The below videos, via Upworthy, preview a CNN documentary called The Bully Effect, about Alex Hopkins, a young boy who faced horrible bullying and his triumphant efforts to help others with this problem.
In the heartrending first clip, a younger Hopkins, visibly shaken, describes how other students think he’s “not normal” and would punch him in the jaw, strangle him, take his things, knock things out of his hand, and sit on him. In the second clip, we see an older, more confident Hopkins, who has collaborated with other victims of bullying and their families to spark an anti-bullying movement.
Perhaps the most moving part of both of these clips is when Hopkins says, in the first clip, “[Bullies] push me so far that I want to become the bully.” The cycle of emotions from fear to shame and sadness to anger and confusion is very real. But Hopkins shows that one can move past that to courage, determination, self-acceptance, and inspiration.
It’s not OK that young people are tormented by their peers and made to feel scared, inferior, and abnormal. People like Hopkins, and methods of outreach, like this documentary, help to identify this serious issue and motivate young people, parents, and school leaders to take action.