Senior Addie Von Den Benken recently took a national issue head on. After being kicked out of a local bar due to the fault of the bartenders, Addie took to the Post to address the bullying she faced. Addie exemplifies a brave young woman who isn’t afraid to tackle injustice. Read her Post column in its entirety here and check out an interview with Addie below.
Why did you write the column?
After leaving the bar that night I was so frustrated. I thought that once I went to college the bullying would end. When I was younger the bullying was more malicious. I was called “fat hamburger” in 7th grade. Now it seems as though people have no consideration and just don’t care.
Were you afraid of backlash?
I had no worries about backlash. I honestly didn’t care. I used to be the type of person who when I was upset or someone attacked me, I would let someone fight my battle or I was very passive about it and just let it go. I am not like that anymore.
Did your column achieve what you wanted it to achieve?
My column achieved more than I expected. I didn’t know it made it in The Post until I received a email from a professor I didn’t know about how much she appreciated it. I did finally receive an apology. While it was not exactly the apology I wanted, they did acknowledge that what happened was wrong.
Why is it important to take a stand against bullying?
Bullying is never acceptable. The biggest point I tried to make from the incident was that it was not the fact that it happened at that particular bar, it was the fact that it happened at all.
What kind of feedback did you receive from the community?
I received so much positive feedback. Many of my friends linked to the column on their Facebook pages, then their friends posted it, then their friends posted it, and next thing I knew I had 15 new Facebook friends and random shout-outs on twitter. I was contacted by the school to see what other action I was taking, and by psychological services to see what they could do. Dealing with the bar was a struggle. I found most of the conversations insincere, but we have come to a truce and I have moved on. The most powerful thing that happened after the event was a girl coming up to me three days after the column was out. I had a class with her freshman year but we never spoke. We were friends on Facebook though. After she read the article she was outraged. When I saw her she was so complimentary of the article but also said that her friends went to that bar that night and she waited outside. That was cool. That is when I realized that the article made a difference.