I was bullied from the time I was in kindergarten at least. I was a quiet, shy, weird kid who liked to do hir own thing, had an androgynous appearance (I still do), and was basically a truly free spirit. I say "truly free spirit" because I always had my own opinions about things and only changed my opinions when I found new evidence or considered things from a different perspective. I still do. I only talk about a fraction of the opinions I have, because many of my opinions are so controversial and/or weird that whenever I bring them up even once, a dramatic shit-storm happens.
Getting back on track, even when I was a kid I was eccentricity made manifest. I was born to a male body but never gave even half a shit about gender stereotypes. I played what I wanted, and I played with what toys I wanted. If I was in the mood for playin House or Teacher, I did. If I was in the mood for playing with cars, I did. If I wanted to draw or write, I did. The only other people in my life whom I cared about the opinions of were my parents, and even then only to a certain degree. Ultimately, I would do what I wanted to when I wanted to. Luckily I was also naturally compassionate, so instead of becoming a total psychopath (which the bullying could have done to me) and serial killer, I'm just a harmless weirdo.
So of course I got bullied. Bullies will make up excuses to pick on people, and I gave them thousands of reasons to pick on me without even trying. From day 1 of kindergarten to the last day of 12th grade I was bullied. Some bullies were physical, but I usually avoided getting beat up. Most of them were just cowards who liked to pick on me because I was so easy to intimidate; they didn't have to beat me up because it was much more fun to make me squirm and cry. But even if they never laid a hand on me, they were still doing violence against me. I know from experience that verbal abuse is violence. Mental violence, spiritual violence. It's an attack against one's very soul.
The results of my years of endless bullying, and having few friends (because I only felt comfortable around other weirdos like Justin Reed, or people who didn't mind my being weird, which makes them weird in a way), are still with me today. To escape the constant attacks, I withdrew into myself, into a world of fantasy where everything that happened to me was like some story happening to the protagonist, like it was happening to someone else.
As a result of the constant bullying, I didn't learn the social rules. I didn't learn how to feign normalcy. I didn't learn the things I needed to know for surviving as an adult in a social species because I was too busy fending off attacks. Even those who didn't join in the fun of bullying me just let it happen. Kids, adults. No one stopped it. No one stepped in. Let me tell you this: if you see someone being bullied and you don't try to stop it, you might as well be the one doing the bullying. Because the damage is the same. Feeling guilty? Maybe you should.
If I thought it couldn't get worse in high school, I was wrong. By 8th grade, I was coming out of my fantasy world but still kept to myself and kept quiet. Not only did the bullying get worse, I no longer had a shield with which to protect myself. That small defense had been ripped from me, because I could no longer get lost in my fantasy world to escape. Sure, my mind could still wander, but when I was being bullied, it felt real like it never had before; I could no longer pretend it was happening to someone else. And now I was being sexually harassed by almost every boy there. Two of the few who didn't were two of my only male friends in high school; one was a slow but pleasant fellow, the other was more of an acquaintence I didn't mind and was a stoner.
The sexual harassment got worse when someone found my first website. How they connected it to me, I don't know. But it was the only place publicly accessible where I was out about being transgendered, bisexual, and altogether more weird than they'd ever imagined. I have no fear of Hell, I've already been through it.
Those boys could be mean. Soooo mean. They thought it was so amusing, their sexual harassment. The kissy faces, the faux propositions, the innuendo. I will never friend any of them on Facebook. Some have tried. Personally, I hope they die. The sexual harassment was bad enough; when they accused me of doing indecent things with my sister and mom, they crossed a line. If I *were* a sociopathic serial killer, they'd all be on the top of my list. They'd better thank God every day that I'm not a violent person. I hope they die horribly and painfully. I will laugh when I hear of their deaths. I will fly out to Iowa to celebrate over their graves and piss on the flowers. (Okay, maybe not. Airline tickets cost way too much.)
The hell I went through in school, especially in high school, was such that I can't even put my fictional characters though anything remotely resembling the things that I went through without crying or feeling murderous or both. I can't remember much of anything from the years I was escaping into my fantasy world, and I actively block most of my high school memories. They took my childhood, and my functionality as an adult. I think the law coming down HARD on this kind of bullshit, the law arresting and jailing1 even kids for bullying, is a reasonable desire given what I've been through. We don't put up with this kind of bullshit from adults, why kids? Kids are NOT innocent. They are cruel. They learn cruelty from adults, and take it to new extremes. We need to nip this behavior in the bud, and right now the adults are doing NOTHING about it. Nothing helpful, anyway.
If I ever have kids, I will tell my kids to tell me if they are being bullied. I will make sure the bullies do not get away with it. If I have to tell the school staff that my child and I WILL press harassment charges if the school doesn't come down HARD on the bullies, I *WILL* carry through. Any bully who picks on any child of mine WILL do jailtime. I don't care how pissed off his or her parents get. I will explain to them what I have explained here. It is time to stop pretending that childhood is a time of innocent fun, and realize that BULLYING IS VIOLENCE!!! And you know what? Let's stop calling it bullying. Let's call it what it is: when physical, it is ASSAULT. When verbal, it is at best HARASSMENT. At worst, it's verbal assault. CHILDREN ARE BEING ASSAULTED EVERY DAY BY THEIR PEERS, and all anyone seems to care about is rare instances of adults fondling their genitals. We need to focus on the bigger issue here! The danger to kids from adult victimizers is a lot smaller than the media would have us believe; the real problem is we need to protect kids from other kids.
And now I must sign off.
1 = For a single night, in a kids-only section, to drive home the point.
Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org