Mia Speaks Out About Bullying
And Sings About Bullying and Teen Suicide in her song “Subtle as a Gunshot”
Recently I learned that Olivia Mae Scott, a sixteen-year-old student at the Mount Abraham Union High School in Bristol, Vermont, had been bullied. When she could no longer face the bullying, she committed suicide. This news sent chills down my spine. This could have been me.
When I lived in Northern Vermont I was bullied there. My tormentors were mostly girls, but they also included some boys. They wrote cruel messages about me on their own Facebook sites and sometimes on mine. They sent horrible texts on which they made racist comments. I was called all kind of names, and dreadful lies were told about me. Kids in school began to ridicule me as a result of the lies that were passed around online.
All of the bullying was beginning to take its toll on my grades and my self- esteem. Then, one day I heard on the news that Phoebe Prince, a high school student in Hadley, Massachusetts, had committed suicide after three months of intense bullying. I didn’t want that to be me, so I shared all of my anguish with my mother. About two weeks later my life was threatened. When I reported the threat to the school administrators, they didn’t believe me.
When describing the reactions of my tormentors to the accusation, one administrator said, “They looked at me with faces of pure innocence, so I knew that they weren’t guilty.” Years later I would recall his description and use the words, “Faces of pure innocence,” in a song in my album IN GOLDEN LIGHT. That song is “Subtle as a Gunshot,” and I wrote it as a protest against the failure of authorities to recognize and stem the tide of the bullying that causes so many students to take their own lives.
I was fortunate. When I told my mother that I could not attend a high school where the adults refused to protect me, she agreed. As a home schooled student I received a superb education rich in music and performance arts. Most importantly, I felt safe.
Years have passed since I was bullied. I’m making my music performance dreams come true. Yet recently some of my high school tormentors tried to bully me again. Fortunately, I am in a place in my life where I am immune to it. But four years ago I wasn’t, and many of you are not. Please, if you are bullied reach out to an adult that you trust – one who is willing to help you. You might need to talk to more than one adult, so don’t give up until someone listens and helps. Don’t feel that you are weak or soft if you can’t solve the problem yourself. If you need to talk to someone or want to seek advice, contact an anti-bullying site or telephone a helpline, like the ones below. Hotlines like these have been established because, believe it or not, you are not alone.
Call Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386
Especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning.