- Stop the rot (campaign tackling bullying)
I think I was quite lucky when it came to being bullied. It happened to me but if I was asked for the bad experiences in my life I don't think they would come to mind. A bonus of having a 'trauma;' all the usual life crap doesn't seem so bad. But then there are girls here and bullying is their 'trauma.'
I can't really talk about others' experiences of it though, I only know my own. I remember being in first school and two of the boys kept mocking my surname (I used to have my Dad's surname) so my mum went up to them at the playground and told them to stop it. That worked!
In Middle School me and three other girls were accused of bullying a boy. The girls and I had been best-friends right through first school but by the second year of Middle School we'd all drifted to separate groups so it was weird we were all accused. The fact we had all split up though, helped the teachers to see it was a lie. But I can still never forget being lined up in the little library and one of my favourite teachers was yelling at us; I'd never been shouted at before and it was even more upsetting that I was coming from a teacher I liked. And remember her saying how she was surprised to hear of two the girls bullying when they'd been through it themselves. I just stood there thinking 'oh so you can imagine me as a bully? Thanks, Miss.' Luckily the teachers believed all of us and the boy took back his allegation.
In High School, everything went really well, at first until I had a bad day and all of sudden everyone was sick of me moping about, I wasn't the chatty, happy, active Aimee I had been when I'd first came to the school. The everyday bullying for me, was just other pupils making sarcastic little remarks when I'd be cheeky to teachers or getting into trouble and the others would be sat there muttering for me to 'shut up' and things. It was horrible because I felt completely alone. I guess it's like when you're having an argument and your friends says you're the one that's out of order. You just feel like no one's got your back. You're in it alone; making a fool of yourself.
It got slightly worse towards the end of my compulsory years of schooling. As a coping mechanism for my 'trauma' I was restricting my eating a lot and had lost a ton of weight; I couldn't see it though, I was still paranoid of my 'thunder thighs' in PE. But I began getting horrible messages on MSN, they came from a girls' account who I knew but claimed not to be her, that they were my 'worst enemy.' I had a boyfriend at the time and they would send messages saying things like 'why would anyone be interested in you, you're a bag of bones?' and I was called a 'skeleton.' I told my Mum as my mood deteriorated and she called the Police to report the cyber bullying. My Head of Year apparently took all the girls we thought were behind it, into a room and it actually stopped. From then on, there were little rumours and bits of gossip going around about who had been behind it and then some of the girls were saying my best-friends had been part of it. It wouldn't have been so bad if a girl had just come up to me and pushed me over are called me names. It was the not knowing who was behind it, who I could trust, who was talking behind my back. So, to be on the safe side, I distanced myself from everyone.
I think, at one point in the summer of 2007, I actually had no friends, at all. That could've really affected me, there's been teenagers fall out with friends and have meltdowns but it was another plus to come from my 'trauma.' I was too busy getting my head around what was happening or had happened to me and keeping alive after it that I didn't dwell too much on whether I had someone to go drinking with.
Being at Hospital has helped me to understand bullying a lot more. Firstly, one of the girls has experienced it very badly and so, I've seen the effect it can have on people. I've also seen how behaviour can be misunderstood; I made a close relationship with three of the girls on the ward and we'd joke on that we were like Mean Girls but it soon stopped being a joke. One of the girls brought up an issue at a meeting about one of the girls in our little group and she admitted that it'd taken her so long to bring it up because everyone felt that if they confronted one of us then the others would jump in. I think we all felt a bit put in our place then and we explained that we never intended for the others to feel like that. It all came to a head when an agency staff said she was sick of all of this 'bullying' and that it was as though we woke up and decided to spoil everyone else's day. All of the girls jumped to our defence then, they said it was out of order and our little group decided to be less... Closed. I'd experienced being bullied and being accused of it. I hated both, but more so being accused.
Bullying doesn't help anyone. It destroys the confidence (and most recently, the lives) of those who it is put upon, and those accused of doing it (if they have a conscience) feel like such bad people when their behaviour is commented on.
If you witness someone being bullied then please don't turn the other way, help put a stop to it.