By Jennifer LeClaire
Demonic? Absolutely. During a performance of her song “Haunted,” Beyoncé’s hair got caught up on her earring, tearing it from her ear and causing plenty of blood—and a call to cut.
After the performance, Twitter and Facebook was ablaze with “#CutforBeyonce” and “BleedforBeyonce” hashtags. The so-called Beyhive—a name that describes the once-Christian singer’s fan base of mostly women and gay men who obsess over her stardom—started cutting themselves in a show of unity with the singer.
This is not speculation. Gruesome bloody photos have cropped up on social media revealing her fans are bleeding for her along with comments like these: “If the queen bleeds the hive must unify and leak our blood to restore her spirits,” one super fan tweeted. “Beyhive we must.” “If Queen B had to endure pain, so do I. Tonight we #CutforBeyonce.”
Cutting is a dark trend that’s suddenly making its way into the limelight. Indeed, the #CutforBieber and #Cut4Bieber hashtags have been trending on Twitter, a social media platform of choice for teens.
Let’s step back for a minute. What is cutting? And how serious is it? Cutting is a form of deliberate self-harm, self-inflicted violence in which people take a razor blade or other sharp object and cut into their flesh to the point of letting blood.
The psychology behind it is heart-wrenching: The pain of cutting is a distraction from the emotional pain, anger and frustration the cutter feels. The cutter may slice their wrists, arms, legs or stomachs. The cuts are often so deep they leave scars that mirror the emotional scars in their soul.
I’ve been involved with youth who call themselves cutters. So when I saw this campaign, it struck my heart. Encouraging anyone to cut, even in a mock protest, is more than irresponsible. It’s a demon-inspired ploy to drive depressed teenagers deeper into bondage and lure curious youth to engage in an act they’ve never had the courage to act out.
Cutting is indeed a serious problem, but because cutters tend to hide their self-injury, it often goes unnoticed and is difficult to track. The Journal of Clinical Psychology reports about 4 percent of the U.S. population show signs of self-injurious behavior. That’s more than 12 million people. A cnn.com poll shows that 1 in 5 teens have purposely injured themselves at some time.
Although self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, the Mayo Clinic reports it’s usually followed by guilt and shame and the return of painful emotions. And, Mayo reports, with self-injury comes the possibility of more serious and even fatal self-aggressive actions. Make no mistake: Even though the cutter’s intent is not suicide, cutters could take the practice down the dark road to death, even accidentally.
If you think your teen—or someone you know—is cutting, consider the signs and symptoms the Mayo Clinic lists, which include scars, fresh cuts, scratches, bruises and other wounds; possession of sharp objects; wearing long sleeves or long pants (even in hot weather); spending a lot of time alone; claiming to have frequent accidents; behavioral or emotional instability; and statements of helplessness or hopelessness.
Teens are good at hiding what’s going on in their hearts. If you think someone is cutting, seek out help from a pastor, school counselor or pediatrician. Cutting is no laughing matter, and I pray that every young one who is caught up in cutting will find healing for their wounded heart.
To Write Love on Her Arms offers valuable insights, visit twloha.com