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I don't even remember how it all started now; it is as if it had always been there like a huge weight on my shoulders pushing me further down, sinking, trying to escape but never managing to.
If you met me now you would never know it, I am full of life and confidence, I get on with every one I meet and generally look on the bright side of life. Don't be fooled, underneath I still hurt and try to understand why I was bullied.
Who are Bullies?
Bullies come in many shapes and forms and it isn't always easy to spot one. I myself was a bully; I picked on friends and pushed them aside when I was under pressure from others to do so. Even though I didn't want to be I was a bully. Quite often bullies are victims as well; they maybe being bullied by a parent, sibling or another child and as a way of venting that anger they intern bully someone else.
Who are the victims?
Just as you can't pick out a bully you can't pick out a victim either, anyone could be a victim of bullying. They may be a victim because of their gender; race, disability, size or they could just be unlucky.
There are signs you should pick up on: The victim will become withdrawn or depressed, they may want to stop doing something they usually love, if they say they are ill when they are not because they don't want to go to school or work, if they won't talk to you about what's wrong.
Types of bullying
· Verbal Abuse; Name-calling, having fun made out of you, threats. · Physical - pushing, hitting, punching physically injuring someone in any way shape or form. · Sexually - Having inappropriate suggestions made to you, being touched inappropriately, feeling scared and venerable when alone with individuals. · Threatening Behaviour: For whatever reasons you feel threaten by someone's behaviour either verbal or physical.
Where does bullying happen?
Bullying can happen anywhere you don't have to be a school child to be a victim of bullying.
School: Allot of bullying starts in school, allot of schools now have an anti - bullying policy in place and are finding better ways of dealing with situations when they arise.
Work: bullying often happens in the workplace; if you feel victimised at work you should ask for a copy of the companies working policies and take appropriate action.
At Home: You may be a child who is bullied by a parent or sibling perhaps you are being bullied by your spouse allot of bullying happens at home, as they say you never know what happens behind closed doors.
What to do if you are being bullied
· Tell someone - a friend, teacher or parent - a problem shared is a problem halved. They might be able to help and you can talk to them instead of bottling it all up. · If you are sent any mail, texts or e-mails that are threatening in anyway keep a record of them. · If you don't have anyone you can turn to then call child line on: 0800 1111.
Here is my story: (All names have been changed)
When I was eight years old my father was involved in a very serious accident, which ended in him losing his job and the house, it was a very stressful time for everyone and for a while we thought we were going to be made homeless. After an agonising wait we were given a very old council house in a small village, the house hadn't been lived in for a couple of years and the garden was wild and over grown but my parents were not in a position to refuse so we moved in and I was taken from my friends and placed in a new school.
My mum and dad thought I was young enough for it not to be a problem but I had some very close friends one best friend in particular that I had left behind, it was a big wrench and dealing with change is hard especially due to the circumstances. I became shy and found it hard to make friends easily. My mum had made a friend herself and her daughter was in my class so we were pushed together by are parents, her name was Lucy, we were not sure of each other at first but soon became friends or so I thought.
Primary wasn't too bad, I was never really happy and still only really had one friend Lucy, we used to go to each others houses and both loved playing with Barbie Dolls but I found Lucy very overpowering and she used to dominate me allot. Her doll was always the pretty or successful doll and mine was always the servant.
When we got to secondary school Lucy and I were put in different classes so I decided to try and make some new friends of my own, I became close to three girls Katie, Kerry and Rebecca. The four of us used to hang around together at break times, we were the geeks of the class all of us misfits in one-way or another so we found safety together.
Lucy couldn't understand why I preferred their company to hers and she would say horrible things about them to me and try and pull me away from them, sometimes I would go with her and also talk about them behind their back just to get Lucy to leave me alone.
One day I was in my village when a girl called Suzie who I had seen around at school asked me if I would like to go to the park with her and hang out with the boys, I was really taken back by her offer I mean why would anyone want to hang around with me? I accepted and after checking with my mum headed to the local park.
I was so happy Chris a boy I liked from school was there, I told Suzie I liked him and she set us up, he asked me to go for a walk with him and it was then that I had my first kiss. I was on cloud nine. Back in school I started to hang around with Chris, Suzie and the gang, I dumped the girls and Suzie didn't like Lucy so I found the confidence to tell her to leave me alone. This blissful time only lasted for 3 weeks and then Chris and I broke up.
I was devastated I really liked him, to add insult to injury a week later Suzie started going out with him, I was very hurt and let down by Suzie. It was from here that things went down hill, I have no idea who started it but the name-calling began.
'Lard Arse' began to be whispered as I walked past, it started with the boys in the gang and then spread to other students, one day it was chanted as I walked down the corridor 'Lard Arse, Lard Arse' over and over by about 20 students it was awful.
In school I turned to the girls I once called my friends but they were scared of Lucy's bullying and couldn't understand why I wanted their friendship if I kept going back with Lucy.
Lucy was pleased that my friendship with Suzie had messed up and welcomed me back into her life so I accepted.
From here things went from bad to worse, I live in a small village and the boys in the gang also live here, I couldn't get away from the name calling, to make matters worse my mum insisted I go to youth club at the park on a Friday evening, were all these boys hung out, I hadn't told of course, I was to ashamed so I just went along anyway.
At youth club a series of events happened, the first time I went they called me names all night so I ran out of youth club and they followed me with buckets of water and throw them over my head and then emptied cans of fizzy drinks over me.
The next time I went 3 boys pinned me to the ground pulled down my top and drew over my breasts with permanent marker pen. I was 14 at the time and I felt so awful, I remember going home and standing in the shower scrubbing and scrubbing to get it off.
After that I stopped going to the youth club, but I still lived in the village, one day I went for a stroll to the park when I bumped into two boys from school. They chanted 'Lard Arse' from the other side of the road as usual then they pulled out BB guns and started shooting at me. BB Guns fire small metal pellets at some speed and they really hurt. I started to run away but they just kept shooting, they chased me all the way home.
When I got home I was in floods of tears my dad asked what happened and when I took of my trousers I was bleeding all down the backs of my legs. My dad went mad and wanted to go and find the boys but I begged him not to. In the end he called the police and they came and took photos of my legs and went to the boys families to get the BB Guns confiscated.
Of course this didn't help me, as soon as I went back to school the name-calling got worse 'Lard Arse is a Tale Tell', not once did Lucy stand up for me, sometimes she would join in and when I would confront her about she would say she was only joking. It all got too much for me and started taking my frustration out on myself by pulling out chunks of my hair. I once took 12 Paracetamol my attempt at an over dose but I got scared and made myself sick.
When my brother who is two years younger than me started school they all started on him as well just because he was my brother, his name is Robert but they used to call him 'Bobby No Mates'. Throughout his school life he endured severe bullying in the form of name-calling and physical violence ending in a broken nose. I felt bad for my brother but he holds it all against me, saying it is my fault he was bullied. He no longer speaks to me; he doesn't have many friends and is very with drawn.
Lucy invited me shopping with her in Brighton; I really wanted to go, as I had never been shopping with out my mum before, my agreed so we went. I was very innocent when I was at school so the idea that Lucy would shop lift never crossed my mind. That all changed when we walked out off HMV and all the alarms went off, I just carried on walking as I didn't think it had anything to do with us, Lucy how ever ran off and hid the tape she had stolen under a shelf in Argos, both us were called back the store, we walked back through the detectors again and the alarm didn't go off so we were free to go.
When Lucy confessed what she had done I was shocked, I told how stupid I thought it was and we had a big argument, it turned out she had stolen loads of stuff while we were out that day, from Boots she had swiped a pack of 24 condoms so to try and get me back she got the box out of her bag and emptied them all over me and tried to put one over my head. I was so embarrassed I ran off and caught the train home.
Two weeks later I was at the park with my little sister who is 7 years younger than me when Lucy and three of her mates jumped me, Lucy just watched while the other girls beat me up, the boys from the gang were their and they all stood watching as well, I ran home crying with a black eye, my parents called the police again but nothing was done, the girls denied it and the boys said they saw nothing.
My mum and dad informed the school of the weekend's events and they promised to keep an eye on things, but no one touched me at school they always waited till after school or weekends.
I stopped going out in the end and decided to join the Pantomime Society instead, it is there that I met Tricia24. We went to different schools so she didn't know about anything that went on with the bullying, we used to meet at rehearsals, each others houses or at the church youth club (not my cup of tea but at least was safe).
After I left school I decided to go to college, I was relived to find that none of the bullies would be at the same one, it was here that I got my confidence back and made some really good friends. I studied Performing Arts and now I am pursuing a career on the stage something I never thought I would be able to do.
If only I knew then what I knew now, I sometimes wish I could go back in time and be the person I am today back then, more confident able to stand up for myself, not scared to follow the advice given to me.
If only I had told someone the extent of what was going on then maybe it wouldn't of got so bad, if only I hadn't pushed my only friends away I would have had a safety net of people to help protect me.
I can't live my life full of what ifs, the best thing I can do now is leave it all in the past and get on with my life.
I have seen some of my old bullies recently, 10 years on they don't remember saying or doing half the things they did to me, they apologised and said they were young and foolish, they actually had no idea the impact I had on my life. A couple of them have even asked me out! Yeah Right! They might be able to forget but I can't, I may be able to forgive their, mistakes but I won't forget.
If you are being bullied then please speak out, get the help you need no one deserves to get bullied.
If you are a bully the stop and think about what you are doing to that poor person, it may not mean much to you, it may be a laugh right now, but you sometimes it has devastating consequences that I'm sure you don't want to be responsible for.
That was so moving Liz, and I am sorry I hadn't gone back through your back pages to read it before. I was bullied, probably cos I have always been really mousey. When at school, there is just no escape. I left at 16, despite being clever, just to escape from the situation. I got a job in London, and although I was a popular girl in the office, i found it difficult to trust the friendships due to the past experience. Like you say, you just have to draw a line under it and move on, but it appears to be a life experience that is just so common, but still a taboo. Schools are no better still, as the ones that pride themselves on their being 'anti bullying' tend to turn the biggest blind eye to the children who are being bullied. Excellent and brave review and good advice given. Gwen xxx
tammyL129 17.05.2006 18:54
What a horrible thing to happen to you. I was bullied a bit at school but not nearly as bad as that. At least you managed to get away from it eventually and do something that you obviously really enjoy! Tam -x-
keak123 16.05.2006 16:27
Waht a great read.....you poor thing, it must have been awful for you. I went through something similar when I was in school, she was the hardest girl in the school and I was scared to death. Anyway after she gave me a good beating, she then left me alone. We became mates a few months later, but I am ashamed to say, I also became a bully. I had a email recently from someone I had bullied, I didnt realise what I had done to her, and if I could turn the clocks back, then I would never have done what I did. I understand when you say you can never forget, this is exactly what she said to me, even though I said I was sorry over and over again. I wish there was something to do to make it up to her. I think this is what happens to some people when they get bullied, they try to turn it around and become the one who bullies.....or am I making excuses for the pathetic things I did when I was young and very foolish?? I am so pleased to hear that you have managed to turn it all around and you are now a confident person.....I wonder if the person who bullied you can say the same?????