls “Strolling” on stage, dancing, stepping, and yelling their hearts out as they recited their sororities goals and values. It looked like so much fun and I felt such admiration for what they stood for that I decided to stay a few more minutes. As they stepped off stage, I watched as they walked towards their booth and in a matter of seconds I was standing there, too. While the show they put on was spectacular, I realized that although they seemed like great girls they just didn’t seem like the group for me. So, again, I decided sororities weren’t for me. I was completely done, UNTIL… I was called over by a girl with blue hair, and another dressed like the next CEO of Microsoft, and another who was dressed in gym shorts and a t-shirt, like me! Speaking with them for just a few minutes felt like I had known them all my life. That day I met my sisters, my best friends, and even some of my current roommates. I soon came to find out how Latina sororities are not like white sororities. We are loud and proud of our Latina heritage. We have cookouts, we stroll, we educate others of the different cultures, we participate in events that serve our community, and, when you feel alone and far away from your loved ones, we are a second home away from home.

While being in a sorority was the best choice for some, including myself, it’s not for everyone — and that’s okay! Keep in mind that not every sorority is the same, it’s important to review your options. Pick a sorority that builds you up, and brings out the best of you. When I told my friends I wanted to join a sorority, the first thing they told me was “don’t let them change you.” However, a good sorority WILL change you. They won’t change who you are. They will change how you are for the better. In your areas of strength they will make you confident. In your areas of weakness they will provide a safe place for growth, a hand to hold when you need guidance, and continuous support throughout your journey. You can make your experience a stereotype or you can use it to build a strong foundation for your future. That is every individual’s choice.

If you do join a sorority, you are most likely to meet a group of girls that will leave a mark in your heart for a lifetime. Sisters is not a word taken lightly. And I promise you that even after you graduate. When everyone goes back home and you are miles and miles apart, there will be snapchats and groupme notifications 24/7. There will be random trips to visit each other, and there will be tons of beautiful memories and a bond so strong that can never be forgotten.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so either, Wendy Mejia, Biomedical Engineering graduate from 2015,  says: “SLA prepared me as a leader in the work force. I owe my success in my career so far to my sisterhood; holding office as president developed my leadership and management skills that are essential in a start up environment. Being in a sorority holds many negative stigmas, however, SLA is one of the best choices I made as an undergraduate. Not to mention, I found my best friend through SLA, who I never would have met other wise.”

To find out more about your school’s sororities, visit your Student Affairs office (or website) and go to back-to-school events. Most school’s host welcoming events for greek life (sororities and fraternities) alone.

East Los High and Latinx Visibility in Hollywood

EastLosHighKey

East Los High is a teen drama series that first aired on Hulu in 2013 and has since had three very successful seasons. This show, which is meant to take place at East Los Angeles High School and its surrounding neighborhoods, has been compared to other popular teen dramas such as Degrassi andGlee. However, East Los High is different from these shows in that it focuses on the lives of Latinx teens. In fact, one of the writers and directors, Carlos Portugal, specifies that one of the goals in creating this show was to portray real-life situations that impact teens in east Los Angeles.

In order to accurately represent the Latinx teen community in east Los Angeles, the majority of the show’s cast is Latinx identifying, which is a very rare feature for Hollywood productions. It is so often the case that the majority of TV show and movie cast members in the U.S. are white. In fact, according to a recent study, only about 5% of actors in Hollywood identify as Latinx. Many believe that people of color as a whole have been poorly represented in Hollywood, which is evident in other studies as well, which suggest that Black, Asian, and Native American actors also fill a fairly small percentage of roles in Hollywood.

 

On the subject of Latinx visibility and representation in Hollywood, however, 19-year-old college student, Miriam Myers has this to say: “When I think of Latinx representation… the first thing that comes to mind is telenovelas, or other shows where the females are cast into roles that fall into a common stereotype… So even though there may be some visibility for Latinx people in Hollywood, the issue is that there is a certain type of visibility. Those that are most visible, I would argue, are those that fit the mold.” It is clear that Miriam considers this casting trend in Hollywood a problem because she, a Mexican-American identifying person herself, knows that the Latinx community has so much more to offer.

 

The creators of East Los High take pride in the fact that, once you get past the soap opera-like drama that usually attracts viewers, what you have is a show performed by actors who actually identify as Latinx and who are portraying real-life situations that impact underrepresented teens in East LA. The show covers topics such as immigration rights, financial troubles, ethnic discrimination, sexuality, and also makes use of Spanglish and bilingual dialogue. Miriam believes that it is valuable for young adults to have a true-to-life show such as this. Viewers can watch the show and say, ‘Hey, that character is totally like my mom, brother, friend, or myself!’ You don’t get that very often… [and] the fact that East Los High incorporates bilingual dialogue makes the show seem more believable… the show is giving Spanglish a sort of visibility that hasn’t has such a strong presence…”

It is clear that East Los High is a show aiming to break down barriers in Hollywood, and four seasons in, we can tell that those behind the shows are succeeding. Danielle Vega, one of East Los High’s cast members, while discussing the show’s success in an interview, was quoted to have said, “I think that Hollywood is finally starting to get it!” By saying this, Vega is implying that Hollywood is starting to realize that there is value in accurately representing the diverse cultures in this country. Miriam agrees with Vega, saying, “The fact that there are casts made up mostly of Latinx-identifying actors, or of people of color in general, is a huge step forward… Hollywood has made progress, that’s for sure. But that does not mean that the work is finished.” Working to increase Latinx visibility is certainly key at this point. It isn’t necessarily right that the Latinx community has had to overcome limitations and stereotypes in Hollywood, but it is amazingly empowering to see the Latinx leaders in the TV and movie industries overcome the odds.

How to Motivate Yourself

Girl writing

Written by Kristy Brewster

Trying to find motivation is kind of like trying to find buried treasure– it’s a little difficult. Actually, it’s VERY difficult. At least for me, anyway. I’ve always had trouble with motivation—probably because I’m a little lazy by nature. So, if motivation is something you struggle with, too, here’s a little information that I learned from one of my psychology professors at the University of Texas-Austin.

Replace “should” with “could.”
The word “should” saps motivation because it takes away your autonomy. Autonomy is what you have when you hold the ability to make your own decisions. The word “could” maximizes autonomy and, thus, increases motivation. Saying “I could study” instead of “I should study” makes it more likely that you will end up studying because you are making that decision for yourself and for what you believe to be in your best interest. Try to keep “shoulds” for moral imperatives. For example, “I should not kill someone.” Yes, you probably should not do that.

Have goals that are meaningful to you.
Invest yourself in your goals. Let’s say that you still have some studying to do for an upcoming exam. If learning is more important to you than making an A, reframe your goal so that it reflects this. Remind yourself that you are studying because you want to learn as much as you can from your class.

Keep your eyes on the prize.
What’s the prize? Do you want to become a doctor? Do you want to write novels for a living? Remember what you want and always keep it in the back of your mind. This will help get you through the most mundane of tasks.

Think about what YOU want.
Choose your own goals and toss everybody else’s ideas out of the window. You’re not going to be very motivated if you’re working towards someone else’s dream for you. Are you majoring in engineering because that’s what you want or because that’s what your parents want? Remember, no “shoulds.” Instead of thinking I “should” have a more realistic job, ask yourself:What would I do if I “could” do anything?

Have days where you schedule nothing.
Burnout is real. It’s totally okay to have a lazy day every now and then. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, having a day where you have no responsibilities allows you to recharge and go into your next work day with more motivation.

There you go! Hopefully you find these tips helpful—they’ve definitely helped me. See if they work for you and then let me know what you think in the comments. Good luck!

Female Led Blogs Worth Checking Out

latina girl on computer

The beauty of the internet is that it serves as a platform to give everyone who has access to it a voice. While there is many negativity throughout the internet, here are a few Latina/Female run-blogs that need more exposure.

Feminist Culture (feministculture.com)

Feminist Culture was started by teen feminist Alexis Moncada in March 2015. The blog accepts contributions from everyone who submits an article. The writers post articles, book suggestions, videos, and other media sources discussing every feminist issue as Moncada’s goal is to make the site as inclusive as possible through intersectional feminism.

LatinxForChange (latinxs4change.blogspot.com/)

This blog is a small time blog with contributing writers from all around. The blog addresses all kinds of issues concerning Latinxs such as racism, culture politics, and change. This is a very new blog and it is worth the read. One of my school friends occasionally submits her own articles and poetry to the blog.

Natalie Sylverster (nataliasylvester.com/blog/)

Sylvester is a more of a personal blog. Sylvester shares her experiences as a fiction writer and freelance journalist. This blog is definitely for the bookworks. Sylvester released her first book Chasing the Sun back in June 2014. Definitely check out this blog if you’re in for a laugh.

Dulce Candy (dulcecandy.com/)

Dulce Candy is a fashion and beauty blog created by Latina YouTube vlogger Dulce Tejada. Tejada posts daily her Outfit of the Day along with helpful information about where she bought her outfits and such. Even if you’re not into fashion and beauty, the blog is very aesthetically pleasing.

 

DIY – Emoji Jar

PicsArt

written by Ana-Paola Perez

This Jar is perfect for a gift to give a friend,or even for yourself! All you need is a small jar, yellow paint, sharpies (color depends on the emoji you want to make), a paint brush, and a stencil of the emoji you’d like to make.

  1. You can start by adding paint to the inside of the jar. You can either move the paint inside by simply moving and rotating the paint. You can also just use a paint brush to speed up the process.
  2. Then, use a stencil to make the face. To make the stencil just print or trace the emoji and cut out the eyes, mouth and accessories.
  3. Tape the stencil to the jar and begin coloring inside the stencil with the sharpies.
  4. When the stencil is removed you can clean the edges by lining it.
  5.  When the yellow paint is dry you can put anything inside like pencils, pens, scissors, make up brushes, money or change, or even flowers for decor. It’s super easy and fun to make.

What to Expect When Starting College

College: the next big step you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s different, exciting, stressful, but also beautiful. It’s where you will start learning about yourself and the world. You will discover people that are like you, experience things you never thought you would, but will also more than likely be scared during the process. Don’t worry, chica, I got you. These are the three top things I wish someone would have told me when I started college.

Peer Pressure
Movies, social media, memes, and shows portray the average college life to be full of drinking and partying, but that isn’t always the case. Yes, you will be asked to go out, and you should once in a while, but never feel like you have to. Never feel that to be accepted you need to drink and be this crazy party animal. There are many college students, including me, who prefer to stay in on a Saturday night to watch a movie while enjoying the company of friends. You will be surprised to know that the older you get, the more you prefer to have little gatherings with friends than to be this super-wild-let’s-go-out-all-the-time person. Don’t believe what movies portray. College isn’t about partying.

Classes and Social Life
When I started college I thought it was great that I only had a class twice a week. I told myself I would make straight A’s, study a couple of hours, and then head out to Chipotle with my girls. Yeah, keeping up with classes was ridiculous. College classes are completely different from high school, especially when you’re a freshman. Most of your classes will have 50 or more people, your professor might not ever know your name, and they don’t remind you when something is due. Because of these new classes and the new environment, it’s easy for freshman to lose track of time. Academic probation happens more frequently than you think. Don’t worry though; it’s not the end of world and it’s simple to fix. In order to avoid academic probation, first and foremost: stay on top of your classes! Go to class, do your homework, study, and use a planner. This planner will be your holy grail. Start by writing down the important due dates from the syllabus and calendar in your planner. Also, study groups, tutoring, and just seeing your professor during their office hours can come a long way. Your college wants to help you succeed, so take advantage of your resources. From professors to taking advantage of programs/resources, they will help you learn how to balance school work, work, and your social life.

Homesickness
In the beginning everyone is super excited to go out on his/her own and become their own person without mom or dad being in the way. Slowly, but surely, you will start to realize that you’re tired of dorm food, doing laundry on your own and even miss hearing your mom call your name from across the house. You guessed it: you’re homesick! I felt this drastically when I moved five hours away from home. I missed my mom’s home cooking, my annoying little siblings, and just the smell of my old home. This is totally normal! You’re not alone because everyone experiences this when they’re away from home for the first time. To help get over your homesickness, join a club,or a couple clubs, make it a hobby to learn your mother’s recipes, get into a new hobby, or try fun workout groups at your school’s gym. There are even clubs catered to Latinas or a specific activity (video games, music, cooking, writing, hiking, dancing, etc.). Being involved in school will help you take your mind off of being homesick — plus, you’ll be able to make more friends and have more fun!

College is scary, yes, but once you’re there and get a feel of things, you’ll feel right at home. Though there will be stress and frustrations along the road, the college experience is one you will cherish and hold sacred for the rest of your life.

Maximizing Your Summer Staycation

Summer vacation as a college student is quite different from summer vacation in grade school. It suddenly becomes taboo to spend your summer days waking up late, watching cartoons, and just goofing around. In college, the generic “have a great summer” yearbook greeting gives way to a slightly different email signoff: “Have a productive summer.” Your classmates may be blowing up your social media with posts about their summer internships in a big city, or with photos of foreign countries where they are studying abroad. If you, instead, find yourself back in your hometown for the summer, don’t fret. You will still have plenty of time and opportunities to experience a new place and to go off on your own adventures. Until then, here are five ways for you to make the most of your summer staycation!

1.       Free Summer Events

 The warm weather offers a perfect opportunity for cities to put on a myriad of outdoor public events. The best part is, they’re usually free! (Or, at least very affordable.) Be on the lookout in your local newspaper for outdoor screenings, concerts, or farmer’s markets. “There are a ton of great activities to take advantage of,” says Brittany Ochoa, a junior at Texas A&M University, spending the summer in her hometown of El Paso, TX. “I’ve gone to a few movies in the park, and the Let Freedom Ring concert series is always a go-to weekend outing for me.” While food and drinks will cost extra, you can always bring your own snack and just go for the show.

2.       Explore Your City

           Cities and towns are not static. They are always growing and changing. If you spend most of your year away at school, then chances are that not everything stayed the same while you were gone. Exercise that newfound independence of yours to explore your city. Grab a friend and venture out. Try a restaurant in a neighborhood that you never go to. Investigate what goes on in that building that has always caught your eye, but that you have always wondered about. This is the place of your origin story, learn more about it, and you might learn something about yourself along the way.

3.       Personal Project

 We all have that secret little book of ideas, whether it’s written on actual paper, or just kept in the back of your mind. You go off to college in hopes of pursuing your passions, but you don’t always get the opportunity to actually spend time practicing them. School, work, friends are all important and all worthwhile things to devote your time, but they can also get in the way of reading that book that’s been sitting on your shelf, or playing out that melody that’s been in your head. You are approaching a chapter in your life that is void of any free time, let alone a whole season full of it. Turn your attention for the next few months to a personal project. It can be anything you want, as long as it fulfills you.

For Ochoa, that project includes “experimenting with watercolors and photography,” which she posts on her own blog. Amanda Chacon, also an El Paso native and a junior at University of Texas at San Antonio, expresses a similar sentiment, claiming that “being home and not having classes to attend has also freed up a lot of my time for recreational activities that I typically don’t have the chance to participate in throughout the semester. I’ve gone climbing a lot more while at home, and even went skydiving a few weeks ago!” You don’t have to be as daring as Amanda, but definitely don’t be afraid to try your hand at something new. This is the perfect time! 

4.       Bond with Family and Friends

It’s called a hometown for a reason. You could be anywhere else right now, but you are here because this is where your family is. This is likely the place where you grew up, where you went to school, where you met some of your closest friends. Going off to school wasn’t just an adjustment for you, it was also an adjustment for your family. Spending time with them, and with your old friends, means catching up on all the little stories that you missed while you were away and sharing the exciting new things that you have learned and experiences while you were at college. Just a fair warning: bonding with your fam could result in increased homesickness when you ship out again in the fall, but it’s totally worth reconnecting to your culture and to your support system. 

5.       Reset

 Like the exhausted laptop that you leave powered on every second of every day, sometimes you just need to reset. Now is your chance to take a breather between semesters. You know those eight-hour nights of sleep that you’re always hearing about? Now you can actually see what the big fuss is about. Without those ghastly 8 am classes or late-night study sessions, you can actually get a decent amount of sleep at night (so don’t sabotage yourself by watching Netflix until dawn.) It’s also okay to take a day every now and then to do nothing. Remember: taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of business.

Career Spotlight: Mental Health Specialist

Lety GreeneCareer Spotlight

Name: Leticia Greene

Hometown: Veracruz,Mexico

Employer: US Army

Job Title: Mental Health Specialist

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I am primarily responsible for assisting with the management and treatment of inpatient mental health activities, and counsel clients/patients with personal, behavioral or psychological problems.

What is your educational background?
On the Civilian side I have B.A in Advertising and Design that I obtained from the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla.

On the Military side I completed my Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston,TX  in Mental Health Specialist, which is my Military Occupational Specialty 68X.

Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career:
My college experience was one of a kind. I studied in Puebla,Mexico, which was 3 hours away from home,Veracruz; therefore, I ended up moving to Puebla.

The reason why I chose a B.A in Advertising and Design is because my parents own a printing shop. I spent most of my childhood in that place. Actually, my mom told me that since I was 5 months she used to take me to her work. An interest in colors, texture, and design grew rapidly during my childhood. This led to informing my parents that I wanted to do something related to the business, photography and design. This career had it all, a combination of all my interests.

During the summer break of  2007, I had the opportunity to work at a Summer camp in upstate  New York. The fact that I was exposed to different people and cultures made me want to come back for more, and I did. After I graduated from college, I decided to go to New York as an Au Pair for a year, but I ended up staying for 4 years!

During those four years in New York, I studied English as a second language and Conversation and pronunciation courses at the Westchester Community College. When my level of English improved I decided to do something more challenging; for this reason, I did a couple of college courses in Multimedia Programming and Design at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. However, I wasn’t able to graduate because I chose to take advantage of the great opportunity to join the US Army.

My college experience wasn’t all in the classroom. College for me meant living on my own in a different city, different country, facing challenges on my own and mastering a second and a third language. The hardest part of college was being away from my family and friends, but the hard work and perseverance paid off.

How did you find your current job?
When I was in college in NY, a friend, whom had been recently recruited by the U.S. army and with knowledge of my Brazilian Portuguese skills, told me about theMilitary Accessions Vital for the National Interest (MAVNI) program in the US Army. MAVNI is a recruiting program that permits legal non-citizens who posses in-demand skills to join the Army in exchange for expedited U.S citizenship after graduating from ten weeks of Basic Combat Training or accepting a commission as Army Officers.

Luckily for me, a spot for Brazilian Portuguese was open. I took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and the The ACTFL, The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages,Oral Proficiency Interview, or OPI. The OPI is a live, 20-30 minute telephone conversation between a certified ACTFL tester and the candidate. I nailed both of them, I was admitted, and I decided that 68X Mental Health Specialist  was the best option for me.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
I trained in Fort Sam Houston as part of  Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in the US Army. The training consisted of 3 months of classes and physical training and 1 month of clinicals where you are assigned by groups to practice your skills and knowledge at a local hospital.

What do you like the most about your job?
Helping those with invisible wounds and the satisfaction of seeing patients overcoming problems that have interfered in their lives.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Being a Mental Health Specialist is a very mentally-emotionally charged career, where you’ll have to put yourself someone else’s shoes. No matter what, patient care is first; you have to give a 100% every day. You also have to be very attentive because you never know the outcome of a wrong sign with body language, and how the lack of undivided attention to someone can be terminal.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
This job is excellent for someone who really enjoys helping  others; someone who has a commitment to find different and creative approaches to help someone who needs to be listened or is having a hard time to communicate his/her needs. A job where you have to remain both compassionate and professional at the same time. However, it is also extremely rewarding when you realize that you actually help someone who probably was on the wrong route.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
When I’m not working I spend time with my new family in El Paso, my husband and my husky. I am a strong believer of dedicating quality time to those who you love and care about you. I love enjoy photography, baking, going to the movies, volunteering and working out.  I’m still working on making friends in El Paso area; it is not easy to make friends when you have different activities going on, but it is important to have a strong primary support group to rely on wherever you are.

Teens Give Advice on Bullying

Teens from our Latinitas – El Paso’s Teen Academy answer hot topic questions on bullying.

“My friend was being bullied because she was too dark. I didn’t know what to do since the boys didn’t really care when people confronted them. What do I do in this type of situation when the boys don’t listen?”

First, tell an adult. If the bullying is happening at school, tell a teacher. If it is happening in your neighborhood, tell a parent or guardian. Know that you are not being a tattle-tale by doing this; you are looking out for your friend. An adult will be able to stop the bullying if they see it happen. They can also speak to the bullies about why bullying is wrong and potentially get the bullies to stop bullying altogether. Second, let your friend know that you will be there for them if they need advice or just someone to talk to.

“One time I was pushed for no reason. They just wanted to bully me.”

Tell your mom. Your mom can speak to the parents of the kids that pushed you and is also a great resource to help you handle this type of situation. Also, tell yourself that you will be OK. You could even watch a Kid Present pep talk video on YouTube. Realize that this doesn’t have to get you down. Your attitude is everything. People only have the power to upset you if you let them. Lastly, don’t talk to the bullies. Sometimes silence is the best comeback you have. Being silent doesn’t mean that you’re not standing up for yourself, it tells yourself and the bullies that you are not going to stoop to their level.

 

“How can I get through bullying?”

Bullying is tough. Adults, teachers, and talk shows advise you to ignore the problem, but I know that it’s much much easier said than done. The good thing about bullying is that it’s based completely on falsehood. Anything that someone says to you that makes you feel inferior in any way is simply false. If bullying gets really bad or gets physical in any way, then definitely go to a parent or teacher for help. They have authority over your bullies and are in a better position to help you. But no matter how bad your case is, and no matter if you’ve already sought help, you still need to look yourself in the mirror and list all of your amazing traits. Pretend that you are in court, like a lawyer arguing against all the awful things your bully says about you. I’m positive the Judge would rule in your favor. Also, remember that bullies truly never do or say anything mean to you because they hate you. They do it because they hate themselves, and want to make everyone else feel small so that they will feel big. I promise you that it’s no lie. You’re awesome, remember that.

I recommend talking to an adult or a teacher. I know it’s hard to do that so if you need to take it slow, tell a friend. When you tell a friend they will probably support you and encourage your to tell an adult. Your friend can also defend you if they bullying is during school.

If you let them know that their words don’t hurt, then they wonder why bother? Be confident!