Last night in my sleep I had a dream that I had actually written this. So I guess that was my mind saying it needed to be written.
I remember a boy that lived in our neighborhood that was very skinny, introverted, not groomed well and well different. His name was John. We were both in the first grade and lived in a poor neighborhood. At the bus stop the boys and even some of the girls would tease him, call him names and so on. I finally ended up yelling at a few of the boys to stop. He looked grateful but also uncomfortable. Sometime around second grade I was walking by his house and I could hear his father cussing and yelling from inside the house to him outside. The pain in his eyes said everything. He was used to people treating him poorly.
I always tried to be kind to people from a young age. Not that I’m perfect and haven’t stood up for people when maybe I could have. I’m also outspoken and I’m sure some may have found me a bit intimidating. I guess we all have the regrets when we look back. However, the only physical fights I actually got into were with boys that were in my opinion harassing my friends. I had an older boyfriend who was out of high school my senior year. I was so angry when he suddenly started hanging out with a group of people who were trying to convince us that whites were superior. I was not having any of that. I put my foot down and reminded him that his longtime best friend was half Hispanic. What was he even thinking?
Through out my life I’ve had a fire in me when it comes to bullies. I believe that it is because before I realized what bullying was I was exposed to it. My parents had a lot of good times and did a lot of things right. However, my mother came from a broken family where her real father had been abusive. When her mother left him with the four children she instilled in her daughters to never let a man control you.
My mother took that to heart. She was a force to be reckoned with when she felt she was not in control. It was loud, things would be thrown, thing could be broken and pain may be felt. At times, it was confusing as to what she was upset about and all I knew is that she wanted you to fear her. My father he didn’t yell back. He didn’t protect himself much, nor my sister and I. We would get in so much trouble for breaking things because we were poor. Also my mother made sure the house was very clean so making a mess was automatically a punishment. However, she would do both and somehow it would be someone’s fault other than herself. Honestly as a child it was very confusing.
As I grew up it became tiring when it happened. Most of the time mom just made most of the decisions and there was no real fight. But when one happened and she acted out I either cleaned up or tried to calm it down. That is until one day it was directed at me and I was over it. I felt bullied. I wasn’t being heard. I was being demeaned, controlled and I had enough. It was the first time I stood up to her but not the last; I was 17. I don’t think she feels like a bully or sees herself as one. She does a lot of good things. However, if you do not do what she wants there are always some sort of consequences.
Now we have bullies all over the place. Social media has given birth to new types of bullying. Faster spreading and seemingly darker. It has given the opportunity for people to say what they could never say in person. Also some just “troll” people or celebrities because they can. It’s almost like some feel that it is harmless if they are not present to see the outcome or it is online. But words are words and people are people.
What I have found most interesting is that our society tends to want to protect the bullies or not make matters worse by upsetting the bullies. My son has autism and was physically assaulted in school by some boys a few years back. He was advised by a teacher (as they were getting ice for his arm) that it would be better for him not to report it. When we did report it, he was placed in a room with the two boys (who had also been verbally bullying him during the year, saying things like “you suck at life”). The dean of students had the boys apologize to my son. My son was told it was “horseplay that got out of hand” and he needed to accept their apology. That was it. Nothing more the school felt needed to happen.
The zero bullying policy is really non-existent. You see, the school defines bullying in their policy but then when actions are made they can’t really figure out if the intent was to bully or just “good natured fun”. Kind of the like rape culture, they don’t want to ruin these boys lives by putting a label, expelling them, kicking them off any sports they are in and so forth, just because of a “misunderstanding”. Plus, there is always the backlash that comes to the victim for reporting it. This is their excuse for telling the victim to not report. You know because they do care for the victim and want it to get better…. (eyes rolling).
In my opinion, the very institutions and society itself bullies or I guess re-bullies, anyone that tries to stand-up for themselves. Therefore, bullies are everywhere and you have no idea if you will really get the promised help that is written in policy, law or whatever.
I personally…. I will never be okay with bullies and choose to stand against them as I see them.