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The noun bullycide denotes suicide committed by a person, especially a child or young adult, as a result of being bullied.
This noun is a blend of:
– the noun bully, denoting a person who habitually seeks to harm, coerce or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable;
– the noun suicide.
Note: The noun bullycide would be expected to mean the killing of a bully, since the suffix -cide is used to form nouns denoting the killing of the person, animal, etc., indicated by the initial element—as in homicide, parricide and regicide.
The noun bullycide was coined on separate occasions by various persons, independently from one another. This is exemplified by the fact that, in the following from The end of innocence, by John Daly, published in the Irish Examiner (Cork, County Cork, Ireland) of Saturday 20th November 2010, bullycide is referred to as “a new term”, whereas, in fact, it is first attested in Britain in 2001 and in the USA in 2002 [cf., below, quotations 1 & 2]:
AMERICA was supposed to be the great adventure of Phoebe Prince’s teenage life. When the 15-year-old schoolgirl from Fanore in Clare moved to Massachusetts in September 2009 with her family, it seemed like the opening of a new and challenging chapter in her young life—a different country, a new culture and the enticing prospect of a world she couldn’t wait to experience. Within a few months, however, Phoebe Prince was dead—a victim of intense bullying at South Hadley High School that culminated in her suicide by hanging on January 14.
Kevin Cullen, a Boston Herald columnist who has covered the Phoebe Prince case from the beginning, […] highlights the all-encompassing power the internet delivers to cyber-bullies.
“For older generations who suffered bullying in the schoolyard, home did represent a sanctuary away from the daily misery of it. But today when victims look online and see hundreds of kid chiming in on it, the sense of isolation expands exponentially.”
A new term, ‘bullycide’, has recently entered the American lexicon. “Phoebe was receiving abusive texts direct to her phone, but she must have also been aware of the many voices apparently ranged against her on websites,” he says.
The earliest occurrences of the noun bullycide that I have found are as follows, in chronological order:
1-: From Bullycide: Death at Playtime (Didcot (Oxfordshire): Success Unlimited, 2001), by Neil Marr and Tim Field. Stephanie Bell reviewed this book in Bullied to death: Ulster’s one of the worst blackspots for ‘lethal epidemic’, published in Sunday Life (Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland) of Sunday 4th February 2001:
THE secret shame of Ulster’s school yards is exposed in a new book out tomorrow.
“Bullycide: Death at Playtime” features disturbing real life accounts of bullying across the UK.
And, startling data in the book exposes Northern Ireland as one of the worst blackspots for bullying.
The report includes the heart-breaking accounts of two children from Belfast driven to suicide by school bullies.
The authors slam the authorities for doing little to tackle the problem.
They are demanding a co-ordinated study to measure the scale of what they describe as “a lethal epidemic.”
Co-authors Neil Marr and Tim Field spent three years researching ‘Bullycide’—they coined the word to describe the situation, when bullied children choose suicide rather than face another day of bullying, harassment or abuse.
2-: From House panel hears from both sides of ‘bully bill’, by Sharon Michael, published in The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Washington, USA) of Tuesday 29th January 2002:
OLYMPIA—High school girls from Yakima and Lynnwood who mutilated and stabbed themselves with needles and considered suicide as a way to escape schoolyard tormenters appeared before the House Education Committee Monday.
The two girls were joined by a disabled Olympia student who, along with a friend, fought to change things—to educate her fellow students about how it feels to be on the receiving end of constant torment.
“It makes students feel isolated and unwanted,” said Michelle DiClementi, a Capital High School student in Olympia.
And sometimes young people die as a result, said Brenda High, a Pasco woman whose son committed suicide—or, as she calls it, “bullycide.”
3-: From ‘You spend your whole time trying to understand why he chose death instead of life’, about young people committing suicide, by Claire Wallerstein, published in The Guardian (London and Manchester, England) of Thursday 21st February 2002:
Research is being carried out worldwide, and the United Nations has advised governments to set up programmes to deal with all factors linked to suicide, including mental health, youth unemployment, bullying (there is one “bullycide” in the UK each month), sexual abuse, racism, drugs and alcoholism.