In honor of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month I wrote a post on bullying and the need for compassion on Amy Del Rosso’s blog, and if you head over there you can also enter into a giveaway for ebook copies of my novels SCARS and HUNTED, AND a hardcover copy of SCARS that Amy so generously provided, and some HUNTED swag. So head on over there to enter!
Here is what I wrote on bullying:
I was a timid, scared, shy kid. I was being abused and tortured at home, and it showed—in the way I walked (head down), talked (not often, and so quietly or so fast people usually couldn’t hear me), in the way I jumped at loud or sudden noises and flinched at touch. I also had the disadvantage of my abuser parents dressing me in second-hand clothing that looked second hand, haircuts that were done at home, and being so isolated by my abusers that I didn’t know what kids were talking about when they’d talk about singers or actors or popular fads. And all that drew bullies’ attention at school. I guess I looked like an easy target. Well, I was an easy target. Vulnerable, sensitive, shy, easily hurt, already traumatized.
In grade school I was shoved, hit, chased, punched, tripped, had things stolen from me or sometimes destroyed. But one of the hardest things, besides never fitting in, never having friends, was having others ignore me, or say mean things to me, put me down, laugh at me, exclude me from their groups. One group of girls pretended to be my friends one day, then ignore me or “hate” me the next. Those emotional wounds hurt deeply. Another thing that hurt deeply was having a few boys repeatedly come up to me and poke me, and then laugh loudly when I would jump and cower. And then do it all again. I couldn’t stop jumping or cowering—I couldn’t bear people touching me, especially when I didn’t want it and/or didn’t know that they would. Touch only meant pain or rape at home.
I felt a lot on anguish; I was in emotional pain most of the time—mostly from the abuse and torture I experienced at home, but the bullying intensified it all and made my life harder. It ensured that I had no safe place anywhere—not at school, and of course not at home.
I tried to lose myself in books, and to find friends in the pages. Books helped save me, gave me some comfort. They were safety and hope and healing. They were a refuge from my life.
I wish now that the adults watching had intervened when they saw the bullying happen. That the students had been taught compassion, kindness, and tolerance along with all their other subjects. How is how we act toward other people, how we treat them, any less important than geography or history? I wish schools had taught anti-bullying messages—but above all, compassion.