14-year-old Nadia Dorrington has been bullied at school for years, and the world, sadly, has seen the bullying on screen, as six of her classmates attacked her, filmed the attack, and posted it on YouTube.
"For the last two years she has been going through torture and made to feel like she is worthless. She thinks she is ugly, fat and smells because that is what she hears at school," Nadia's mother, Lindsay Dorrington, tells the Daily Mail, "When I saw the video I was so angry and upset. It is a nasty, vicious attack. I was in shock and I properly realised how bad the bullying actually was." Three of her attackers have already been suspended for their role in the attack, and Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, the school's Headteacher, claims the school has "a zero tolerance policy about bullying at Avonbourne. We simply do not tolerate it.Every allegation of bullying in this case has been fully investigated but it is only now with this video clip that we have the evidence we need."
The incident is reminiscent of the videotaped attack on a 16-year-old in Lakeland, Florida that occurred last year, when six cheerleaders beat a classmate so badly that she suffered a concussion, hearing, and vision loss. The cheerleaders taped the incident and proudly displayed it on YouTube. When they were arrested, one of the cheerleaders actually laughed about the incident, and, according to Polk County, Fla., Sheriff Grady Judd, showed little to no remorse: "When we had them arrested and in detention, they were laughing and joking, ‘Guess we're not going to go to the beach on this spring break.' One girl actually asked our detective, ‘Am I going to be released in time to go to cheerleading practice tomorrow?'"
A similar attack occurred in North Babylon, NY, in 2007: three girls beat a 13-year-old girl and posted the clip on several web sites. The fight was reportedly over a boy, and several students can be seen watching the fight without intervening, even as the victim screams for help. After the attack, the girls are seen "running away, then laughing and boasting about how easily they overcame the girl."
The level of brutality in these attacks, as well as the seeming sense of pride that the attackers display, even after they're punished for their crimes, are extremely disturbing reminders that we live in a world where the ability to disconnect is frighteningly easy. The girls seem more interested in achieving some sense of notoriety, or even fame, for being willing to kick the shit out of one of their peers: though this time of bullying is as old as the school system, the ability to share one's "victories" with others is still relatively new. This is a generation with very blurred boundaries between "real" life and an online identity: just as they share their favorite movies, songs, and quotes online, they share their fears, their flaws, and, apparently, the bleaker parts of their lives. A videotaped beating then becomes as ordinary as a video of a dance recital, or a party, or a goofy parody of some song. Life, as they know it, is meant to be documented, edited, and shared with the universe.
Though one hopes that these videos would provide insight into the bullying that girls face on a daily basis—both taped and untaped—and provide justice for the victims, as well as an eye-opener for any girls currently bullying their classmates, it seems that these taped beatings only normalize the process, as other girls hop on the bandwagon, consequences be damned. Being infamous, it seems, is the next best thing to being famous. And it doesn't matter who gets hurt along the way—as long as the rest of the world gets to see it.