Anti Bullying Week 2019
Have you ever been stung by a bee? Yes, its very painful, but the reason why it is so painful is that its stinger is released into your skin. It is leaving behind a venomous toxin that can cause a lot of pain and other symptoms.
So why am I giving a lesson on bees and giving information that you probably already know? Well this week is Anti-bullying week 2019, ‘Change starts with us’ and whenever anyone talks about bullying or I hear it mentioned, it always takes me back to a place and time to when I was bullied at school.
Probably about 10 years after it had happened, I was talking to a friend of mine about my experience of bullying and I was struggling to understand why I was still getting upset when talking about it. She explained to me that she saw the experience of me being bullied, as if my whole body had been covered in bee stings and that I was still trying to pull out the stingers one by one years later. The impact that it had on my life had been huge, but I just hadn’t realised it. The symptoms that I was still experiencing was because of the venomous toxin that each stinger had released into my body.
The bullying lasted for probably about 6 months and I was about 14 years old. I remember the day when it just got too much and I finally told a teacher. They assured me that it would be dealt with and I was sent back to class. I then had to endure a whole lesson with another teacher asking where the other pupil was and what had happened. She was shocked and went on to tell the rest of the class that she couldn’t imagine the accused doing anything like that. I literally wanted to disappear and never come back. I just wanted the bullying to stop and to never have to talk to about it again. I think in hindsight that is why the process of healing took so long, I just wanted to forget it.
6 months isn’t long, but when it is insult day after day, you start to believe the words. My hair isn’t right, I am too tall, I am ugly… it was mostly about my appearance, which as a 14 year old girl is very difficult to take, never mind to try and ignore it. The stingers went in deep, far deeper than I could ever have imagined. My way of coping was to try and blend in. For those of you who know me, it is quite hard for me to not to be noticed when you are nearly 6ft! I wouldn’t speak out in class or give an opinion, as I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself. This carried on to university and beyond. I remember sitting in seminars and wanting to contribute but feeling that I just wasn’t brave enough. What if people laughed at me? What if I was to draw attention to myself and then be picked on again? It was not worth the risk.
I think what impacted me most was feeling that I didn’t have a voice. I had lots of ideas, thoughts, opinions, but I didn’t feel like I could speak them out. I was too scared of being judged, hated, looked down on. This is something that I still struggle with today, but I am the biggest champion for anyone I work with, always encouraging them to know that they have a voice. What we have to say is important, we just need a safe platform where we can speak out.
Thankfully the bullying stopped, telling the teacher had been the right thing to do. Keeping that secret had meant that the bully had been able to torment me for longer and make me feel like I was all alone.
Anti-bullying week is not just a token week to tick a box. The reason that we do it, is to raise awareness and let people know that it is not ok to bully someone. It is also so that we can all spot the signs if we see other people bullying others and know what to do. For more information about Anti bullying week, please visit:
There is also advice for parents on what to do if your child is being bullied.
For bullying in the work place, please visit:
When you are bullied, you question why they chose you, what have I done wrong? Should I try to act differently? The bully relies on you keeping it a secret and not telling people that it is happening. I now know that it was nothing to do with me, but more to do with what was going on for the bully. We are all unique and that is to be celebrated not to be used against us.
Something that I always promote in the work that I do in FREEDOM 2 is not only showing kindness to yourself, but also to those around you. We have all had our day made so much brighter when someone is kind to you and it requires so little effort.
Why not try it today, let’s use our voice for good, let’s make a difference in 1 persons life. So, say hi to your neighbour who you haven’t really spoken to before or thank your friend for being there for you. All small acts of kindness but which can make such a difference to someone’s day.
Change starts here.
Change starts now.
Change starts with us.
(Anti Bullying Week 2019 – Anti Bullying Alliance)
Founder of FREEDOM 2