Sunday, September 18, 2011

Take a Stand, Don't Stand By!

Take a stand, don’t stand by!

Did you know that more than 160,000 U.S. students stay home from school each day from fear of being bullied? It’s not only a problem for youths. Adults are more likely to use verbal bullying as opposed to physical bullying, and the goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult. They try to humiliate victims, and “show them who is boss.” People who are bullied find it difficult to concentrate, show a decline in grades, and lose self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. hose who are bullied report more physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, than others.
Sadly, recent bullying statistics show that bullying is on the rise across all ages. The rise in bullying statistics is likely due to a sub-form of bullying seen in recent years called cyber bullying. Many bullying statistics and studies have found physical assaults have been replaced with cyber assaults in the form of bashing, rumors, and other content targeted at a single student or group of students to intentionally inflict harm.
Bullying Prevention and Facts:
• Many studies have shown that increasing domestic violence at home are leading to an increase in bullying online and at school.
• 58% of kids admit to never telling an adult when they've been the victim of a bullying attack.
• Bullying affects witnesses as well as targets. Witnesses often report feeling unsafe, helpless, and afraid that they will be the next target.
• Bullying is a communitywide issue that must no longer be ignored or thought of as a rite of passage. Students, parents, and educators all have a role in addressing bullying situations and changing school culture.
• The two keys to creating change are: increasing awareness that bullying has lifelong impact, and giving people the tools they need to respond effectively.
• Students can be especially effective in bullying intervention. More than 55 percent of bullying situations will stop when a peer intervenes. Student education of how to address bullying for peers is critical, as is the support of adults.
• Silence is no longer an acceptable response to bullying. Adults, students, and educators can no longer look away when they see bullying. Ignoring it won’t work. Everyone needs to be empowered with options to respond.

Based on the bullying statistics, it is clear that cyber bullying is on the rise more so than any other type of bullying. Many report seeing these types of bullying in chat rooms, social networking websites. Many students are forced to deal with at-school bullying and have it follow them home as they see hurtful comments and rumors being said about them throughout the Internet.
Again this year, the Advocates for Victims of Abuse has partnered with SASA (Students Advocating Social Awareness), and PACER Teens Against Bullying, to raise awareness across the country to STOP bullying now!
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. On October 12th, 201, join AVA in the movement to “Make it orange and make it end!” and unite against bullying. Make your color orange on Unity Day, Wednesday, Oct. 12. That’s the day everyone can join together: in schools, communities and online, and send a message of support to students who have experienced bullying. Students can unite against bullying on Unity Day by wearing the color orange, using the resources on, handing out orange “UNITY” ribbons at school, or writing the word “UNITY” on their hands or binders.
Facebook is also partnering with PACER by posting information about PACER activities on its safety, educator, and privacy pages during October. Update your Facebook status to “UNITY DAY, October 12th— Join the movement to make it orange and make it end! If you are being bullied, you are not alone. Unite and be a champion against bullying! “Like” Unity Day on their Facebook page. Take a pledge and sign “The End of Bullying Begins With You” Petition at

This is an opportunity for individuals, groups, communities to acknowledge that bullying is not something that should be accepted. Physical bruises fade, but the marks bullying leaves on a person may never fade. As human to human, we should reach out to one another to alleviate pain, not to cause it.


For more information or referrals, contact Advocates for Victims of Abuse at 304-7007, 623-2328, or 247-2395. All calls are confidential, advocates are mandatory reporters.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Impact of Eating Disorders ~ Remembering Chantal Claire Hager

Written by Jaclyn O’Malley, originally published in the Reno Gazette Journal*

For six years, Chantal Claire Hager used bulimia - a cycle of binging and purging - to stay thin and cope with psychological struggles she masked through her smile and manner.
When she was 13, the Reno girl discovered bulimia through a television show about difficult life issues faced by modern-day teens. Instead of inspiring awareness and prevention as intended, her family said the show sparked an idea in Chantal that led to her developing the disease that would kill her soon after she turned 19.
On April 3 in Southern California, while attending her seventh eating disorder treatment program, Chantal died in her sleep of a heart attack. Six years of eating large amounts of food and then vomiting had caused a severe potassium and electrolyte depletion in her body that affected her heart.
Her grieving family says it wants to turn its private anguish into a wake-up call to the community so that no other men, women or families have to suffer through the destruction and chaos of an eating disorder. Chantal's father, Robert, and her brother, Ian, have formed the Chantal Claire Hager Charitable Foundation, which aims to help fill the gap in the lack of local education, outreach and resources for family and loved ones. The foundation is still in the organizational process and is working to gain a nonprofit status.
The Hagers are hoping Chantal's story will create awareness about eating disorders, especially in Washoe County, where no statistics are kept on them and only a handful of specialists treat them. It's also hard to know who has died from the diseases because death results from medical complications such as a heart attack. However, the specialists, while unable to give specific numbers of new clients by the year, say their caseloads are growing, which could indicate a rise with those suffering from the diseases.
Treatment options for eating disorders are limited - partially because few options exist to target just eating disorders and because insurance companies are reluctant to pay for the treatment, which can be quite pricey, the family and specialists say. Nevada law does not require that insurance companies cover treatment for eating disorders.
• Anorexia nervosa: an intense fear of fat, and believe they are exhibiting control when they starve and refrain from eating.
• Bulimia nervosa: eating a large quantity of food and then vomiting. This behavior is repeated in cycles. People suffering from this illness are often using the disease to cope with anxiety and stress along with managing their weight.
• 1 in 5 women struggles with an eating disorder or have atypical issues with eating that aren’t classified as a mental illness.
• 10 -15 % of people with anorexia or bulimia are men.
• Up to 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the United States. An estimated 480,000 people die every year related to complications from an eating disorder.
• Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any mental illness.
• Only 1 in 10 people who need it receive treatment for eating disorders, and only 35% who do seek help get treatment at a specialized facility.
• About 95% of those suffering from eating disorders are between 12 and 25.
• About 25% of college women binge and purge to manage their weight.

Source: Renfrew Center Foundation in Philadelphia. The statistics above compiled by private research, as local trends are not regularly gathered or studied by government agencies.
For more information about the Chantal Claire Hager Charitable Foundation, go to, where local resources and events are listed for those seeking help and education about eating disorders. The foundation is raising money and taking private donations so it can contribute to the funding of counseling and other related resources for those who may be unable to afford it.
Chantal's brother, Ian Hager, said the Foundation is auctioning an Ibanez pro series G7 guitar signed by members of the band Tesla, guiatrists Dweezil Zappa and Steve Vai and Joe Satriani's drummer, Jeff Campitelli. Ian Hager said proceeds will fund counseling referred by the foundation. Bids are being accepted on the foundation's website.

*Reprinted with permission.

For assistance and referrals on eating disorders, please contact AVA.

This column is not is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice or treatment.

Advocates for Victims of Abuse
304-7007, 623-2328, 247-2395