Boy takes a stand against bullying in viral video ‘Caine Stands Up’

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine On

Eleven year-old Caine Smith from Haltom City, Texas may suffer from daily torments of being choked, punched and thrown against a wall. But, his inner strength -- a sense of knowledge beyond his years -- far surpasses any of the cowards who bully him.

"One day I was shoved in a bar several times until my head ached, and the guy walked away laughing, saying that I looked like a little girl," he says in the video Caine Stands Up.

The video is a director's cut from the documentary Bully created by the advocacy organization The Bully Project. When the documentary was released in 2011 it didn't exactly get rave reviews with a meager 5.7/10 critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes movie review website.

Yet despite the lackluster reviews, the issue of bullying remains at the forefront and consciousness of many policy makers, teachers, parents and students, with increased media attention and formal policies created against it.

In the video, Caine describes how he's never had friends that stick up for him, mostly because they often get called names too.

Also see: Teen takes to social media to confront bullies

"But even [my friends], they've started to call me names."

It's a troubling dynamic that researchers have pointed to, the unfortunate reality that those who have been bullied have a slightly higher chance of becoming a bully.

Caine talks about how playing video games helps him cope with the emotional pain.

"To calm down and get out of the troubling parts of my life. It's like going to another universe," he says in the video.

In response to the hypothetical scenario of having magical powers? "I'd zip everybody's lips," he says.

Also see: The surprise victim of bullying

The insights he shares shows he understands the psyche of his attacker.

"They think I'm different. They want me to change who I am. But I can't change who I am."

The Caine Stands Up video is just one of many tools used to combat this issue of bullying, particularly in schools. And while researcher shows bullying is not on the rise, our collective sensitively to the issue certainly has.

"A generation ago, nobody talked about schoolyard bullying as a problem to be solved. A certain level of violence and humiliation were considered a natural part of the school experience; few thought to formulate this as a moral problem," writes Doug Saunders in a recent commentary piece for the Globe and Mail.

Saunders discusses how even though bullying is less prevalent than it was 20 years ago, only now do we consider it morally unacceptable, and suggests this is because we are getting smarter.

"The fact that these former non-issues have become front-page concerns means that many people are now able to conceive of them as abstract moral wrongs," says Saunders. "Across the world, average IQs have been rising, with astonishing rapidity, throughout the past century."

What are your thoughts on why we are paying more attention to the issue of bullying? Tell us in the comments.