I'm A (Healed) Survivor Of High School Bullying

I hope my story can help someone.

I’m a "survivor" of some intense, prolonged, bullying and harassment in a VERY small town high school. What you said, did, wore, bad hair day, whatever, was on display and talked about within minutes. My senior class was only 45 people! I grew up with my cousins and was the youngest of 3 kids, my older cousins were fairly popular, and they had established reputations in school.

When I started my freshman year, my male cousin was a sophomore, and my female cousin was a junior. I was always a little different because, I was raised by my Aunt and Uncle, and wasn't as white as the rest of the school. I am not trying to sound full of myself, but being mixed White/Latina, I was exotic and, I guess that made me more interesting than the local girls.

I was very involved in church so dating, even just holding hands at school or kissing was not really an option for me at that young age. I went through my freshman year with some level of harassment, but not too bad. Generally it was just the “low on the totem pole” freshman year stuff. Then in my sophomore year, things started to get more interesting. I was suddenly more popular and being invited to parties.

One night, about three months into the 10th grade year, my cousin had a party while my Aunt and Uncle were gone overnight. Sadly, he and his friends were drinking. There were guys from my year, and his, at the house. After some drinking, two of the guys from my year separately tried to get me in bed. The first one tried, I fought and ran from the room, then the other one came to my "rescue" and said nice things trying to calm me down. Then he did the vary same thing. He pulled at my clothes, forced me on a bed, and almost raped me. In both cases, I fought them off. Luckily, they were drunk enough, and I think not quite stupid enough, to really force me. I’m scared to think what would have happened if I hadn’t fought. My cousin may not have been protecting me completely, but I do think he would have beaten the crap out of them if they did.

I was able to keep them away, and lock myself in my room for the rest of the night. The next week at school, the rumor mill had already started. I was a ****, a *****, they claimed I slept with them, and that I did all sorts of sexual acts with them. None of it was true, but that didn’t matter. I was pushed into lockers, had notes put on my locker and binder. People didn't bother to whisper, they openly talked about what a piece of trash I was. The girls seemed to love this. The guys had always flirted with me, and apparently the girls insecurity really was deep. They devoured this opportunity to destroy me and were relentless with their attacks, to the point that I was shoved into lockers, hit with book bags, and during gym class, body slammed several times during sports. (Made it easier for them to pass it off as accidental.)

After about 2-3 months, the intensity lessened, but not much, and I was never again happy at school. You can imagine how that affected my grades, and my self-esteem. Wondering where my cousins were during all this? So did I. They never stood up for me, never defended me, and I was left to the feeding frenzy. I know that we were just kids, so I understand that they were afraid of that happening to them if they did stand up for me. But, this is why some kids fail in school, drop out, commit suicide, or bring guns to school and start shooting.

I remained a social pariah and complete outcast all through those 3 years of high school hell. It took years to get over this. I moved away from the town right after school and didn't even go back for 2-3 years. Even 20 years later, I still only go to town to see family, then leave. I don't attend school reunions, and really have nothing to do with most of the people I grew up with. I did have several people, people that were HORRIBLE to me in high school, try to FB friend me. At first I accepted them because, that was a long time ago and we're all stupid when we're kids. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they had NOT earned a place in my life. In all those years, not one of them had tried to contact me, apologize to me, or try to have a friendship with me. Why should I let them in my life and potentially allow them to start the same crap they did back then??

I went through some counseling that helped A LOT. One of the biggest things that helped was realizing that I would probably never get the opportunity to "right the wrong". And I had to release my pain and anger. I knew what they did was wrong, I knew that I was a good person and that I didn't need their approval. And really, didn't want it anymore. I also realized that people are mean generally because they're sad. I didn't know what was happening in their lives. Were they being abused verbally or physically by siblings, friends, or maybe even their parents? I'm not saying it's an excuse, but it can be a huge reason. People lash out when they feel out of control.

The only advice I can give anyone suffering from bullying is to distance yourself from anyone who makes you feel bad about who you are. I know that sounds lame when you have to face them almost every day. But, it's true that when you ignore the haters, they will eventually leave you alone. They might occasionally try their crap on you, but you have to continue to stay strong and ignore them. Bullies need an audience and the most important member of that audience is you, the target. If you don't care, their insults and abuse have no purpose. I know you do care, but don't let them think you do. If you need to cry, walk away strong and do it someplace private. You can't let them see your weakness, EVER. If they do see it, they will never really leave you alone.

Find people who are in your corner that honestly and truly care about you and your life. People should have to earn their way into your personal life. They should have to earn the right to have access to your heart and mind. If they don't show you that they are going to be a continuously positive player in your life, they need to go. But remember, you have to be that for them as well.

Good luck and remember that every life is valuable.
Rousana Rousana
41-45, F
1 Response Oct 17, 2012