I myself have experienced bullying as a victim/target and as a defender, and once as a bully.
Being the victim of bullying, I was the misfit of the class. The bullies have called me names because I was different, they called me “loser” “idiot” “psycho” and “faker.” When the adults aren’t there they make fun of me, and they spread lies, rumours and gossip towards me. They forced me to do their seat-works and quizzes in secret, and they if I didn’t do it we wouldn’t be friends anymore. And I was too desperate for friends, that I didn’t realise they weren’t real friends. They ghosted me for hours, then when they need help I always hear “Hey again, bestie! Um… Care to help me out with something?” And if I refuse they start calling me names, saying I’m a bad friend, and that I don’t deserve their friendship. I definitely didn’t want a friend like that. I was too shy to admit to my parents that the bullies harmed me, hurt me, and humiliated me. But I had enough of how they treated me and my friends.
And that’s when I took a stand as a defender.
I learned that It’s not my fault. Not one bit. No one deserves to be bullied. And, even though it’s never my job to fix what’s happening, there is a lot I can do to take action towards it. The first thing I did was to tell an adult right away. It’s not tattling. Being hurt or harmed, is a big deal. I needed someone I can trust on me and my friends side. I have the right to tell. So I told my parents and one of my teachers about it. After telling them the whole thing I asked “Do you think I should fight back?” They said that if I ever feel like fighting back, I shouldn’t. Trying to get even with someone who bullies is never a good idea. If I fight back, the bullying will likely become much worse. And the other adults may see me as part of the problem. After our talk they said “Thank you for telling me this. I just want you to know that your words matter.” Later on, I encouraged my friends to tell their parents so that they can be aware of whats happening. Now each time the bullies try to make fun of us, ask us for something, or call us names, I just told them to stop, then walked away from them.
Now that I’m done talking about my experience as a victim and as a defender, this is my experience as a bully.
When I was Grade 1, it was my first day in school and I had trouble fitting in. I didn’t know my role and I didn’t know how to make friends. When I entered class I met a bunch of new people, in which one of those became my future enemy. He was mean and he made fun of me. Sometimes when the teacher wasn’t watching he would imitate me, or mutter bad things about me. This is where the cycle began. I was so sick of his tricks, that I did the same to him, with the imitating, the gossip, the names. Later on he stopped doing it because he was hurt. I didn’t stop, I still wanted revenge and I even bullied some other students. I wanted revenge so much that I broke one of his things. I didn’t confess and I didn’t tell anyone.
Later on, he told my advisor about it. He said “Miss! Miss! Somebody broke my ruler! And I think I know who did it…” The advisor then said “Now, now, let’s not have any suspicions. It can be anyone.” I started to sweat. “If you know who it is, please tell me. And please confess if you did it. If you don’t confess soon, we will use the CCTV to find you.” After class, I walked to the faculty to tell my teacher I did it. I told her “Um…..cher po, I’m pretty aware who’s the one who broke the ruler po…” She asked “Oh, really? Do you care to tell me?” I then explained that I did it, and why I was a bully at that time, I told her that I truly regretted it.
She then said “Oh, okay po. Thank you for telling me. You know, bullying is a cycle. It goes with one bully to another, then another, then another, then another. You were a bully victim who turned into a bully. He could have been a bully for a reason. Home problems, family problems, support problems, emotional problems, and more. He hurt you, because somebody hurt him the same way. And you hurt him because he hurt you like that. Hurt people, hurt people. I suggest you tell him you did it, and why. Apologise to him.” I did what my teacher said, and I was surprised to see my enemy turn into my friend. He said “I know you did a bad thing, but I understood why you did it. I was bullying you because I was a victim myself. I just needed a way to cope with it. I’m sorry.”
I then said sorry to everybody I hurt, and me and my classmate eventually became friends and we both learned from that situation.
To be honest, bullying has had a big impact on me in many different ways. As a victim it taught me that a true friend is someone who treats you equally, and someone who treats his/her inferiors nicely too. I learned as a defender that it is never too late to take a stand for someone you love. And as a bully I learned that hurt people, hurt people, and sometimes hurting others is not the solution but friendship and a support team is.