Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Victoria Tristan Roxas Alora, 15, Bullied to Death

This just came across the online site, TrevorSpace, tonight:  15-year-old Victoria Tristan Roxas Alora, from Bakersfield, ended her life tonight after being bullied because she was a lesbian.

According to Brett Simpson, who contributed heavily to this article, Tristan (which was the name she went by) joined TrevorSpace, an online site for LGBT youth, just this March.  Her profile was promising:
I'm Tristan. Im Fillipino! Haven't "Technically" came out yet. Just tired of lying and covering it up. So I just tell ppl, I'm pretty easy going, I'm bisexual. I believe that it doesn't matter who you are, If you love somebody, or If they have a good personality, It shouldn't matter if you're guy or girl.  I love robotics.  I plan to go to MIT, I am in love with KPOP!  I am a busy person.
My favorite saying is:  Dont Be Afraid Of Shadows.  It only means Light is near!
<33
I hate it when I'm in love cus I fall too hard. I'm Catholic.  I am strong in my faith. Music is my life. I'm Asian. I play many instruments, I do MMA, Mostly TKD, JuiJitsu, and Kickboxing.  I'm a huge tomboy! I don't agree with bullying
I am constantly bullied everyday just because I'm "Gay"
I'm real friendly & Straight forward, so feel free to message me anytime,
I'll practically answer anything,
HMU!
That's so heartbreaking in its honesty and hopefulness.  Dammit!  Tristan didn't want to die!!!  Tristan had high hopes for her life.  Unfortunately, because people couldn't or wouldn't leave her alone to live her life, and because there was no adult she could turn to for help, she saw no way out.  Tonight, she took matters into her own hands and ended the bullying.
Subject: I hate my life with a passion.
Sent: Today 6:46 PM
Message: I hate my life,
I'm constantly bullied,
Today some guy I know named Casey called me out cus I got something in my eye almost the same time a girl had to use the bathroom. When I told him to shutup cus he was making fun of me more he told me to suck his d***. I told him "uhmm no thank you".  He said yeah cus your afraid of d***." I told him just cus I can get more girls then he can doesn't make it right to pick on me. He ended up stating that I have bad shoes and clothes. I have a girl at the school I go to named Zarea.  She pushes me against lockers, pushes my head down from behind, and once she took me by my hair and threw me down. I am sick and tired of this and the school isn't doing crap about it. When I told the first time, they only got talked to, and then it got worse. Then, when I told the school it got worse, they said unfortunately that happens. THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING! When I fight back I get csp (Suspension) When I leave the school until i feel strong enough to come back, it gets even worse. I already tried to commit suicide once, but it's starting to sound real good right now.
So, there you have it, in her own words.  She posted this just tonight.  When she tried to reach the school officials about the bullying, they did nothing.  They did nothing!  Now, she's gone.  Listen, these suicides are preventable, dammit!  There is no reason I should have to writing about Tristan right now!  She was full of life, had big dreams.  She was failed by the adults, doomed by the bullies in her life.  That is an atrocity!

I don't want to hear one more person saying that they think it's "absolutely absurd" that the school officials can't make a difference or make this end.  If a student is reaching out to them, it's their responsibility to provide protection for that student!  End of story.  The fact of the matter is this:  we are failing our young people, gay and straight, in grand fashion.

It's been suggested several times that the young people who are being bullied needs to learn to defend themselves, perhaps through martial arts.  That's reasonable enough.  On a purely logical level, it even makes sense.  What's not being fully understood, I believe, is that the bullying that is occurring today cuts to a very deep, emotional level.  Martial arts can't solve that.  Tristan was a MMA student.  She knew how to defend herself, physically.  What she couldn't do was defend against the constant emotional attacks.  Worse, there were no adults willing to help her deal with it.

I'm going to spell this out as plainly as I can:  we need to stop trying to rationalize, and intellectualize, what's going on with today's LGBT youth.  Period.  The hard cold fact is they are being bullied to a point where they feel the only way to stop it is to end their lives.  That is not acceptable.  Someone needs to be held accountable.  The message that's being sent to the LGBT teens is "we don't care that you're being bullied."  And, that is not acceptable.  Yes, it needs to start in the homes.  Yes, we need to re-educate the adults first and foremost.  But, most importantly, we need to reach out to these at-risk young people and let them know that there are people who care...that life will get better.  WE need to be the change that we want to see!! 

I, for one, want to go on record right here and now for letting them know that there ARE people who care!  There ARE people here waiting to reach out to you!  You life IS worth living, and you DO matter!!  Who's with me?  Here's your challenge:  starting this very day, make it a point to reach out to someone you DON'T know.  Sometimes, even a simple smile and hello could be the difference between life and death.  Don't talk about doing it:  just do it.  Your life is not that busy that you can't take just a few minutes out of your day to reach out to someone.  Tonight makes 5 teen suicides that we know about in the past 11 days.  All 5 were from bullying!  I'm deeply saddened, but I'm also seething.  Much, much more needs to be done.

Tristan, I'm so sorry we failed you.  You had such a bright future.  May you rest in peace.

16 comments:

  1. .....*bows head in sorrow* may you rest in peace and the stars light your way.

    ------------------------------------------

    Oh my god. Why.....Why? Such a simple and honest question, but one with so much meaning. Why do we have to suffer? Why do people, not just our PEERS who bully us, but the adults older than us, act like nothing is happening? Why is it that ONE LITTLE PIECE OF US, be it our orientation, race, religion or some other insignificant thing, gets blown up so that its what people define us by and use it as a weapon to tear us down?! WHY?


    ..........There are adults that care - obviously or this blog wouldn't exist. <3 But it seems that in so many places, there aren't enough. And it affects the youth and that affects the future of hundreds of lives.

    RIP Tristan....you'll be missed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you have any links to back up this article? I cannot find any existence of this person on the internet, and the only results for those quotes are your own blog.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not at this moment. It's still very early. The event was just hours ago. A very reliable source, who's actually named in the article, was friends with her on the TrevorSpace site. He was alerted by a family member.

      Delete
    2. I'm actually a member of Trevorspace and I saw this on one of my friends' statuses. So I can vouch that this is real.

      It's so heartbreaking to hear of so many people just a few years younger than I that feel so hopeless and helpless.

      Delete
  3. anyone who was involved with this faculty wise should be fired and replaced clearly they lack the necessary skills to educate and take care of the children...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I for one am deeply saddened by all of this, race,religion, and most of all the choice of one's sexuality. We live in such a cruel society and no one care's anymore. I myself have had to take on the school where my child goes, not for the reason's that this young lady did, but for just cruel, cold, and horrible words from kids. And you are so right, more adults need to be educated on how things are going in this world today. Most parents don't take time to educate or even find time to spend with their own children. As I do believe, the child you chose to bring into this world is a reflection of who you are and who you hope they will be and not to be able to talk to an adult in your own household is unacceptable!!! We as parents have to guide them through this stage of life, and it's so sad that most do not have that guidence

    ReplyDelete
  5. When Someone assaults you then that is a CRIME. you have a right to call the cops & have the person who did it ARRESTED for assault & battery. you have a right to get an order of protection against that person. In fact it COULD be charged as child abuse. If a Teacher & school official is told & they do NOTHING call the cops. Inform the officer you are being assaulted & staff refuse to prevent criminal activity that poses harm to you. in short accuse them of criminal child endangerment. If rape & murder are crimes a teen can be charged with on school grounds then abuse should be as well. Parents need to step up & walk into the office with a Lawyer. Make it known that if the school refuses to do their job then a Judge WILL impose changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as cops, most minors (anyone under age 18) don't know their legal rights. Most minors don't believe they have any legal ability to help themselves. And the laws that protect children vary per state. And even with laws that protect children, not every child has the parental support to pursue police and legal action. Children who are bullied are often minorities (whether it's race, ethnicity, financial background, gender identity or sexuality) and have little to no support. If you're not out to your parents, how can you call the police about being bullied based on your sexual orientation? I had bad experiences with cops as a child and my parents demonized the legal system to make us afraid to ask for legal help with anything. Often bullied kids don't have friends- adults or kids- that could offer them support through bulling and offer them direction. Often, the kids are going at this alone and that is why they often to go suicide. It's hard to imagine your future 5 years from now when you can't even imagine living tomorrow.

      As such the case of this poor girl, who wasn't out to her parents, probably because of fear of their retaliation. And it seems that she didn't have any friends or adults in her life to offer her direction and support through these troubled times. With the school system failing her, she felt lost with no help.

      As easy as it is to say "just call the police" and "get a lawyer," to a child that can seem if not be impossible, or just may not even be a option.

      Delete
    2. Amen to that

      Delete
  6. I am in tears after reading this.
    My 1st thoughts are WHY is this still happening.
    My 2nd thoughts are WHY have the schools not learned.
    I live in the UK and this happens a lot here 11-16 year old taking there own lives because of bully's. Bully's are cruel.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My heart goes out to her, her friends and her family. This is a sad tragedy for everyone. This is a trend that has gone on for years but is finally starting to make headlines and get noticed.

    I was bullied my entire life growing up. My school did nothing. teachers in class sat there and did nothing as bullying went on in front of their eyes. Bullying was always shrugged off as "part of growing up," and kids who bullied were shrugged off as "kids will be kids." No one until now has thought of the lifelong impact being bullied has on children. Even 11 years out of high school, I still feel the effects of my whole childhood of bullying. I was bullied just based on my looks, based on being the socially awkward kid, based on my love of learning, based on my perceived sexuality, anything and everything was up for grabs. No one cared, the kids just said they were just "joking around" and it didn't matter. No one stood up for me. I was alone. And yes, I did attempt suicide many times in my childhood. I was miserable. I hated my life. I'm in college now, And yet even at college I am dealing with bullying, discrimination and fear. I've had abusive roommates in school dorms which my school did nothing to stop and threatened to kick me out of school over. Right now I am facing rumors of threats for me using the men's bathroom. College is still not safe for gay and gender variant students.

    Bullying still happens every day, but we don't call it bullying. We call it harassment, assault and discrimination. You can't get help when you're being harassed or discriminated against in employment or work in a hostile environment. Discrimination in hiring is still around as it is very hard to prove discrimination. Unless someone straight up says "I'm not hiring you because you're gay" or "I'm terminating your employment because I don't like transsexuals" there is nothing you can do. The same goes for housing. Someone can choose not to rent to you based on your sexuality or gender identity, but until they say that is the reason in a way that you can prove, there is nothing you can do. People can yell slurs and insults about your gender identity or perceived sexuality on the street, but there is little you can do until they put their hands on you. By that time, it’s too late.

    People assume that San Francisco is a great friendly place. I can say first hand I've lived here for almost 5 years now and I have faced just as much if not more discrimination here than other cities I've lived in. When I bring up harassment based on me being a transsexual, I am often laughed at by both locals and employers. They say, "This is San Francisco, everyone is accepted here." Employers have refused to give diversity training on transsexual issues. Everyone assumes things are great for everyone when they themselves have not faced discrimination and harassment. People (both straight and gay) get angry with me when I tell them what they are saying or doing is insulting or discriminative.

    Having a large gay population doesn't guarantee that everyone is accepting of gays. And it's a huge misconception that I've found, but gay-friendly doesn't mean trans-friendly. Living in a diverse city doesn't guarantee that everyone is accepting and understanding. We need to educate our children, we need to educate our adults, we need to educate the population that violence, discrimination and harassment are never ok. We have to actively make the world better.

    Let's start working on getting rid of bullying, both in school and out in the real world. Don't let it get to the point where another kid commits suicide or another adult is found beaten to death. Discrimination, harassment and assaults are never ok no matter what age you are or where you're from.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Even standing up for yourself emotionally can backfire. I didn't know how to defend myself so I retaliated, I became the bully and for four years after I made it a point to cut down people before they had a chance to cut me down.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Meredith McLaughlinApril 18, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    Ron, I read your article, the second one this week & I am, again, appalled by this girl's school officials. Sadly, though, I'm NOT surprised.

    However, I heard what you said & I agree. To that end, I started a FB page- "I survived bullying, you can too!" https://www.facebook.com/groups/158488897610069/

    This is my attempt to reach out to others, LGBT or not who may be experiencing this & feel like they have nowhere to turn. I've worked with teenagers in out-of-home placements for 11 years & I hope that those skills and sharing MY experiences with bullying when I was a teenager might help a few kids who wouldn't otherwise feel as if they had somewhere to turn.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The same thing happened to me, people where spreading rumours, I once got my email account hacked by these 2 kids, they sent horrible things to teachers emails as me. I would hear remarks from them such as "all gays should kill themselves" . I went to my guidence counsouler, who herslef is gay and in a happy relationship - with another teacher at our school - so you would think they would be supportive, right? She did all she could, but could do anything about the other kids, so she took me to the vice principals office and we explained to him what was going on. HE IS A TOTAL HOMOPHOBE, you could see it by the look in his eyes. He lied to my mom about everything and only told the ine if the kids to "stop if your doing anything" . It got worse, at that point they starting thretaning me, I wouldn't leave the building at lunch, then my mom let me start homeschooling, to get away from him. Before that she had contacted people at the district level and our VC nearly lost his job, but still no one did anything about those 2 kids - who are "proud we chased the fag away" after I left, another kid that was 100% out "turned straight" just because of them and what happened to me. Luckily I had the support of my mom and SOME people at the school, but not anyone that could actually do anything.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My daughter has been bullied at every school she has ever attended - including PreSchool! Without fail, when she, then later I, raised the issue with the school, SHE was offered 'frienship groups' sessions/ counselling, to (direct quote) 'help her to be more like everybody else.'The bullies were not even reprimanded. Schools appear to be unwilling to even attempt to tackle bullying - particularly the girl/girl stuff, the excluding, gossip,constant bitchy undermining and ridiculing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for what you are doing...
    I grew up gay and disabled, and was bullied pretty badly in school. In my twenties I tried committing suicide, almost "succeeded." I think the most important thing for these young people to know is that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem...things will get better...
    Both bully and bullied are victims, lest we forget the awfulness of Columbine...I'm not "blaiming" such things on bullying, but we need to open our eyes and see that our children are suffering, and do something about it.

    Just Joe
    http://www.aboywithawholeinhishead.info

    ReplyDelete