Adults Don't ListenMy Experience.
I am now 36yrs old and I am dealing with the extreme bullying I experienced at school. What I suffered at the hands of my peers has done irreparable damage to me.
How it started
When I was 7 yrs old I was pretty care free and if I’m honest I could be a bit of a bully myself. My best friend lived on the same street and we were in the same class at school. We had been friends for about 2 years when one winter break we had a fight.
We were playing in the snow in my backyard and had built snow forts to stage a massive snowball fight. Anyway, we had a disagreement about something and I ground snow into his face. Well I just thought of it as a simple falling out of friends and once school started we would settle our differences and be friends again.
That first day back was the pivoting point of my life and I was only 7 years old and was completely un-prepared for what I was about to experience. I arrived at school that morning to find my friend had gone early and wasted no time in persuading my class mates that I should be their sole focus of attention. I have just one memory of that day. I can still see him walking towards me taunting and insulting me before I had even set foot on school property and my class mates followed behind him and joined in. That day was a complete shock to me. The insults cut me to the core and continued and continued for days and weeks. I was in a class of 30 kids and all the boys would spend every minute of every break following me insulting me constantly. So many times they brought me too tears and saw me sob and sometimes lash out the initiator. This seemed to be very entertaining to them and it quickly became the “The game to play” at every break.
Where I was brought up, every break the boys would play as much soccer as they could before we had to go back to class. Suddenly this was better than soccer and I had to endure my entire class bullying me for the next 5 years at this level of intensity with another 4 years after that where they wouldn’t follow me to shout insults.
The one thing that stands out the most to me now after some counseling is that I had no support from any of the responsible adults around me. I was not legally responsible for myself neither where those doing the bullying but the list of adults that looked the other way while I was being brutalized is staggering.
The parents of the kids involved (60)
My parents (2)
Teachers (approx. 25)
Head Teachers (4)
Police involved in early incident involving the bullying (2)
Living grandparents (3)
Aunts & Uncles (18)
So at least 114 adults failed to do anything to stop this from continuing. I recently watched a CNN news segment about ending school bullying. In one clip from a new documentary I saw footage that showed a young boy being bullied and the teachers ineffective handling of the situation that trivialized the seriousness of the abuse. The bully showed no remorse and the victim knew that he wasted his time talking to an adult. I could not believe what I was seeing. I thought what I had suffered was impossible with what we know now and that blew that theory away completely. I was very upset after this as I knew all too well what that young guy was going through.
I find that the main campagn thrust to stop bullying over the years has been aimed at getting kids to speak up. I believe that we will have bullying with us until we as a society recognize the seriousness and the extent of bullying. This issue will only be real to most adults once we are prepared to make bullying a taboo activity in our own workplaces which are often rife with bullies that go unpunished too. Maybe this is why many adults don’t take school bullying seriously enough?
While I was being bullied I suffered:
Insults of every kind
Threats of violence
Public (entire school) humiliation
Threatening phone calls that included violence, humiliation and sexual assault
Being disallowed any friends at school (someone befriending me would be beaten)
Clothes missing from changing room
Being set up on a fake date with someones dog
I have 9 years worth of horror stories to tell…………
A childs mind isn’t capable of dealing with hearing only hateful things about themselves and dealing with the stress, fear, helplessness and self hate that developes from this. From the age of 7 I thought monthly about suicide for 9 years and have never been able to go very long without thinking about it since then. The only thing that prevented me following through was thinking what iit would do to my family.
This has also had consequences in my family life since. I have never really trusted my family or thought of them as being interested in my welllbeing. I recently wrote a letter asking why no one in my extended family took anytime to talk to me, find out what I was going through and help me? I have been feeling lately like cutting off all contact with them largely due to feeling like I have never been a full member of the family or shown the love and support that families are supposed to provide. If your kid tells you they are being bullied would you not rather prevent this situation from ever coming up in your family. You MUST do something!
Just some thoughts from me so I hope those reading know that they aren’t the only person to be hurt by bullies.