Childhood Bullying: will this ever stop?

There is a big secret about my past that I have only told a handful of people – I was bullied.

At the age of 14, I broke down and contemplated suicide. I just wanted the constant name-calling, stalking, and abuse to stop.

I was an awkward child – tall for my age, highly intelligent, and social inept. I could not relate to children my age and was only comfortable around people much older than I was. I hardly ever watched cartoons. Instead of Paula Abdul and MC Hammer, I “rocked out” to classical music and Swing music from the 1920’s. My style was eclectic and unique. And “becoming a woman” at 10 and going from scrawny to curvy in a summer, only made things worse.

Things were rough in school. I was poor and odd in a sea of the rich and popular elite. When my parents divorced, things went from bad to hell-on-earth. Not only did I stand out for being different, now I was the only one in my class who lived with a single father.

We went from struggling for money to surviving on government assistance.  From affording department store clothing to scrounging, rummage sales and thrift stores. Do you know those families that receive church handouts during the holiday times? Yep. That was my family.

So, now I really stood out.

As if daily bullying was not enough, when I turned 13, a girl named Jessica spotted me on the bus. From that day on, it became her personal mission in life to ruin mine.

She stalked me on and off the bus. And when our physical education class was scheduled together, she interfered with my privacy. I had to start dressing out in the bathroom stall. Then she would climb under it, or look over it. She called me “dike” and spread rumors that my female friends and I messed around. Any boy who even looked at me, she was quick to tell them I was a lesbian.

I was not a lesbian, though. And I felt bad for some of this kids I knew who were struggling with their sexuality. People like Jessica made my life a living hell all based on a lie, I could not imagine what they could do to people who were gay.

With time, her abuse turned from verbal to physical. I had landed a part in the musical and had to stay after school for practice. I was leaving the choral department one evening when Jessica and her three thug friends jumped me. I only got away because a teacher came walking down the stairs.

For years, I had cried to my parents and teachers. I had refused to go to school. I had skipped school. Hid out in parks, praying the school would not call my house. Teachers told me to toughen up. My dad told me to stop being a geek. And it got to the point where I felt no one was listening to me. And they never would.

I felt isolated. Worthless. Miserable. Then numb. I just wanted it all to end.

Thankfully, something stopped me. I stopped and realized what I was contemplating. Still, no one listened to me until I broke down before a choral concert, crying, “I don’t want to die.”

It has taken years to heal from the torture and pain bullies caused. There are still scars I will live with my entire life.

These scars ache when I hear of children taking their life due to bullying.

Over the weekend, I learned of a 10 year-old who took her life because she was being bullied. Teachers, school officials, even the girls’ mother failed to take her concerns seriously.

Her story reminds me of my own – children calling her names, calling her gay, parents denying her pleas for homeschooling.

Why does this continue? What is wrong with our society that children cannot get the help they need? Why does our society foster hatred?!?

BULLYING IS NEVER OKAY. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of a bully, tell an adult! Don’t let them ignore your plea for help!!

Please take a moment to check out and share some of these Stop Bullying resources. Together, we can make change.

Stop Bullying.Gov             Bullying Prevention Resource 

Kids  Against Bullying         Childline        Kidscape

I know there are many more valuable anti-bullying resources I have left out. Feel free to add any in the comment section to help others.

If you or someone you know are contemplating suicide, please do not hesitate to seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – US – has a section on its webpage about bullying prevention. In the UK, there is the HopeLineUK. Their number is confidential – 0800 068 41 41.

suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

 

 

 

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4 responses to “Childhood Bullying: will this ever stop?

  1. EndoChick,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I too was bullied throughout junior high and highschool, and it has come back to haunt me in a big way, so your story could not come at a better time than when this is forefront on my mind. In grade 7, one of my “friends” decided to make up some rumors about me, including that I had tried to commit suicide with a butter-knife (of all things!). Going through the halls of highschool, I would have chants of “butterknife” hurled through the air. A boy that I had liked left a note for me in science class, in a sealed envelope, that included a plastic butterknife from the cafeteria. I couldn’t even walk through the mall without hearing these taunts. I changed highschools, which helped a bit, but word quickly gets around and seems to follow you as much as you want to escape it. I even had to have police involvement when I was surrounded by these people on the bus and they would threaten what they were going to do to me.

    Fastforward 20 or so years and this is how bullying still effects me: Using the rumor that someone had created in grade 7, my ex is claiming in court proceedings for custody of our child, that I have history of depression and suicidality, and was even “renowned” for it in highschool. One person, that long ago, who was bent on destroying my life, has managed to make progress to this date in doing so.

    My son who is gifted, has a learning disability, epilepsy, ADHD and trauma, is now being bullied at his current school. I have already intervened on his behalf, but would love for society just to accept the fact that we all may be a bit “different” but those differences are to be celebrated rather than punished. Nobody should have to feel scared to be who they are.

    Hugs,
    M

    • Seeing history repeat itself in your children is awful. It is 2011 and still don’t have a way to stop bullying! And the media available now makes the act too easy

  2. Endochick,

    I am so, so sorry for all of the pain you endured! Bullying is an insidious, damaging, painful experience that no one should ever have to go through. I’m so sorry that you reached a point where you contemplated taking your own life. It makes me incredibly sad.

    Thank you for bravely sharing your story here. It is entirely possible that posting your story in this way may help someone who reads this!

    I can certainly see where the tragic death you referenced may have triggered some painful memories for you. I’m sorry.

    I am so, so glad that you did not act on your thoughts of suicide. Your compassion, thoughtfulness, insightfulness, intelligence, and humor brighten the days of so many people! It saddens me that things could have turned out differently. I’m so glad that they didn’t and that you are safe!

    In addition to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the other links you provided, here are some websites that might be helpful for people:

    International Association for Suicide Prevention – Resources: Crisis Centers (Just click this link to find the hotline nearest you… from around the world).

    Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

    Stomp Out Bullying

    It is truly heartbreaking how many children have taken their own lives after being bullied due to their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Here is one of many organizations that are working to help break this tragic cycle:

    The Trevor Project

    Finally, for a blog post directed at youth, Shaping Youth posted Talk To Me: Because Media Matters For Youth Outreach for National Suicide Prevention Day this year.

    Thank you for this very important post and thank you again for sharing what happened to you. It truly may help others.

    Jeanne

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