The Command Sisters on front line in war against bullying
Who better than teenagers to make an anti-bullying video? Sarah Command of the local folk duo the Command Sisters is 15 years old and has just started high school – on the front lines in what has become a hot button issue.
“I definitely have had my fair share of bullying,” she says, referring to some nasty online comments received last year. “I think a lot of people don’t realize how common it is, and sometimes it may not even be at a severe level, but kids get so affected by it and it builds up. It’s crazy how many people go through it. I think every person goes through it at one time in their life.”
It doesn’t matter that Sarah and 18-year-old sister Charlotte (who just graduated high school) are artists in the public eye. They’ll get teased for that. But they are not immune.
“When you’re a performer, people kind of look at you as indestructible,” Sarah continues, “but you’re not. In general, I don’t have very good self esteem. I think that’s why I wanted to do this video, to show people that every single person goes through this – and you can get through it.”
If everybody goes through it, then where are the bullies? It’s a vicious cycle.
The Command Sisters are trying to do something about it. Their recent song “Something To Live For” has been used in a new anti-bullying video co-produced by the RCMP. The song came first, says Charlotte, from unsolicited stories of bullying fans were sharing with them on Twitter and Facebook.
“They would send us pictures of them cutting, which was very sad and shocking,” Charlotte says. “And then we had a friend’s friend who committed suicide. All of this came into our heads and made us think. We didn’t know how bad of a problem it was before then. The song popped into my head about two in the morning, and that’s when we decided we wanted to try to make a difference.”
Along with the music video proper, shot at an area high school, testimonials were collected from students.
Sarah says, “There were these kids on the video who just opened up completely, talking about their stories, crying. People don’t realize how much bullying carries into their hearts, how much they cry when they get home, how much they don’t want to go back to school the next day and they can’t sleep and they can’t do all these things. To see all the faces on the camera you realize this is a serious problem.”
There are a lot of anti-bullying videos being made. The Command Sisters is at least the second Edmonton act to make one this year. Local dance artist ESMA made one of her song “Fall Back” this summer. On the question of whether these things actually do any good, Charlotte responds, “If you can play a video for 300 kids, even if one person is changed – either the bully changes his actions or a bully victim feels more positive about their situation, as long as you can change one person, that’s what matters.”
There is a school tour being planned, hopefully across Canada; Something To Live For will also soon be available on iTunes, with all proceeds donated to the Kids Help Phone.