In November 2010, Beatbullying ran a “Big March” over a number of websites to highlight the suffering faced by children who were being bullied. Today, they are repeating the exercise and it’s bigger, better and global.
They call for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to be amended to include a right to be protected from bullying by their peers as well as abuse by adults.
I fully support this enterprise and I thought that I’d reprise the post I wrote at that time about my experience of being bullied as a child. Writing it once was hard enough. I don’t really want to get in touch with that pain again. There’s one thing I’d like to add, though. I mention how the friends I’d made in my later school years helped me a lot, but some of their parents were also fabulous. Karen’s parents Hamish and Aileen and Diana’s parents Fred and Ishbel treated me as if I was part of their family. Hamish was in charge of the Sunday School at Church and enlisted me as a teacher. Giving me responsibility and showing belief in me to deal with it was really important and the kindness they showed me has stayed with me all these years. I say this because Hamish passed away last Friday and I just wanted to acknowledge and express my gratitude for his wise and calm influence on my life.
Anyway, here goes. I hope that my story inspires you to take action to stop bullying, or, if you’re going through it, gives you hope that there is light ahead.
Earlier today, I did a brief post about how I supported Beatbullying’s Big March to kick off Anti-Bullying Week. Now I want to tell you a bit about why.
I’ve been procrastinating like anything to avoid writing this post because although I know the events I’m going to describe took place a long time ago, they cast a long shadow. Their stranglehold on my life is long gone, but the memories are not. I might have teased my sister for posting something inane on my Facebook wall a while ago when she has important work she needs to do, but how would I know if I hadn’t similarly been wasting time.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a very long time, but now is probably the right time. When Stephen wrote so movingly about how his experiences of homophobic bullying had almost led him to the brink of suicide, I thought about telling my story too. His account of standing on the breakwater as a 17 year old brought vividly to my mind those dark occasions I’d stood far above the sea and contemplated jumping as a young teenager myself.
I wasn’t bullied for homophobic reasons. In fact, it was made very clear to me that no man, woman or even beast would ever find me attractive.