The World According to Renee

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In honour of tomorrow’s National Day Against Bullying, I wanted to share my own experiences with bullying while I was at school.

I was bullied all through primary school, by both boys and girls. I was teased because of my hair (no matter how often I washed it, it always looked greasy), my name, how smart I was and how skinny I was (once, there was a rumour about me that I had AIDS, because I was so thin). Strangely, even though I was the first girl in my year to develop “up top”, I was never bullied about that.

Enduring hurtful comments every day was awful. I never cried in front of the bullies, but I did cry every day when I walked home. The bullies were bigger and stronger than me, and the girls were just plain nasty. My teachers knew, and wouldn’t do anything about it. My mum had meetings with the principal, who only said he’d keep an eye on it. I was sent to the school counselor, who told me to “pretend they were a tree”- I eventually worked out he meant I should ignore them. I did ignore them, every day, but it made them tease me more because they were waiting for a reaction. Those bullies wanted something from me, and even though they never got it, they tried harder.

In high school, I was bullied for much the same reasons. I was an awkward teenager: my hair was fine and oily, my face full of pimples and my mother’s Dutch genes starting to bring curves to my thin body. For some reason, my name was hilarious fodder for bullies and I was teased mercilessly. At that time, kids with similar last names from all levels were required to attend a 20 minute roll call after lunch. One girl, whom I shall name Bonnie, was a couple of years older than me and in this roll call. She and her male friend would constantly make jokes about me to my face, and I just ignored them as best I could. Bonnie and her friend Shane were two of the meanest people I have ever come across, and I was their target. I’d never done anything to them, my only crime was having a surname sharing the same first letter.

One day, Bonnie came to school with a twisted ankle. She was using crutches. After lunch, we were standing outside our roll call classroom waiting for the teacher to unlock the door. As we filed in, Shane hadn’t arrived yet and Bonnie was having trouble picking up her heavy bag while balancing on these crutches. I don’t know why I did it, but I picked up her bag and brought it inside to her usual seat, telling her I hoped her ankle was better soon. Shane wandered in not long after that; Bonnie told him the story, they both looked at me and never bullied me again.

This is a Happy Ending to my bullying story, but for so many others out there, they are tormented every day. I am so thankful that social media did not exist when I was at school. I can’t imagine the horrors that would have been posted on the internet for everyone to see and comment on. The face to face bullying is bad enough, never mind the stuff you don’t see which can follow you around long after the bullies have given up.

Nowadays the tolerance to bullying is zero. There is currently no one-size-fits-all solution to bullying either in school or the workplace. Cyberbullying, that is, hateful comments via social media, is currently unrestrained with few (if any) consequences for the bullies. The victims are well documented.

Today, remember the victims of bullying who weren’t as lucky as I am. Remember that words do hurt. Be kind to people.


March 20, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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