Being Bullied At School
When I watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, it brought back a lot of memories for me, as I’m sure it did for a lot of you: being bullied and suicide were the ones for me.
I’m going to open up about something here which I’ve never ever talked about. Obviously my parents knew what was happening, but not my friends, nor you guys know.
Often what happened at school was known as the “group bully”. Where one person has an issue and the others followed suit – even if they don’t necessarily care / believe in it.
When I got to Intermediate (the worst time of my life), I was picked on from the moment I entered the class, by a certain group of people. It started out because my shoes were different, and from then on, who knows.
They would talk about me behind my back, and make horrible remarks to my face. They would laugh at me, and even once pulled a chair out from underneath me when I was sitting down. Not only did it cause me pain, but it was hugely embarrassing as it was in front of the entire class.
It was a joke to them, but it wasn’t to me.
I’m one of those people (even more so when I was a child) who is a people pleaser. I just want people to like me. So when this started happening, I was confused and upset.
Maybe because I was too nice. Maybe because I didn’t stand up for myself. For whatever reason: it happened.
My so called friends at the time even turned against me and would phase me out for whatever reason – never giving me an explanation. Whilst that might not be bullying (I hate using the word when it’s not true), it still hurt. Just in case you are reading this Jayne, Jemma, Janice, Bridgett, Karen: NOT YOU. Fuck I have too many friends with the letter J!
Because I would go home in tears about the way I was treated, my parents decided to talk to the school. BOTH of my parents are ex teachers, so felt that what was happening wasn’t right, and that talking to the school was a good move.
Sadly, the school believed that they needed to teach ME skills to cope with the bullying, and that they couldn’t do anything about the bullies themselves.
I spoke to my parents about this (prior to writing this blog) and they said they felt useless. They wanted to stand up for me, and to help me but the school wasn’t willing to help at all. I’m not sure if any of that has changed to be honest …
Whilst I understand why my parents did what they did, it honestly just made it worse. Suddenly it was verbalised to the bullies’ parents, which meant the kids came to school saying “we know what you did”.
They were also made to apologise to me. Which again didn’t help the cause, because to be honest, we all know they didn’t mean it.
Edited to add: My Form 2 teacher also wasn’t on my side. She made me feel like any time I spoke up, I was in the wrong. I will never forget her, or the way she made me feel.
Sadly when I got to High School it didn’t get any better. For the first 3 years of High School we were almost always in the same class.
It was like these people felt like they were better than me.
I got hit by a car once in 4th Form, and I remember vividly them laughing at me when I went back to school. I went home that day and cried; a lot.
Thankfully by the time 6th Form rolled around, we were able to choose different subjects and took different paths.
The bullying stopped, but my memories never went away. The terrible thoughts I had during that time in my life are still there in my mind.
I realise there are always ‘two sides to a story”, and I’m sure those girls felt like they weren’t doing anything wrong. But it affected me; hugely.
I just hope that as adults they have grown up from this, and that their children never do the same to anyone else. That is all I ask.
It is absolutely horrible being bullied and dreading going to school. To not know what you have done to cause someone to treat you a certain way. To doubt your entire being because a group of girls don’t like one aspect of you.
Some of you might say “it’s a rite of passage” but actually no it’s not. Not for the affect it has on people.
People commit suicide because of bullying.
I truly hope and pray my children never get bullied, and never bully anyone. I hope I am able to do as much for them as possible to teach them about being kind, and to stand up for themselves. Of course, I’ll be there doing my part too – because I will never allow anything to happen to my kids.
In my life I myself have not been perfect. I didn’t like everyone, and I’m sure I gossiped about people and spoke negatively about people myself. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not perfect.
This is just my story about what I experienced.
Here are some more links if you need to get help, of any kind, ASAP:
- Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354
- Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757
- Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116
- Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666
- Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
- Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
- Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
- Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
- Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
- For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation’s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).