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Care to Share
At least 10 of my friends and I were chilling after school and the topic of bullying came up. Our generation hears about it every day and we have to deal with bullying and the effects of it almost on a daily basis. There are teens our age taking their lives, people stressed to the max at the age of 16 and others that cannot or will not go back to school. I sometimes wonder, is bullying a new trend or is there just new light being cast on an old issue? Did you ever experience bullying?
~ Care to Share
Dear Care to Share
People hear the word bullying, but I don’t think they can see the long-term effect and hurt it can have on others. I was bullied, but back in my day, the tools and resources available today were not the same. My bullying first started while I was in elementary school. It started as name calling from people I never knew and slowly I became a target to anyone who had a bad day and wanted to look big to their friends. The sad part was I even started to get called names and cruel tricks played on me by the ones I thought were my friends, the ones who I thought would stand up and have my back. Now these same friends, when no one was around, they would always say how sorry they were for hurting my feelings, followed by how they didn’t want to look like they were my friends in school, because if they did, the gang would start picking on them as well… Bullies robbed me of my friends and my trust…
The first part of the school year, my fear and sadness would show or I would just hang my head down hoping they would just leave me alone or disappear, but I would get teased even more, so I started to learn how to hold back my anger and tears and acted like it didn’t bother me. I think at that moment, I was becoming a quiet storm… Bullies robbed me of my happiness and confidence…
The first thing you’re told is to tell someone, so I told teachers, my parents, and you would hear things like “they are just kids” or “they will grow out of it.” After I complained over and over, it would work at first, but they always found ways to get me when I least expected it. For example, the pushing would stop on Monday, but the spreading of lies and gossip would be told to everyone on Tuesday and I would walk into a classroom full of laughter and everyone pointing at me. The teacher would calm everyone down, but the damage was already done. This seemed huge to me back then, but times have changed and today’s generation of bullies also use the internet to spread such gossip and lies. I found the more I told the authorities about what was happening, the bigger the size of the target I wore on my back. And yes, things got worse, especially after school… Bullies robbed me of my security, protection, and reputation…
With only weeks left before school ends, I look back on how the days of teasing, name calling, picking on my clothes, hair and shoes, how days of being scared turned into weeks and then months, how some bullies were able to still get to me while outsmarting the people who tried to protect me, how I became a loner in the hallways because I didn’t trust my friends, how I couldn’t wait for the school year to finish… Bullies robbed me of my memories and self-esteem….
Then it happened, the week before school ended, the gang cornered me on my way home, pushing, punching and yelling things. “I want you to remember us for the next year and wherever you go, so will we,” one of them said. Scared, bleeding and alone, I started yelling for help and just then, a hand hit me again in the mouth. I am unsure how this happened next, but my hand came back and punched the person. As they fell to the ground, I found myself on top of them, still punching out of control, crying and screaming. The others ran away, calling me crazy just as a parent or adult passed by and took me off the person and flung me to the ground, calling ME – yes, ME – a bully! Bullies robbed me for the last time.
I may have looked like a bully in the eyes of this stranger, but I know the truth – I am not a bully. I just had enough. And as I continued on through school and gained real friends, I started protecting the ones bullies would prey on. I made sure anyone who was being bullied knew how to find their voice, and I made sure those who bullied me saw a positive team of people around me and in return showed them just how weak, alone and afraid they really were.
Today, you have organizations youth can speak with and action plans in place within schools to help you have unity and a movement where youth will not tolerate bullying anymore. You have laws now where these bullies can be charged, but most importantly, I feel you have the knowledge and support systems today that I never had growing up. Remember this: you are powerful, unique and beautiful, NO ONE has the right to cause you pain or fear. Don’t be afraid to tell someone and if they don’t listen, tell another person and another person. You do not deserve to be bullied and you do not have to take it.