Hands up who has never been bullied, picked on or called names? NO ONE! So why is one of the hot topics in the media bullying. There seems a constant stream of stories of someone who has been bullied at school.
While I do not condone bullying in any form, I find it very hard to believe that it hasn’t happened to most, if not all people at some point in their lives. I don’t know why its news, other than it’s happening more electronically now. In my day… once you were away from school you were “safe”. But with the rise of social media and electronic connectivity in your pocket… it seems pretty simple to me, block them, turn it off, change your number. Do not let them in to your life.
Humans are on the whole awful creatures. We seem to thrive on misery and making ourselves out to be “better” than others. Children can be particularly cruel. School, high school particularly is somewhere I’d never wish to go back to.
My fourth form (year 10) class was “the worst they’d ever had“. We had some awful bullies in my class and had class counselling. Early in the year a couple of the girls obviously spoke up and were shifted to other classes.
We also had a self harmer in the class who would regularly dissect his clipbinder folder during class and slash his hands so badly with the metal that he’d have to leave.
We had the bullies who would sexually harass the girls and physically smack another kid’s head on the desk because they didn’t like him. (I suspect now, that he may have been gay and considered an easy target.)
I had bad acne and was (and still am) a computer nerd (I prefer the term geek).
But a bully will pick on anything to use as their weapon against you.
So after a while we had class counselling, which was as useful as… well it wasn’t, it was a farse. Who is going to rat out the bullies when they are there?
I learnt pretty quickly that bullies picked easy targets. But I wasn’t going to be one of them. In hindsight, standing up to bullies is not what they want, they want an easy target. My first line of defense was to keep a low profile, I typically wouldn’t draw attention to myself, right through high school, even very few of the teachers knew my name. That’s the way I wanted it.
If I got bullied, usually because of my awful skin, I’d throw back a smart insult to the worst of the bullies. I had, and still have a smart mouth, a cutting wit and a vocab that would make a sailor blush. This more than anything likely saved my vegetarian bacon.
I quickly found that bullies lost their bravado when I referenced their extremely small dicks or bit back using a string of swear words. If they thought I was a retiring wall-flower, they were well wrong, and neither of these reactions were what they expected from the quiet, spotty, nerd girl in the back row. And if I could make others laugh, even better. They after a while left me alone, I suspect with a healthy dose of respect, or perhaps fear that they may have met their match.
I don’t know what ever became of any of these kids, but I heard a rumour that the self harmer did actually manage to commit suicide in the end. His life never got better than high school. 😦
I don’t have kids, but parents need to tell their children about bullies. Give them the skills needed to deal with it. Children are taught to be compliant and do as their are told. Bullies use this to their advantage and use their pretense of authority to their benefit.
Children need to know that it is ok to disagree, to stand up for themselves and to say “no, stop!” and to have the authority to “tell tales”. They also need to know that it will pass, things will get better and it won’t last forever.
Don’t give up, fight back. Don’t let the fuckwits win.