In my last blog post I briefly mentioned the fact that the majority of my years at school were taken up with bullies making my life hell. Both times they were not hugely physical in their bullying, mainly verbal and mental.
When I was in Year 2 the first time he bullied me began. And from then on it carried on. Initially my Mum would speak to the school and they would speak to him and warn him off, it didn’t work, he only got worse.
He was a year older than me. He was a skinny thing. The smallest in his year I’d say. He had learning difficulties so the headmaster tried to get his TA to keep a closer eye on him more. That didn’t help.
So then I started not telling anyone about it. Maybe then he will just forget it all and go away I thought. No as if? I should be so lucky. That he just preyed on as he knew he had the power. You see his way of bullying me was quite literally a mindf**k. He would tell me he loved me one minute and then be abusing me the next.
I remember one day walking out from lunch in the hall to find my friends in the playground and he cornered me in a corridor and pinned me to the wall, his hands around my neck accusing me of the fact I had “told” friends that I didn’t love him and that he was horrible to me. I cant even remember what I said to get away from that situation but I obviously said something and I remember dashing out to my friends accusing them of telling him I didn’t love him, I told them they should know better and they knew what I was going through.
Most evenings I would go home and cry myself to sleep, that was if I slept, it would take me forever to get to sleep and I would need to talk for hours before I could turn off my mind. I would spend my time I was allowed on my parents computer searching the internet for charities who might be able to help me with how I was feeling. But there weren’t any. Or none that I felt I could pick up the phone and speak to. I wanted to be able to talk online where it was anonymous. In those days that wasn’t possible.
However, these days that IS possible. Children ARE able to speak to someone anonymously online who can help them. Some of you may have heard of a charity called Beatbullying, It was launched in 1999 and since then has worked with more than 1.6 million children around the UK.
Beatbullying set up a website called Cybermentors where children who are having a hard time can go onto and talk. They can talk in the chat room, post a message on the boards, they can talk with a cybermentor (aged 11-18) who has been trained to be able to help young people, they can speak with a Senior Cybermentor (aged 20-25) who has also been trained or they can speak to a counsellor. The whole site is protected by layers and layers of security software designed to stop people posting personal information, to pick up words that an adult may use posing as a child, to detect people possibly in danger. It really is a completely safe environment.
If Cybermentors had been around when I was going through my years of what I can only describe as hell then I can only imagine the significant difference that would have made to my life. Instead I was alone. I had one friend who I could rely upon and who was always there but she didn’t know how to handle bullying, she was only my age!
Bullying has always been something close to my heart for this reason and in 2000 I appeared on GMTV to talk about the year of promise and my promise to make my community aware of bullying and how they could help. And to this day I still try my hardest to campaign against bullying, which is why I signed straight up for The Big March when I heard about it! Now this is really hard to explain how this works which is why I’m going to give you a quote from their site.
All these avatars and usernames go into a big database and on November 15th, the day of the Big March, this information is dynamically pulled out of the database and ‘spread’ across all the websites of the participating partners. Each avatar that goes on the Big Marchwill cross all of the participating partner websites and will be taking part with celebrities and other well-known public figures.
Its such an easy thing to do and such a brilliant innovative idea to be a part of. All you have to do is sign up, you never have to go on the site again after that if you so wish but by signing up you will be part of history. So please do go and sign up today. And help spread the word. Spread the word across the bloggosphere, across twitter, facebook, wherever you talk.
Now I am going to add a McLinky here because it would be great if we could track any blog posts written about bullying, weather at school, in the workplace, online, wherever. So if you have one please do add it to the McLinky. Thanks!