I went to 9 grade schools had no brothers or sisters, and a female. Man, was I ever a target for bullying!!!! Always the new kid, no protectors, and a couple of other things that set me apart from the other kids. Not only that but I was rather small (until I shot up at age 15).
I used to be the type of person who put up with a lot in order to avoid conflict. I finally realized the trick. I'm embarassed to say it but the trick was to take on the biggest bully and beat them down to the point where they feared me. I quickly became a dirty fighter (necessary b/c boys were very bad bullies to me). After that, no one else in school would pick on me......ever!
It was horrible!!! Inevitably, after the beatdown, I would feel very bad and very sorry for the former "bully". On the good side, I would assume a leadership role and, believe me, there was no more bullying done by that group. In fact, I always made it a point to befriend the fringe kids b/c I knew what it was like to be picked on and to feel friendless.
It annoys me when people see this and simply say "kids can be so cruel" and just move on. It can scar people for life. I know some of those people today and it's still with many of them. It's wrong....wrong....wrong.