Margaret Robinson2015-09-25T16:43:01+00:00May 8th, 2012|
Media accounts of suicide tend to explain it as an effect of bullying. This is both helpful and limiting. It is helpful in moving us away from a view of suicide as ipso facto evidence of a psychological problem (sickness) or in the even older view, as a moral failing (sin). Psychological problems may in fact be present in some or many of the cases. In reference to the colonized it would seem to go with the territory, as Frantz Fanon, Kelly Oliver and others have argued. The better explanation where bullying is involved, however, is that the sense of desperation caused by the harassment itself, irrespective of the victim’s mental health (read: “resilience”), was so great that suicide seemed (or may have really been) the only way out. This account lifts the burden of stigma, and exonerates the youth of any moral culpability, which is right both in terms of compassionate practice—how is blaming a suicidal youth going to help?—and in terms of the larger analysis. From a queer, postcolonial and feminist perspective, it really isn’t their fault.