The Cornwall Free News Anti-Bullying Series – Our Coverage from January 23 – February 23, 2012

The Cornwall Free News Anti-Bullying Series – Our Coverage from January 23 – February 23, 2012
Our local model, Ms Ashley Gaudet

CFN – Bullying.

bul·ly

   [bool-ee]  noun, plural -lies,verb, -lied, -ly·ing, adjective, interjection

noun

1.

a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habituallybadgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
That’s a good start.   Bullying has been in the news a lot; sadly the last few years.    A friend of mine, Comic and Actor Jason Stuart had a piece published here and on other media about his experiences being bullied.

I could have been Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi or any of the other teens that recently ended their young, precious lives. I grew up in the 1970s when being gay was still considered to be a mental illness by some. I would go to sleep hoping not to wake up, simply because I liked men. While much has changed over the last 30 years, feelings of isolation remain, much of it brought on by peers.

Like those boys and so many others, I was bullied in school. I guess my locker had some pheromone that attracted people that hated people that were somewhat different, because in the first week of 7th grade a kid scraped the word “fag” on my locker with something sharp like a pocket knife or a nail. Even though I could only see that word when I fumbled with the combination, the sadness and loneliness that the word made me feel lingered in the back of my mind every day of those horrific three years, a feeling that continued until I finally came out publicly on television in 1993. This one act and other daily forms of abuse by my classmates changed my life and my ability to learn and participate in friendships and relationships. The fear that I had because I was different was so strong it convinced me not to attend college; I was not prepared for what the repercussions might be if people knew I was gay.

When I was in my 30s and starting to act, I was completely guarded with my secret, convinced I had to suppress it and pretend it was non-existent. It was so detrimental to me that I only wanted to be with other “professional” actors, where I felt safe. Where I knew that as long as I was in this box of mine, life was going to be safer. “Just DON’T be yourself.” That’s what I believed and in doing so, I missed so many potential experiences and relationships that I will never know what could have been.

I regret not having the experience of going though the same things at the same time as my peers. Folks often say, “You can go to college now.” Of course, it wouldn’t be the same. I often travel to universities to do stand-up or lecture, and I learn so much just being around students, faculty and members of gay-straight alliances. Recently, after a performance, I had a good cry when I was back in my hotel because I had been in the presence of these students who are not afraid of being out and accepting who they are. It impressed me immensely.

When I was 21, I made a call to a suicide prevention lifeline because I realized I needed help. I was starting to have thoughts of suicide and I needed someone to stop me, to save my life. I began seeing a counselor after that, who I knew kept everything confidential, but even with my back to her chair, I sat there and lied that I was bi-sexual, uncomfortable to even speak the truth to a professional. It was too hard and I was afraid for my life.

Career-wise, I wanted to be an actor while some in the industry would say I was “too light in the loafers.” Memories of all these kids who beat me up and humiliated me all through school came back to me repeatedly in my early years of pursuing my career. Being afraid of people and re-learning how to trust them is a daily reminder of where and how far I have come.

Now I am an actor, a comedian and an advocate for equality. I have been able to get past my childhood and work in my chosen profession. I also have been able to give back to my community by being chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee and a mentor for LifeWorks, which supports LGBTQ youth between the ages of 12-24. I have also produced and performed in a comedy benefit for the past five years to raise money for these kids and to show them there is hope out there.

Doing service for others and accepting the support of others has been my way of healing. I have been able to overcome my feelings of not being “enough.” I came to realize that the thoughts in my head are just that and can go out as easily as they entered those many years ago. I can create a new life story by which to live my life. It’s 2010 and I don’t have to be that kid in the 1970s who was abused and suicidal anymore. I often wish I could take that kid by the hand and show him the life I have now and tell him, “It will get better. I’m someone. Someone with a life and someone that matters. Just like you do.”

Jason Stuart – Los Angeles California

Of course there are all forms of Bullying and to me Bullying is the end result of many things; most of which stem from fear, aggression, and what many call “the wolfpack” or “gang” because Bullies themselves tend to have been the victims of bullying; and only gain strength from the support of their groups and of course the silence of victims and bystanders.

These Cliques have to be smashed.  The only way to end the cycle of bullying prevalent in our society is to end it; and that won’t be easy.

Mitchell Wilson in Pickering

Phoebe Prince

15 Year Old Natasha MacBryde 

Courtney Brown of Nova Scotia

Kameron Jacobsen

There are many more sad stories out there.  The names above are just a small portion of the victims from 2011.   There are no easy solutions either; but we’re going to try and examine some.

It’s funny.  When I shared that I was starting this series there was some interesting local reaction.  A local photographer I’d asked to help and claimed he had no time decided to create his own Anti-Bullying project and another local paper did a front page spread!

It’s great to see how we can inspire others for a good and grave cause.

What we also will be doing is selling the t-shirts modeled by Ashley.    Proceeds are being shared out to the artist; John Lister, and we are will also be donating $1.00 per shirt to the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters for this first one as they are Ashley’s Charity of Choice, and we may branch out to other charities with the next round.

They are available locally at Island Ink Jet – 8 3rd Street West in Cornwall Ontario – corner of Pitt Street across from the Royal Bank.

This first batch of shirts is available in XL in either black or white.  We are securing another supplier and will be hoping to offer ladies shirts as well as other options.   You can can also place your order at the Island Ink Jet store if you need other sizes.

Island Inkjet

If you purchase a shirt and would like to share about your own experiences with gangs and bullies we would be happy to shoot some video and share it with our views.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aZ8fwBZTbY

And also from Ashley:

Bullying does not only affect someone’s childhood, it can follow them all threw there lives. Ultimatley it can affect the outcome of there future. That does not tend to manifest threw our minds when making fun of, or bullying someone. 

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The guilt and regret that comes with bullying can eat at you and make you feel terrible about your actions.

.

Being bullied is a sad, confusing and almost an embarassing feeling. It can make you feel you feel so small and powerless.

.

Speaking up and reaching out to others about bullying does not show any weakness, it infact shows strength and courage. 

If we can help one victim of bullying smile like Ashley as in the picture above then this series will be worth it.  If you wish you can comment below or contact us at info@cornwallfreenews.com or call our hotline at 613 361 1755

Over the next month leading to February 23rd Anti-Bullying Day we will cover a lot of ground from what makes Bullies tick to how  adults in business and politics bully each other and old habits percolate into our daily lives.

I know I’m learning a lot and I hope we can share our experiences with each other and help make our homes, towns, schools, and cities a better place.

You can also access some services out there.

www.kidshelpphone.ca  1 800 668 6868

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News

Special thanks to Jeff Brunet of Alkaline Entertainment for sponsoring the first batch of shirts!

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42 Comments on "The Cornwall Free News Anti-Bullying Series – Our Coverage from January 23 – February 23, 2012"

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tnpreacher555
Member
According to the above definition of a bully, each one of us has a built in bully called a conscience. The conscience is a God given warning light. That’s right a red warning light that warns us that one is violating God’s moral code written upon each of our hearts. Yes, we are created by God for God, and thus a built in bully, judge, arbitrator. Also the Bible speaks of what is called a Holy Spirit generated type bully called conviction of sin leading to repentance. The inward conscience can become more corrupted by misinformation and thereby become “seared”… Read more »
Furtz
Member

Strange that a publication would start an anti-bullying initiative and at the same time, let the preacher set up his bully-pulpit and preach the very garbage it claims to abhor. Fundamentalist religious groups are front and center in the fight against anti-bullying programs in schools throughout North America. Bullying is the reason for their existence.

PJ Robertson
Member

admin: The preacher’s post is very damaging to the discussion of a topic so sensitive and important as bullying. His rant – or what I take to be the gist of it – sounds grossly insulting to Jason Stuart and his experience of bullying, and by extension to all who experience bullying. The quote from St.Paul to the Romans included. Saul/St.Paul’s blind spots make him at best a shaky model for human compassion and understanding. His take on being gay, male or female, is prehistoric, and anyone who adopts it today is wilfully ignorant about human physiology, and culpably intolerant.

Furtz
Member

This is the only “progressive” web site that I know of that regularly allows hate speech in the comments. Hate disguised as religious preaching is hate none the less.

PJ Robertson
Member

admin: You are the editor, the moderator, the judge of what is acceptable as a post. I’m saying that coming from one who is looked up to as a figure of authority in society, the preacher’s post is grossly irresponsible and hurtful…if not outright hateful.

Where does one draw the line between intolerance and hate? I think Furtz has it right, “Hate disguised as religious preaching is hate the none the less.”

In which case, your call whether or not you allow hate speech on CFN.

To lighten this discussion, remember Vaclav Havel’s words: “Truth and love must prevail over hatred and lies.”

tnpreacher555
Member
Furtz – by what source of authority do you come up with your definition of hate speech? Supreme Court, present legislation, or what – what source? Or is it just thus sayeth Furzt? The definition of hate speech is so broad that even the Supreme court of Canada can’t come up with an answer, so don’t speak of this being hate speech, or that being hate speech, or being intolerance, when it just your opinion and according to your standard. Who died and left you to be God? John 8:31-36 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,… Read more »
Furtz
Member

Jamie, I have no interest in arguing with a filthy low-life hate-monger. I’m out of here.
Good luck with your anti-bullying efforts.
Over and out.

PJ Robertson
Member

Wise move, Furtz. A shame, though, to say the least, that a couple of bullying posts should kill a discussion of bullying.

tnpreacher555
Member
PJ Robertson writes – “couple of bullying posts”. So PJ, just like I asked Furtz, I ask you -“by what source of authority do you come up with your definition of hate speech? Supreme Court, present legislation, or what – what source? Or is it just thus sayeth PJ Robertson? The definition of hate speech is so broad that even the Supreme court of Canada can’t come up with an answer, so don’t speak of this being hate speech, or that being hate speech, or being intolerance, when it just your opinion and according to your standard”. a bully -“overbearing… Read more »
Mike Bedard
Member
If God is so powerful and great then why doesn’t he just eliminate the devil…..because he doesn’t exist and either does God! I am an atheist and I am sorry but believing in Jesus makes me feel like a 13 year boy believing in Santa Clause! There are too many descripencies between religions and their leaders. Just because its in writing doesn’t make it true and these religious leaders are bigger bullies then any other group alive. Heck, I am sure I will cast to hell by the preacher for my comments! You are not a good person because of… Read more »
Reg Coffey
Guest

Is this story about bullying or religious dogma? I am never offended by the Pastor’s comments because I never read them. You are the only person responsible for taking offense to a statement. If you don’t like it don’t read it. If he is not talking about you personally then chill out.

You will appear to be the stronger person….. if that is your concern.

PJ Robertson
Member

Fair enough, Reg. However, two points to consider here:

1. An important topic, bullying, was hijacked at the outset by the first post of a bully deploying religious dogma to attack a certain section of society.

2. You say, “If he is not talking about you personally then chill out.” What was the preacher’s last post if not a gratuitous personal attack?

CFN is going to lose out on thoughtful debate, if it continues to accept vicious posts from angry, demonstrably ignorant and incoherent posters.

Reg Coffey
Guest

We seem to have a lot of angry posts here.

Furtz
Member
One last word, if I may, before starting my self imposed permanent ban. Reg. To ignore hate-speech is to condone it. Damn right people get angry when they hear or read it. There are reasons why bullying has become such a wide-spread and profound problem, and your attitude re hate-speech is one of them. Jamie. As moderator of this site, you have failed badly. Enabling hate-speech is even worse than merely condoning it, as Reg does. It really makes me wonder what your motives are for jumping on the anti-bullying bandwagon. Constantly allowing the preacher to post his anti-gay diatribes… Read more »
PJ Robertson
Member

Sorry, Jamie and Reg. Furtz has it right.

Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you are free to give voice to hate, to hurt, to gratuitously attack, bully or insult.

Your anti-bullying series was hijacked at the start by an insulting, bullying, hurtful post grounded in ignorance masquerading as religious authority. Where’s the justice in defending either the post or its poster?

PJ Robertson
Member

What’s the point of moderating, then?

As to “lashing out”, hasn’t the preacher cornered the market in that? Or nearly…I can think of another obnoxious poster beginning with ‘s’.

PJ Robertson
Member

admin: For the record, if you read the posts above, you will see I neither attacked nor do I have any interest in attacking the preacher. That, first, it was HIS vile attack on gays that I took issue with. That, secondly, it was he who attacked me personally and gratuitously.

If moderation includes defending the indefensible, goodbye.

Jerry
Member

The Preacher is a dangerous man with his religious cut and paste tactics taken from his version of his edition of the bible. I agree with PJ that what the Preacher quotes is hate based and definitely bullying of those who disagree with his cut and pastes. Many wars are based on different interpretations of sopposed writings of some higher power. He is a bully. He is not entertaining … if you want entertainment then watch the comedy channel where they actually warn us about the content.

Iris Mclean
Member

I’ve been “lurking” on this site for a few months now. It’s pretty obvious to me that the administrator/owner/ moderator is a member of the Calvary Baptist Church. No legitimate web site would allow hate speech to be posted with such regularity.

Mike Bedard
Member
I personally always enjoy this web-site and find it entertaining even though it can get very personal “if you let it”….remember Jamie/Admin isn’t posting these comments we are! However, I think people in this post have a point! Preacher continuously attacks people in the media and this article is about eliminating bullying yet “Preacher just posted a comment that seems to do exactly what you is defined above on this very site: “bul·ly 1.a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habituallybadgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.” I didn’t see preacher as being a bully, at first, but I after reading… Read more »
Richard Komorowski
Member
Jamie, you seem to have painted yourself into a corner with this one. Everyone who reads CFN knows you’re against bullying, and that you’ve always actively supported free speech. Well, now’s the time to do something concrete to stop the bullying, rather than just writing about it or selling T-Shirts. You have the opportunity to do something that the rest only wish we could, but we don’t have a delete key for Newton’s rants. You do. “Pastor” Tom needs to be banned from this website, because it gives him the audience he craves. If he wants to incite hatred, let… Read more »
Furtz
Member
This is all so sad as well as ironic, that this conversation even has to take place in the comments section of an article that deals with the problem of bullying. Unfortunately, it seems that Jamie has made up his mind to allow the preacher to continue bullying and spreading hate on his site. It makes a sick joke of the original story. I am glad to see that there are a few others, far more articulate than I, who agree with me. I’m also glad that there are plenty of other well moderated (preacher free) sites where ideas can… Read more »
Furtz
Member

“And Furtz your John Milnes disease is not flattering.”
Huh? OK, whatever.
Bye

Eric
Member
I miss the posts from Mr. John Milnes, didn’t always agree, but respect him for his points of view. Richard K”s addition of the of the First they came for the communists saying (warning) needs to propel people towards helping make society better, as a group. I am looking forward to reading more on this issue and causes since it is a long time since I dealt with a bully. Back then you could stand your ground and deliver a blow or chop that most times would stop a next time from happening. Of course violence is not the answer,… Read more »
Iris Mclean
Member

I see that the most offensive part of Pastor Newton’s first post has been edited out. Why would that be necessary on a site that is dedicated to free speech?

tnpreacher555
Member

I see why Mr.Richard Komorowski did not get edited – he pays the bills. It is all about who pays the bills – right! Free speech can be bought and paid for on CFN. Should of known!

Iris Mclean
Member

Just as an observer, it appears to me that the hate speech was edited out of Pastor Newton’s post because so many people strongly objected to it. Much like closing the barn door after the horses escape. Lots of unnecessary anger and hurt feelings all caused by single post. To me looks like Pastor Newton is the poison, and publishing his comments is drinking that poison. I would like to know Ashley Gaudet’s and Jason Stuart’s thoughts after they read a full and unedited transcript of all the comments. Would that be possible?

Destructo
Member

This entire thread is pointless, and should be edited….

Furtz
Member

That’s right Jamie. It’s not about bills or money. It’s about common decency and blocking hate-speech, neither of which are high priorities for you. Carry on.

Furtz
Member

Just a heads up Jamie. Because you chose to sh!t on me on this forum and in private emails, I will be spending a bit of time over the next few day contacting the businesses that are advertised on your site. My question to them will be simple and something like this. Why would you want your business advertised on, or associated with a publication or website that regularly publishes and defends hate speech? There are hundreds of cached preacher posts for them to read. It will be interesting to hear their responses.

Iris Mclean
Member

It appears that Pastor Newton’s original unedited anti-gay comment offended Furtz, as it would anybody concerned with bullying issues. Unfortunately, because his objections were treated with such disdain by the administrator, the anger level escalated sharply. Other commenters, including myself agreed strongly with Furtz that hurtful or hateful speech should not be tolerated, especially on a site that claims to be concerned about our widespread bullying problem. It’s a shame, really, because this site will soon not attract any intelligent and thoughtful people if it continues to publish and defend hate speech. Just my two cents.

Ed
Member

Wow! This is a discussion gone wrong.
That first comment must have been nasty.

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