What is Bullying? An Audrey Niblo Award Article

By Stephanie Doheny

Features Editor

Audrey Niblo was a member of Theta Phi Alpha Sorority at Sacred Heart University. After her untimely passing during her sophomore year, ‘Spectrum’ began a campaign in her honor, to bring to light the many issues of bullying and the effects it can have on someone. Those who knew her said she always had high spirits and a positive outlook on life.

“What inspired me most about Audrey was her kindness and positive outlook on everything. We could all be feeling down about something or being negative and she would just say something that would lift our spirits and make us all happy,” said junior Brianna Rauchfuss, Executive Vice President of Theta Phi Alpha. “She made you want to have a more positive outlook on life.”

Anyone who knew Audrey continually says the same. She radiated energy and always tried to make sure those around her were smiling.

“I was President of Theta Phi when Audrey passed away and she was such an amazing person. I felt honored to have known her. Her smile always brightened up chapter events and she was ready and willing to do anything she could for us,” said senior Tessa Kielbasa. “We miss her all the time and with the anniversary of her passing coming up, we are trying to keep her memory alive.”

So what exactly is bullying? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines bullying as follows: “abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc.” Is that all bullying is though? Is that the only way to describe bullying? When asking students what the word bullying meant to them, they responded in different but also similar ways.

“I see a bully as someone who intends to harm others as a way to make themselves feel better,” said senior Connor Sivacek, a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

“The word bullying, to me, means something very sad. It is picking on someone’s uniqueness and what makes them special. It’s something that saddens me and that I hope can one day be eliminated,” said Rauchfuss.

According to stopbullying.org, “Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school.”

“It’s a serious issue and people brush over it as if it’s something that can’t be changed,” said Sivacek.

The topic of bullying can sometimes be overlooked. Many girls can remember being told if a boy bullied her, it meant he had a crush on her. But that is abuse. That’s not love.

Children are told bullying is wrong and if it happens, they are seemingly told that things will just eventually get better or that the bully is only picking on you because they are insecure about themselves.

“To see bullying decline in today’s society would mean a lot. Bullying leads to so many horrible things like self harm or even suicide. Putting an end to bullying will make our society so much better,” said junior Timothy McIntosh, a Division 1 volleyball player.

Bullying is not something that can simply be explained by a dictionary definition. A person’s experience and story are what truly explains bullying. No one will ever have the same exact experience as another, but by sharing experiences and advocating for ways to end bullying, the world would be changed for the better.

Audrey embodies what it means to grow from a horrible expereince. Instead of dwelling on it, she turned her pain into power and used it to inspire others – including all of us at ‘Spectrum.’

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