This story is really getting to me.
When I was in Grade 7, I was bullied. There was no Facebook back then, or Internet for that matter, so I'm sure it was nothing compared to what goes on today. But, it was hell. A group of girls, led by one particular horrible girl, were mean to me every single day. I was small, nerdy, I had horrible teeth (still do, ugh), and they wanted me to feel terrible I guess.
I remember getting calls to my house, every day, every night. Threats that I would be followed home. Nasty notes put in my locker. I remember being so scared to go to school, but also so scared to NOT go to school, because sometimes that was worse.
The thought of being out at the mall or something and seeing them made me feel nauseous. I couldn't sleep, I was 13 and I had crazy anxiety related insomnia. Looking back on my life, it was the absolute worst thing I've ever experienced.
It lasted about a year, and then I guess it just got old for those girls. Through high school I got over it, and didn't think much about them ever again. But during that time, it was debilitating.
Perhaps they thought it was all a joke. But the threat of them hurting me scared me beyond words. I was soooo young. I didn't understand why they could be so mean. I still don't.
Those women are still out there, now my age, and I would LOVE to know how they feel when they see things like this. I wonder, are you sorry? Do you think it was no big deal?
I know how Amanda Todd felt, and I am so sad that this happened to a poor innocent girl who didn't know how to handle what she fell victim to. Shame on the people that did this to her. To all of us.
People often feel helpless when they know of young people in these scenarios because they don't want you to call the school, or parents, but they want your help still. Every situation is different, but I can tell you what happened for me and it's a perfect example of how a kind person can do something so small that can make a huge difference.
Recess was a particularly scary time for me, because I felt like anything could happen out there for that hour. Sounds stupid, but it's true. The ladies who monitored lunch break just hung out together smoking cigarettes (thanks ladies) so that didn't help. But, one teacher noticed what was happening and approached me. We didn't talk about what was going on. She simply said to me "I am looking for someone to help me get things ready for classes in the afternoon. I need someone to give up their whole lunch every day. Would you like to help me?"
It was like my prayers had been answered. I had this little safe haven to go to every day for the rest of the year. I folded papers happily and ate my lunch in peace. No scary recess to worry about. One less thing.
I guess the point is, people can help, you just have to find a way to do it in a way that doesn't aggravate the situation. I hope and pray that Ben never has to face people like this. And to the people out there who are the bullies, shame on you. You are the worst.
Image via National Post