Having experienced school bullying myself, I would like to give a detailed scenario of what it is like to be a target for those who have been fortunate not to have been bullied. My aim is to put you in the shoes of a target so that you can better understand what they are forced to endure daily. When it comes to living with bullying, no story is far-fetched or unlikely.
Imagine you’re in Middle School or High School. You wake up in the morning and eat breakfast. While you eat, your mother is busy preparing to go to work. You stare at your mother, wanting so badly to tell her was is happening at school and how much you hurt inside. But you’re much too afraid. If you do tell her, will she assure you that she will address the situation or will she tell you that it’s all just a part of the school experience and that you should just put up with it?
Will she put her arms around you, give you loving motherly advice and tell you that none of it is your fault or blame you, telling you that you must be doing something to bring it all on yourself? Will she listen to you, or will she just dismiss you and tell you to ignore the bullies?
You ponder these questions and what your mother might say and then decide that maybe opening up is a bad idea. You are also ashamed…of being bullied. How can you tell your family that you are the pariah of your school…that you are number one must wanted among your peers…and not in a good way? What will they say? How will they react?
Soon, it’s time to go to the bus stop. You go, however reluctantly. You stand there, waiting for the school bus, hoping that maybe it broke down on the side of the road, had a flat, that something happened to delay it. You absolutely dread seeing the bus approach. You have a lump in your throat and it is extremely hard to swallow. You are terrified because you know what’s coming the moment you step onto that bus and later, when you walk through the school entrance. Just like every day before…and for the past several years, you will be ambushed, caught in a vicious onslaught of ugly names, taunts, digs, cruel pranks and probably even punches, kicks and shoves!
Just knowing this is enough to paralyze you and make your stomach turn. As you see the school bus approaching, your heart sinks and your stomach turns somersaults. You wonder if the torment will ever end. You wonder when the day will finally arrive when you can be like everyone else…strolling easily along in school, enjoying friends, laughing it up, and having the time of your life. You wonder, “Why not me?”
When the bus stops in front of you, the doors swing open and you step on. An instant hush falls over the other passengers and you notice the furtive looks, giggles and disapproving grunts as you make your way down the aisle to the first empty seat. Suddenly, you hear several different voices, “Oh God! Not him/her again!” “Hey, bitch/punk! How does it feel that nobody likes you?” “Nobody will EVER like you! You should have been aborted at birth!” “You’re such a waste! Why don’t you kill yourself?” This has been happening for so long that you have tried to overlook the taunts, numbing your pain and stuffing it deep down inside. However, you can only do this for so long.
As you near an empty seat, a girl gets up and spits in your face. A boy gets behind you and shoves you forward so hard you almost fall to the floor. Then you find an empty seat and sit down. The girl sitting behind you borrows glue from a little first grader and pours it in your long, shiny-clean hair. Another girl pours red food coloring down the back of your nice white blouse and brand-new jeans!
Now you must go to school with glue in your hair and a soiled outfit, only to be further ridiculed. You mother must work so there’s no way she can come take you home for a hair wash and clothes change. And because you don’t want to be a burden to your parents by telling them that you need for one of them to bring you a clean set of attire, you’re stuck at school all day, disheveled.
(to be continued in Part 2…)