C is for…Cutting

Controversial Song of the Day: “Scars” by Papa Roach

For the entire month of April, we’ll be participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Our theme for the month? CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS IN YA. Check out the link above for other awesome blogs participating.

Cutting–just one form of self-injury that some teens use. There are many misconceptions about self-injury. Some people assume that when a teen cuts, he/she is trying to commit suicide; others think it’s just a cry for attention. However, when someone resorts to cutting, or any form of self-mutilation, the reasons why aren’t so black and white.

Did You Know…?

*Between 2-3 million Americans display some kind of self-abusive behavior (this includes eating disorders, which we’ll discuss later in the week)

*1 in every 200 girls between 13-19 years old cut themselves regularly

*The number of teen cutting cases are on the rise

*If not treated, teens will continue cutting themselves into their adult years
*Statistics taken from teenhelp.com

The numbers above are only a small sample of what’s out there. Shame is usually attached to self-injury, so those who engage in it usually remain quiet.

As a school counselor, I’ve noticed that girls tend to cut in groups–meaning when word gets out that one friend is cutting, a few of their friends may “try it out” in hopes that they can relieve some of their own pain. While there are male cutters out there, I’ve personally witnessed boys punching walls or burning their knuckles with pencil erasers as a way to cope.

Since the numbers are not significant, some people like to pretend that cutting only exists on teen dramas. These are the same people who get prickly about the mention of self-injury in YA books. Though Quita and I haven’t tackled cutting in our own writing, neither of us would be afraid to address when we see fit. Here are some authors that are taking on this taboo:

Have any of you mentioned cutting in your own writing? Any good books that we left out?


13 thoughts on “C is for…Cutting

  1. Thank you for mentioning Scott Westerfeld's book! There was a scene in "Pretties" (the book before "Specials") involving cutting, and like you said it involved a group. I found that scene to be very powerful.I've personally known two people who have cut themselves, and both of them were 20-something adults. One because his fiancee left him, and the other because she was facing deep financial difficulties. It isn't just teens who deal with this issue. You ladies are great. Keep up the good work!

  2. Girls, I'm so impressed with your courageous theme for this challenge, particularly today's topic. Not only are you spreading awareness, but you've also plugged some amazing books. Love it.

  3. Cutting has always scared me. I had a friend who cut back when I was a teenager. He tried to explain to me why he was doing it, and I knew that he wasn't suicidal and wasn't cutting deep enough to cause serious injury, but it still freaked me out everytime I saw a new scar. The whole idea still freaks me out. I really can't understand why people want to do that to themselves.

  4. Great post. Yes, I do have a character who is suffering and cutting. I don't want to write it in such a way that glorifies it or make it seem okay so I'm struggling with it.I thank you for the list of books, I'll check them out.

  5. Great theme to discuss controversial YA issues. What's always puzzled me about the reaction of someone cutting (or attempting suicide etc) "to get attention," is that people then dismiss the act, which is very much a cry for help, and then wonder why something worse happens down the line.So what if it's to get attention? That's kind of the point. No one cuts themselves for no reason. If a girl is cutting, it's for a reason, and the people in her life need to pay attention.

  6. Wow, tough subject but one that needs addressed.I personally know two people who were cutters. One of them was extremely close to me. She has recovered from it but now has permanent scars of those days.I urge people if you are having any kinds of issues to seek help.Peace…Naila Moon

  7. You're going beyond with this challenge! Thanks for doing that! Thanks for reminding us how difficult things can be and to watch out and extend a hand.Very special posts!And hi Marquita. It's been a while! Hope all is going well for you! : )

  8. One of my WIPs has a main character who cuts. Not sure if I'll ever publish that one–it's barely fictional, more of an autobiography. I would have to get very, very brave to publish it. But I have very big feelings about cutting and the kids who do it. I just want to give them big hugs and tell them it really can be okay. That they really can learn to FEEL something other than pain. OR something other than nothing.

  9. Wow, tough subject but one that needs addressed. I personally know two people who were cutters. One of them was extremely close to me. She has recovered from it but now has permanent scars of those days. I urge people if you are having any kinds of issues to seek help. Peace…Naila Moon

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