Jonah Mowry’s Powerful YouTube Video About Teen Bullying Goes Viral
I’ll admit that Pampers commercials make me cry – yes, I’m that sensitive – but this video by eighth-grade bullying victim Jonah Mowry had me sobbing uncontrollably. That’s because Mowry uses nothing but flash-cards throughout the video, titled “What’s Goin’ On,” to express his unbearable pain and self-mutilation, not to mention the fact that he’s contemplated suicide more than once. This is a boy who’s clearly suffering – yet he’s so honest and brave, you’d have to be a robot not to feel something.
Mowry posted the video to YouTube back in August but it’s only now going viral (funny how that happens). Nearly 3 million people have watched it as of this morning, with messages of support pouring in from random strangers and major celebrities alike (Lady Gaga tweeted late last night “Thank you Jonah for being brave enough to share your story + showing us strength. You matter to millions.”) [tagbox tag= “bullying”]
The video, which you can view below, begins with Mowry holding up a hand-written card, “I look happy, right?” followed by, “Well, I’M NOT. What you all see is the fake me.” He uses cards throughout the video to tell his story, which includes a lifetime of bullying, of being called “Gay. Fag. Dick. Douche. Homo. Asshole.” (Mowry doesn’t specify his sexuality in the video but on Twitter he says he’s gay.)
“I lot of people hate me,” he writes, wiping away tears. “I don’t know why… But I guess I do. Cuz I kinda hate me too.”
And while he admits that suicide was something he considered “many times,” Mowry states in one of his final cards, “I’m not going anywhere. Because I’m STRONGER than that and…I have a million reasons to be here.”
You can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief that Mowry hasn’t turned to suicide, which we’re hearing more and more about these days (for example, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life in September after posting an “It Gets Better” video to YouTube). That doesn’t change the fact that this video is heartbreaking, but it’s touching to see some of the powerful messages Mowry has received in response – including a series of YouTube videos by older teens and 20-somethings who were once like Mowry but who have grown up to lead happy, secure lives free from bullies and bigotry (these made me cry, too).