I’ll never forget the first time someone told me my freckles were ugly. I’ll never forget what it was like to immediately run home and do my best to scrub them off my face. I’ll never forget the first time someone shoved me down to the floor and told me I was stupid. I’ll never forget how hard I cried. When the teachers asked me where the bruises and dirt on my face came from and how I could only tell them I was playing too hard on the playground. When Justin, the biggest kid in the third grade, yanked on my ponytails and shoved me into walls ad gave me bloody noses. Another one, William, always kicking me to the dirt. On a snowy winter day, I was pushed off the playset. Landing face first on the ground, I was left with a split open bottom lip that I could only say came from my own clumsiness. Macaroni art and finger paints were destroyed along with my character. I couldn’t bare to tell my mom and dad. How could I? If I told them the truth I’d only be a snitch. If I told them the truth I’d only look pathetic. Plus it was normal anyways? Right?
Kids are bullied everyday and no, it’s not normal. Things like these happen all the time to children and teens everywhere. According to stopbullying.gov, the definition of bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” Just as kids like Justin and William attacked me while others stood and did nothing but laugh. Or just as kids gang up on other kids every day and no one intervenes. If you are a bystander it is your responsibility to get help. should be common sense to know that if someone is hurting someone else in any way, shape, or form, it’s wrong. have the power to stop it. Of course that doesn’t mean you have to get involved physically. Your voice is a powerful device and you should always let someone of authority know what’s happening.
Colby Morgan was a kid at my school in sixth grade who chose his victims at random. He decided who he wanted to pick on and when. There was always time in his schedule for me. The day my parents split will never be forgotten and Colby was there to remind me. To tell me that it was my fault and tease me about it for days and days. Standing up to the bully wasn’t much of an option. He’d hit and kick me, beat me to the ground until I could hardly stand. The school did nothing, insisting that I leave him alone and he will leave me alone. But there was your problem. Bully’s don’t leave kids alone, they choose the weak and crush them until they’re bored of it.
Had a girl in my grade not stood up to Colby and got others involved, I would have been beaten senseless everyday. Mikayla Lavery, a great friend of mine for a long time, and a group of her friends invited me to sit when I sat alone. Gave me a shield when I needed it and who knew simply having some friends who stood up for you and supported you was enough to keep jerks away.
By just offering to be someone’s friend you have the power to change a person’s entire life around. Thebullyproject.com states that one sof the best ways to help a victim is to be their friend. To let them know that they have someone and they are not alone. Standing by or with them is a huge advantage over the bully. Another thing the site recommends you can do is get not only yourself involved, but get others involved as well. One bully or even a few won’t stand a chance against a group of people who are willing to stay strong for each other.
Now here’s something strange; this you might not have thought of, but these attackers are people too. Anna Pierce and Hannah Nolan were two of the meanest girls in the sixth, seventh, eighth and even ninth grade. The power duo of the girl world. They told girls what to wear, how to look, and how to act and if you didn’t fit into their exact specifications, you were thrown to the ground. The blood running down my cheek from a powerful blow the the head by tennis racket was one thing I will remember about them, not to mention their verbal abuse to top it off.
I took it upon myself to contact both of these girls recently and as I confronted them about their actions, they both, to my surprise, apologized profusely. After some conversation, I learned a lot about why the were so cold. Little did I know that Anna’s dad was a raging alcoholic. He beat her and her twin brother almost everyday. As for Hannah, her parents always fought and eventually divorced after her brother became terminally ill. I learned he later died from Angiosarcoma of the heart. A rare form of soft tissue cancer, usually not diagnosed until it’s in advanced stages.
While keeping in mind it’s important to protect yourself and others, the most important thing ever is trying to understand what life is like from the perspective of the antagonist. Anna and Hannah behaved the way they did because they were angry and afraid. When things like that happen people get defensive, to the point where they can’t even control themselves anymore. They may not even realise they are hurting others. Blueknot.org mentions that agessive behavior is one of the common side effects, along with depression, low self-esteem, dissosciation, self-harming behaviors and much more, that occur when children face abuse. They don’t know how to cope.
I’m sure that Justin, William, Colby, Anna, Hannah, and all the other kids out there have their own struggles to face when they go home at the end of the day. While defending yourself and others, keep your attitude nice and positive. It still stands that no one should be bullying, it’s never okay. But you never know the reasons why. The best thing to do is to be a friend to everyone. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato