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Read this article (link), everyone. Seriously. I read it, and I found it so powerful I'm going to talk about my own experience.

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

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
lupagreenwolf
Sep. 30th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
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.

I was severely bullied for over a decade. I still think this is way too black and white. I don't blame every single person who didn't step in. Some people don't know what to do. Some people don't recognize it as bullying. Some people are afraid for their own reasons, and they shouldn't be vilified for not playing the hero.
fayanora
Sep. 30th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
Hmm, yeah. I was in a mood. I get very B+W in those kinds of moods.
lupagreenwolf
Sep. 30th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
It's a really touchy subject. A lot of people end up with trauma disorders from it, and even those who don't still often have really bad memories. It's not just something you "get over", which is an attitude that really pisses me off.

And yeah, a lot of people think that just because bullying isn't always physical, that it must be less harmful. Which is utter bullshit. Girls especially use nonphysical bullying tactics, and they're really, really damaging.
musesrealm
Sep. 30th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
I tried, as a teacher, to stop bullying. It was one of the many (unofficial, of course) reasons why my contract was not renewed. I'm also uber-liberal, which is a huge "problem" at a school that is very conservative and Christian (though they really don't like to think of themselves that way).

Kids I caught bullying or other serious "mis-behaviors" (as the administration called them) at my former place of employment were sent to the vice-principal with a piece of paper explaining the situation. He came down hard on them, and almost always sided with the teacher or the bullied student. He's awesome like that. Some sneaky students, however, went directly to the principal. If their parents were "important to the school" (i.e. were teachers/aides, influential community members, grant writers, etc.) their "mis-behaviors" were forgiven by the principal, and they were given no consequences. Guess who got the talking to? Yep, me, and other teachers who tried to report it. Bullying in schools isn't just for students anymore.

It's also really hard to recognize bullying at school these days. Most kids are egocentric at the best of times, and many don't have any sense of consequences ("I'll just push the reset button, and everything will be okay!"). They honestly either don't see what their words/deeds to to others, or they don't care. Going hand in hand with this, kids lie, they like to blow things out of proportion, and they don't tend to like things that are different. They are also very sneaky, and most instances of bullying take place far, far, far away from any adults or kids who would stand up for someone being bullied. When we do find out about the bullying, if we don't have proof we are afraid to report it, because many bullies are so good at lying that they make the teacher(s) who are trying to stop them look like the bully. I've had a few teacher friends fired / their careers ruined because of the untrue yet very convincing things kids say.

I'm sorry that you were bullied. If I would have been your teacher, I certainly would have stood up for you.
fayanora
Oct. 1st, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Wow, that situation sucks.

*HUGS*
(Deleted comment)
fayanora
Oct. 1st, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
Maybe we can chat on instant messenger sometime. :-)
irishgirl1984
Apr. 27th, 2017 03:34 pm (UTC)
Bullying Is A Form Of Violence, Even When It's Verbal

I can remember being bullied in grade school. I had kids calling me names. I even had a boy throwing things at me. I’m not exactly sure if it was because he didn’t see beyond my disability, or if it was possibly his way of telling me that he liked me. Just because I was disabled, I don’t think I was well-liked, as a schoolgirl. I wasn’t mean to anyone whatsoever that I can recall. I only know that—well, much of the bullying happened when I was walking with a walker—not like the crutches I’ve been using since about 1995.
In high school, the bullying got worse. From 2001-2004, I finished high school at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired. Twice in one year, (though I don’t recall what year) I was bullied by the same girl. Strangely enough, she was younger than me. Two problems happened—one in the winter, then again in the spring. I was walking to lunch or my next class—so I was going between buildings on campus. She came from behind, pushing me down in such a way that I lost my balance. My boyfriend at the time (Ron) before we got married, that is, just happened to by passing by. In the winter, there was ice and snow, so he helped me to the health center to get checked out, same thing in the spring.
Just because I walk differently or can’t see well, kids were making fun of me.
Adults were, too. During my ISVI days, I was in the Transitional Living Program, and the main teacher made fun of me by mocking me if I got upset with her because she didn’t understand—especially if she tried to make me do something that I knew was physically impossible because of how my disability works. She even told me I was asking for help too much from my roommates, and forced me to return to her program for another two years, living in a single apartment-type room, where I had to do everything for myself.
That teacher said I could do the various things, even though she knew I was on crutches. If I didn’t do something correctly, she would yell at me, saying how unhappy she was with the quality of my trying. Rather than saying “good try” or “keep up the good work”, she fould flaws in my laundry skills, how I washed dishes, or how I tried to make my bed. Because she didn’t like my effort, she told the Residential staff not to help me if I needed it.
It’s been hard for me to know when to ask for help, especially if part of the years I was married had my then husband trying to show me that it was OK to ask for help. I must’ve gotten too much for him, and he would just do his own thing, standing back while I tried to do laundry with no help—or even other chores.
Now, I’m with Sean “Mixingk” Keffer, and he’s been showing me that I don’t have to try to do that anymore. Each day that goes by, he’s always doing whatever he possibly can to help me throughout each day. The childhood memories of how I was treated still stick with me, even when I try to be as independent as possible. Sean and I work quite well together, and I don’t know where I’d be without him in my life.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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