This week is Beat Bullying Week, and although some people will just pass it off as another week to raise awareness about another cause, it IS important.
When I was younger I didn’t have a horrendous time with bullying, I was lucky enough that I could usually hold my own, and I wasn’t completely isolated by bullying. Although a quite a lot of memories rush into my brain when I think about my past experiences with bullies.
One situation that comes to mind was when I was on the school bus, when I was 11. A 15 year old decided that because I was ginger, it would be fun to start a fight. Normally, I try to avoid physical confronts, but that becomes pretty hard when someone is punching and kicking you, with her friends jeering her on. I can take a beating, that wasn’t the main thing that bothered me, it was the fact that everyone, including the bus driver and my friends, ignored that I was getting the crap beaten out of me. After that I quickly learned that if you are in this sort of situation, you might be lucky enough for a passer-by to step in to help, but not to expect too much from people. Why? Well that’s simple, people do NOT want to get involved. It’s easier for them to just carry on their business. But that’s wrong, the only way to beat bullying is to stand up to it, to face it, and extinguish it as soon as it becomes apparent. My school fortunately knew this, and the 15 year old involved was banned from the bus, though no apology was ever given.
I haven’t just experienced physical harm because I am ginger, even in my last year at school when I was 16, a 13 year old was dared to sing “set fire to the rain” to me, and dance very inappropriately. This was, needless to say, very humiliating. When I spoke to my head of year about this incident he was pretty shocked to hear about it, and was even more shocked when I told him that I didn’t expect an apology. Why? Well I have experienced varying amounts of “stick” because of my hair colour ever since I can remember, and in all honesty it is the adults who treat me the worst. Unless you can change people’s minds on what is classed as bullying, there isn’t a huge a lot you can do. And although for this situation I did receive a personal apology and got the chance to talk to the boy involved about why “taking the mick” out of someone is wrong, I have only changed one person’s view. Bullying needs everyone’s views to change, not just the one!
There are no excuses for bullying, it IS wrong on all levels, from cyber bullying to gingerism, not one act of bullying is acceptable.
I hope that by me sharing some of my experiences with bullying, this will change how you will act when you next see a child getting the crap beaten out of them, or how you will react when your child comes home saying that they are getting picked on. Because not only does bullying hurt, it is so hard to go through on your own. I say this because I was bullied and I don’t want anyone else to get bullied EVER!