SOCIAL MEDIA

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

#AntiBullyingWeek


This week  marks anti bullying week, so I thought that it is important that I take the time to blog about it. Over 25,700 children and young people spoke to Childline last year regarding bullying. (NSPCC) Already this number is absolutely shocking but there are also so many children and young people who don't speak. Unfortunately, bullying is no longer something that just happens in a playground, but a rising amount of bullying now happens behind screens. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people, with victims of bullying being 9 times more likely to take their own lives. The link between suicide and bullying is scary, if only we could tackle bullying and save these lives. So I want to take the time today to share my bullying story with you.


For the purpose of this story let's call my bully Gina. When I was 17 years old, I was part of a big group of friends, whereby there were about 7 of us. Gina, who was the newest member had decided that I no longer belonged in the group. In an attempt to push me out she began to make my life hard. It started with her saying small mean comments that whilst they upset me, I kept my head up high. However, it soon turned into her controlling which meetups I could attend and saying that if I turned up there would be trouble. So I stayed away and began to be isolated. I would spend my lunch and break times in another room where I would just work as I wasn't welcome to hang out in the common room with everyone else. The comments worsened and I spent a growing amount of time in the toilets crying. One day I had had enough of all of this, so I plucked up the courage to see Gina and asked what her problem with me was. And as I stood in front of her raging and slightly shaking, Gina and her friend burst out laughing in my face, a total mockery. I had 2 "friends" by my side who saw everything but didn't say a word. In that moment they reduced me to nothing. I calmly walked out of the room, ran to the toilets and broke down. That was it, I was done with all this. Why me? What I had done? It wasn't till half an hour later when I went to walk to my lesson that my head of year found me with bloodshot eyes, completely defeated. She asked me what was wrong and at first I said I was fine and walked off. But a few hours later, I found myself standing at her office door ready to tell her what had been happening. She listened but that was all, nothing was done. Gina was going through a tough time at home and so it kept the teachers from doing anything. I had to just power  through and hope it would stop. But it didn't. In fact it got so much worse.


  A couple of weeks later. I sat in my french lesson, watching for the clock to hit lunchtime. As I packed up my stuff and left the classroom, one of my best friends was waiting for me outside and she said the following sentence; "I love you. Gina has said something really bad and I want you to know that no one agrees with her." When I demanded what had been said she wouldn't tell me. Instead she told me to go to another one of my friends who had witnessed it all. So I did, but again she refused saying the words were too horrible to say out loud again. I was fuming, what had Gina said that could be so bad that no one would dare tell me. So I stormed around the sixth form trying to find someone who would tell me what had been said. Finally I found someone who told me words that in hindsight I do wish I had never heard. These words had been declared to a whole room of my fellow year mates. "If Angela was hit by a bus tomorrow, I would laugh. She is better off dead." In that moment everything crashed. Someone wanted me to die and that was the worst feeling in the world. I went back to my toilet cubicle, the one that had witnessed so many tears fall down my cheeks. I found myself sitting on the floor with my head phones on full volume, wanting all of this to be a bad dream. Once I calmed down a little I went to my old head of year, maybe she could help. So in floods of tears I told her everything, but again, a comforting shoulder was given but nothing was done. That night when I got home,I had no energy, I was exhausted. My mum took one look at me and knew something was up. So I told her. But before I knew it the police were being phoned and everything felt like it was spiralling out of control. A report was filled, the school was being contacted by the police and we were waiting for the police to come over to our house to take a statement. It was one of the worst weekends of my life. Why was all of this happening? I didn't want it to. (Luckily for me the police never turned up) But on Monday morning, 9am, I was called into my head of years office as an investigation had to be carried out. Everyone who had been a witness was interviewed and the facts were put together. Gina admitted to everything. I asked the school not to tell Gina that the police were involved through fear of what she would do to me and to this day I don't know if she ever found out. She was told to stay away from me, and so she did. And just like that everyone forgot and moved on, but me. Sometimes the words still circulate in my head "she is better off dead" and i wonder if these are words I will carry with me forever. However, these are just words and unless I give them the power to, they can't weigh me down anymore.


The point of me telling you this story is because its important to talk about bullying. Its important to share our stories to comfort those who are in similar situations. Telling someone about a bully is scary and sometimes the people that should help don't, but keep going until you find someone who will. In my case the police had to be that source of help but usually telling a trusted adult such as a teacher or a parent is enough. Of course I have mainly been talking about bullying happening to children and teenagers,but bullying can happen at any stage in a persons life.
Sadly, world leaders are being elected who are bullies themselves, who bully against minority's and so we will probably see an increase in the number of victims of bullying and in turn the number of lives taken. If you are being bullied I want you to hear this. No matter what they are saying you are beautiful, you are worth it, you are a decent human being who deserves happiness. Reaching out for help is the scariest thing you will have to do but it is also the only path to freedom. In the meantime please stay strong <3


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