My name is Stephanie, I’m 16 and I have a bullying experience I would like to share as I would love to inspire and help young people through traumatic times. I was bullied for 3 years by five boys. In my opinion, bullying is disgusting but it continues to be in life hoping to destroy people’s lives when in fact it makes them stronger. So, here is my story…
I was only 12 years old when the bullying first started, however, I did not reach out and tell someone until I was 13 years old. In Year 7 it was mostly verbal bullying. I was called ‘fat’ constantly and had jokes made about me. By this time, I thought it was the worst it could have been, but I was wrong.
I was then physically bullied, the leader of the bullies punched me on my left arm, he left a bruise and he kicked my leg and left a bruise as he “wanted to” because it was “a joke”. I kept this to myself as I thought it won’t happen again. My mum had noticed the bruises but I had claimed that I “walked into a door” and I had “hit my leg on the table”. I finally found the courage to tell my mum about the bruises. My mum and grandmother took me down to the school into the LSC (Learning Support Centre). I then became intimidated, as his friends called me a snake and a grass. The boy was isolated for one day to see if his behaviour had changed. However, the next day him and his friends lined up to push me on the floor. I have never felt so embarrassed in my life.
The comments about being fat also hadn’t stopped. Due to the verbal comments I developed an eating disorder which again no one had acknowledged as I was scared incase the bullies called me a snake for speaking up.. As I felt the bullying was becoming worse I told my teacher how I had an eating disorder and she replied “next time I won’t call my friends fat as they might have anorexia”. I became so resistant to food that when I had bought something from the canteen I would throw it in the bin. I remember having a film day in school as a treat and the boys persuading me to see who could eat the most and if I won they would leave me alone therefore I decided to go ahead with the idea.. Obviously, I had anorexia so never ate anything and they had noticed that and continued to bully me.
Two police officers had arrived at my home to speak to me whilst taking a detailed descriptive report of incidents to dates. By this time, I was frightened of how the bullies may react. The next day the boy and I were taken into an office in the school to give a statement. It had gotten to this point as my head of year had not put a punishment in place. Therefore, I began to lose trust in most adults in my school. The boy didn’t care about the police as within that week he began to kick my chair constantly.
All of the physical, verbal and mental bullying became too much as I decided to take a blade in school from a sharpener and self-harm on my arm. At this point I was so depressed that the matter of life and death didn’t occur to me. After I put my school shirt on for school my mother noticed the cuts and finally that’s when I opened up to her about everything.
When it came to GCSE options I wanted to pick drama however the bully did so I never took the opportunity. However, I became aware of a group called Raised Voices which was an Arc Theatre project. I was scared of how it would be because by this time I lost all my confidence. I was able to be in films whether it was a minor or major part and talk about issues including bullying. We vote for a young female in the group every other term to be able to win a Jack Petchey award titled outstanding achiever. This year I won the majority of the votes and was given the award. This to me is an absolute achievement which I believe is because of my efforts in the group. I was given challenges and remained strong throughout and that’s why the award makes me realise how proud I should be.
With the support from my family and Arc Theatre I built up the courage to express my thoughts on my bullying experience. The only way I could begin to help myself through the pain was by writing poems with meaningful words. Now I can do more than write poems, I can find my voice within me and tell people how much I have overcome and tell them how strong I am.
Bullies never win when you stand up and say no. I proved that theory right. With the help of my supportive network of friends and family, I am proud to say I am stronger than I ever knew I could be!
Thank you to Stephanie for sharing that story. Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with the Jack Petchey Foundation and other young people? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with some information about what you’d like to write about.