To see me now I look like a confident 45 year old woman right? That confidence is attributed to the one person in my life that supports me and allows me to be me and above all else, makes sure that no one will ever hurt me again, my husband..
You see I wasn’t always this happy, confident woman…. I used to be scared and bullied and allowed people to hurt and humiliate me….
My first memory of being bullied and humiliated was not by another child, but by my teacher at primary school. As a young child I would often wet the bed, something so very common. In the United states alone between 5-7 million children wet the bed every night Bed wetting
In our last year of primary school we were able to go on a camping trip. During this camping trip, if your tent was untidy then to let everyone else know and to shame you, a rubbish bin was put outside your tent! Because I wet the bed every night, our tent constantly had the bin outside and I was laughed at and pointed at by other children who knew no better because the teacher, an adult, was allowing them to do this. Bed wetting isn’t something to be ashamed of and children shouldn’t be made to feel humiliated by this.
In secondary school the bullying only got worse. To hide my bullying I behaved like the school joker and became so disruptive that I would get moved from my class and it worked, however I went from the frying pan into the fire. I have always been small and at the age of 12 I was still only about 4 stone. This seemed to give the bullies a free for all with me.
The bullies would either stop me getting off of the bus so I would end up the other side of town and have to walk home in the rain for 3-4 miles or they would sit next to me punching and kicking me, so I stopped getting the bus and started walking 2 1/2 miles home . The bullies however figured out my route home and jumped me on the way home kicking and punching me to the ground.
Another incident saw me cornered in the girls toilets by 6 girls telling me if I didn’t punch another girl who was one of their friends, then they would punch me… I didn’t hit the girl so instead I got punched by all the girls as they left the toilets…
For a few weeks the bullying stopped and they actually became my friends, but what I didn’t know was this was a rouse. One night, one of the bullies had arranged to come to home with me and we would meet their friend later on… I was ashamed of where I lived as I grew up with my dad who was a lot older than everyone else’s dad and we didn’t have much money so it took a lot for me to let anyone come to my home… Later on when we had met up with the friend and her boyfriend we were walking down a path laughing when out of nowhere, the one who had come home with me punched me in the head so hard, knocking me off my feet and sending me flying down a hill. They both came down the hill reigning blows on me and kicking me while I curled into a ball crying and pleading with them to stop. They eventually stopped and ran off laughing… I cried all the way home, hoping that they would not find me again…. I didn’t tell anyone and tried to get the day off school the next day pretending I was ill, but my dad made me go to school where people laughed at me because they knew what had happened.
Another incident was when a friend of mine was being bullied in the classroom at lunchtime so I stepped in to help her. The bullies then turned on me. In front of about 20 other girls who were cheering the bully on, one held me down while the bully hit me over the head 15 times with the school atlas, which in the 80’s was a huge hardback book. My friend that I had saved from being attacked, now became one of my tormentors and started cheering the bully on. Their reason for doing this is because they thought I had called them a ‘Slag’ which is what they and their ‘friends’ told the headmistress. Rather than punish the bully for assault, because that is what it was, I was punished for being mouthy and using bad language.
Out of school I really only had one friend who was the year older than me and so I spent most of my time indoors on my own as my dad was mostly at the pub.. I did have a boyfriend who later became my ex husband from the age of 14/15, but I didn’t really open up to him about what was happening. I had no support network as I lived with my dad and didn’t have a relationship with the absent parent or my family. So I just swept it under the rug and didn’t tell anyone what was happening… I would spend hours on the CB radio making new friends because on there I could be who I wanted to be and no-one knew who ‘Mad Mel’ was unless I gave information away… I would often talk to a kind lady on there who was housebound and who tried to get me to tell my dad, school or police, but I never did because it would only make it worse…
Nights were spent crying myself to sleep because I didn’t want to be here anymore and I didn’t want to go to school again… I would tell my dad I was poorly and would say that I would tidy the house if he let me have the day off school… I missed so many days that eventually the education officer came round and I promised to go back to school… Going back to school meant more beatings, being harassed and heckled at. Having my hair pulled, being spat at on the bus, tripped over in the hallway, being slammed into the wall by girls walking past in the hallway, who got their friends to ‘accidentally’ push into you while laughing their heads off… I had so many bruises and yet no-one ever noticed….
So when it was time to leave school I wanted to stay on and go into 6th form, but some of my tormentors did that so I left school with nothing…
I am not writing this blog entry for you to feel sorry for me, I don’t want your pity, I want you to think twice before you say something to someone that might push them over the edge… You never know what torture someone is going through, so rather than say things to them that you might find funny, try and be nice to them! This is why I get so passionate about people being nasty to others because of the way I was treated growing up… It’s only since I have been with my husband Shane that I have truly felt able to have confidence about who I am and not allow myself to be victimised by anyone anymore.. For 38 years I allowed myself to be bullied and controlled in one way or another! Even now I still find it hard to make friends and the only person I will truly be open and honest with is my husband because so many people before him have used what I have told them against me…
Calling someone a name, just because you think it is funny, is BULLYING!
Sitting in the classroom laughing and whispering about someone else in the classroom is BULLYING!
Laughing at someone because of their sexual orientation, Gender, Race, Religion is BULLYING!
If you have children make sure they have the support and facilities to be open about what is happening to them and if your child is the bully, make sure they know that behaviour is not right! Make your children aware that bullying is wrong and what the consequences to not only them, but also their victims lives will be!