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Have Your Say: Bullying

It’s a sad realisation that most of us are bullied or affected by bullying in our lifetime. I’ve been bullied most of my life and it isn’t a pleasant experience. However, now that I am older and wiser and I can look back at my experience with a positive perspective, I see now that being bullied has made me a stronger person.

There are many reasons why a bully targets someone but growing up, I never knew why it kept happening to me. I never told anybody because I knew that it would only make things worse. There was one occasion that I did tell the teacher and all she did was remove the girl from the class and put her in another one, this didn’t stop her and if anything it fuelled her to bully me further. I remember being pushed down the stairs, called names and she even poured paint over my GCSE artwork. I think that teachers in schools need to be more aware bullying and something needs to change with the way that they approach and deal with the situation. Suffering in silence only makes it worse, I know that now.

I’ve been physically bullied, emotionally bullied and cyber bullied and although it was hard to go through, I now see that the people who bullied me were unhappy with their own lives. I believe that people project their insecurities onto others as a way of coping with their own problems. This does not make me sympathetic towards them. I believe that bullying somebody because they are different in any way is cruel and unnecessary.

Being bullied is a part of life and how we choose to overcome it says a lot about us as individuals. Some people let it define them. They believe the things that others have said and doubt their self-worth and ability to succeed. Then there are the people who choose to take something positive from their negative experience. That is exactly what I decided to do. It wasn’t easy; at first I was the person that let it define me. I had low self-esteem; I constantly doubted myself and didn’t believe that I was good enough to do anything that I wanted to do.

One day it changed. I realised that being different wasn’t something to be ashamed of; we are all different because there is no such thing as normal. The turning point for me was when I realised that I was not singled out, everybody goes through it at some point and once I started to build my confidence up and enjoy life and being myself, I left the traces of my past behind me.

    Below are some opinions and experiences with bullying that I collected from my friends.

Since the age of 7 to 16, I was bullied throughout school. Even though I know I wasn’t alone and that almost everyone has gone through it, I let it bother me more than I let on. I still feel insecure about it all, after all these years. I still think about the words that were said to me. It took me a while to try to love myself for who I was. Honestly, I never told any teachers about it because I never thought it was necessary and thought it wouldn’t go anywhere anyway. My friends at the time said I should have, but I never did. My younger brother was having trouble at school a couple years ago, and his teachers asked my mum if they could just sort it between themselves. Which I personally think is ridiculous. Teachers should care more about their pupils and their lives. If my teachers had, maybe I wouldn’t have been made to feel like I was worthless for nearly 11 years. And the really stupid thing is I still care way too much about what other people think – Jessica Dunn.

When I attended elementary school (USA) I was teased mercilessly while riding the bus to school because I was heavy. The driver did not seem to care or try to intervene. Riding that bus was frightening, embarrassing and degrading. I tried the, “Mom I have a stomach ache” ploy every day to keep from going. Unfortunately, I was too introverted to share this nightmare with either of my parents. This memory brings shivers down my back and a lump to my throat – Kathleen Gemmell.

I was bullied when I was at boarding school in Northern Ireland to the point where I had run away from school multiple times just to get away from it and that lasted up until I was about 15. I learnt from it and became stronger. I think it is a natural thing and is part of natural selection. Dogs do it; monkeys do it, its normal and character building. It’s what prepares you to be an adult and how to defend yourself or fight back. People need to stop trying to create a nanny state in my opinion. In the wild if you are weak and add nothing to your pack/society then you probably don’t live very long. Which obviously makes logical sense as the pack acts as one big unit and you’re only as strong as your weakest link, fast forward a few thousand years and your pack is essentially the country you live in, where being the slow asthmatic fat kid doesn’t mean you’re going to be the one getting eaten by animals if you can’t keep up. But it did make me what to lose weight and become social and fit. I was bullied for being English and for being fat and all that meant for me was to change my accent which happens naturally and to start trying to get myself slim and strong. I did both of those to the point where I was able to bully the bullies, so bulling worked out great for me. I wouldn’t change being bullied for one second and I also wouldn’t try to prevent it. It’s part of what makes me, me. I obviously needed to be bullied to know I needed to sort myself out – Peter A.

I personally think it is difficult to know what you can regard as bullying. There are situations in my past where someone may have purposefully said or done things in order to make me feel upset or bad about myself in which some cases still have some effects on me today. However at the time I did not consider it as ‘bullying’. If those situations would have happened to someone else, they may not have reacted (felt as bad about themselves) in the same way as I did and may not have had the same effect later in life. There is a situation that sticks in my mind where in the classroom Year 7, the teacher moved me away from all of my friends who remained grouped together and placed me on a rowdy table. I was the small quiet, keeps-herself-to-herself, got-on-with-her-work nerd and I definitely didn’t understand why I was moved and had to sit there – I hadn’t done anything wrong, it was just a decision she had made that I had to abide by. I now realise that it was probably an attempt at settling the boisterous table. The table’s focus turned their attention to me; they began drawing on my work, taking my belongings away from me and laughing at me etc. I would inform the teacher of what was happening to which she would exclaim ‘stop it’ to the students and continue with whatever she was doing and so did they. When I had to go to her to get my work marked I took all of my belongings with me, which she thought, was hilarious and I was then again humiliated and laughed at in front of the whole class, which was particularly traumatising. This isn’t the worst type of thing that can happen to someone regarding bulling but it could have escalated further than this outside of school, which would then be a matter not concerning them. She created a situation where a student was likely to become a target and likely to feel uncomfortable and outcast. It was obvious that she could see how reserved of a person I was and unlikely to ‘fit in’ and able to defend myself around those characters.  This type of situation happened a few times during school. This situation actually angers me; surely teachers are trained on how to not encourage bullying and knowing to stop a situation when they see it. I’m all for being pushed out of your comfort zone but becoming a target? Too far – Charlotte Bickett.

I was bullied briefly when I was little and most of the time it’s just pure jealously. It can be so hard though, especially if it’s physical and mental. You just have to be strong and let people know so that they can support you – Rebecca Lawrence.

I was bullied throughout primary school and high school and even a small bit in college. Beaten up and made fun of, not really sure why they did it but over the time in school I found out it was because I actually cared about my education or because of the friends I had, called because I was a “swot”. It hurt me a lot and was always scared. But I started to stand up for myself and I’ve got myself on the right path. And perhaps if I didn’t get bullied maybe things would be different. But I am stronger for it and more confident with myself. But like Rebecca said, its jealousy. But also a lot of the time bullies are doing it because of things that go on at home like being bullied by a sibling or a parent and it’s their way to get their anger out. I’m not saying it’s okay for them to bully other people because of it but perhaps instead of schools sitting you down so you can “talk it out” which never worked they should perhaps look closer to home first because a lot of the kids that get bullied never know why it’s happening. Schools need to be stricter with it. Reports/detentions etc. don’t stop them; it just fuels their anger more towards you. I was upset and scared at the time but in a small way I’m grateful for it now, as I wouldn’t be who I am – Raechel Holt.

I think bullying is something that we all go through at some point in our lives. There’s so many aspects to it now, it’s no longer name calling, there’s physical bullying, psychological bullying, cyber bullying and the list goes on. I was bullied for a long time when I was in secondary school. It got to the point where I stayed in my room for 6 months. Wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t talk. It mentally affected me and I couldn’t get over it. The psychological bullying became physical when I was pushed in front of a bus. Talking to the teachers didn’t help. They said it was just a phase and that the bully would get over it and move on. I got annoyed at the fact the teachers thought it was okay for the bully just to move on to a new target and not punish him for what he was doing wrong. Nobody should be subjected to bullying and I feel that not enough is being done within schools, work places or even homes to make any difference. And even when people do speak up about it, they are told to be quiet rather than being heard and helped. It gets to a point where bullying becomes so bad some feel there’s no other option other than to take their own life… Is a person taking his or her own life really worth a bully’s satisfaction? Do they feel guilt for making another person feel that way, or do they just not care? Either way there has to be a way to stop it, starting at the source!! – Charlotte Appleyard.

Bullying is wrong no matter who you are and your situation. Everyone deserves to be happy and the bullies are often insecure. If you’re getting bullied, just remember that you are a good person and will come out the other side stronger than ever – Sofi Haigh.

Thank you to all of the people who contributed to this article. There will be another Have Your Say article posted next week. Comment below on your thoughts on bullying.

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