Guest Post #7

Anyone can write an article on bullying - teachers, students and even bullies themselves - but what's wrong with many of these articles is that they're no more than an outside view on bullying. An article written by some who's experienced bullying themselves will always be more powerful than one written by someone else, and the lack of articles such as these is why I asked Siobhán if she'd let me write this for her blog. I experienced bullying firsthand during my first two and a bit years in secondary school, I wasn't the typical "guy" being uninterested in sport and coming from a family of mainly girls, so was targeted and suffered from verbal and (to a lesser extent due to my size) physical bulling. I was constantly slagged, pushed, had my stuff robbed, had my stuff thrown back at me and as the year went on, somedays I hated coming into school. Thankfully halfway through second year I got the courage to do something about it and after a few weeks it began to improve until finally in third year it had stopped and I began to move on. I know not everyone is able to do the same as me and that a lot of you have it a lot worse than I did and I'm hoping this article will help people understand just what its like to be a victim of bullying, and help some of you escape from it. 

The thing I found worst about bullying was the shame and embarrassment that was associated with it. You sometimes feel as if it's YOUR fault, as if you're doing something to deserve the bullying, that you're the one who should be changing to stop it. Sometimes you can spend nights trying to figure out what you're doing "wrong" to deserve the treatment. The shame that you feel because you're being bullied can stop you from ever talking to someone about it, but I've realised by now that there's no shame in being a victim of bullying. It's the bully who's to be ashamed, it's the bullies who should be changing, not you. This shame that people feel is a bully's greatest weapon, it's why it took me so long to report it and I'm sure it's why many of you haven't either. No one has the right to have such power over you, to have you trapped this way! Many people who've never been bullied in their lives think that once it stops then everything's all right, they don't understand that sometimes the taunts can haunt you. The poem "Truth" (below) is one which I felt showed just how powerful and damaging these taunts and insults can be. For me, even if a close friend uses the insults the bullies did, even as an obvious joke, my mind does a mental flinch. The longer you let the bullies go on, the deeper these mental scars can get, I urge you all not to let it go on as long as I did, all it takes is for you to take the first step and tell someone, whether it be a friend, parent or teacher you can trust. Once you get that weight off your chest everything starts to get easier. I wish I'd gotten out sooner, but I've decided to try and help those who are still being bullied through this article. 

Don't go on suffering in silence, the sooner you stop the bullies the sooner you can shake off the mindset they caused and move on in your life. You may feel alone in it, but be assured there're many more victims of bullying around you than you notice. Like this blog says, there's always light at the end of the tunnel, life gets better as you grow up, and it's up to you whether you want to overcome the tormentors and let your experiences strengthen and motivate you to help others, or leave it to fester. We all daydream about getting help, please make these dreams a reality! 

Truth : By Barrie Wade

Sticks and stones may break my bones, 
But words can also hurt me. 
Stones and sticks break only skin,
While words are ghosts that haunt me. 

Slant and curved the word-swords fall
To pierce and stick inside me. 
Bats and bricks may ache through bones,

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