Tag Archives: bullies

My Name is Chris, and I was a Victim of High School Bullies

I had a tough childhood.

I’d wager that many of us adults went through something that would be considered “a challenge” at one point in our respective younger days. Tribulations on the home front were largely relegated to the occasional familial disagreement (nothing that would be considered out of the ordinary, I assure you). My consternation stemmed from unwarranted, school-centric battles.

In short? I faced bullies in high school. I’ve talked about it long before now.

For some reason or another, a group of “tough kids” decided that I was persona non grata (a Latin phrase that roughly translates as “someone we don’t like.”). It made no sense to me in any logical capacity, although discussing any emotional shortcomings with this loosely-knit cabal would seem an exercise in futility. I can laugh about it now, though.

No, I can’t – it’s still not funny.

I remember being wracked with stresses of threats. Intimidation was a powerful mechanism, but falling victim to it would only make me… a victim. Instead, I chose to largely ignore it on the surface – while, in secret, crapping my Green Lantern Underoos during Study Hall. Nah, I had outgrown them years ago. At least, physically.

Those troglodytes made my earlier high school years a living hell. Who knows where they are now? Maybe they’re belittling their own kids (oh, god – I pray they haven’t reproduced). As much as it pains me to say it, I’m grateful we didn’t have the Internet back then. My problems would’ve been 100x worse:

Cyberbullying is no less of a crime in my mind. And, yes, I consider adolescent bullying a crime – and were I the one drawing up laws, the wildly immature would be taken to task beyond simple school suspensions or detentions. The anguish one undergoes when they’re square in the crosshairs of a bully’s sights is tantamount to torture. I’m referring to the systematic, calculated, constant physical and mental onslaught that certain individuals impose on wholly-innocent parties.

I cringe when I read the drivel that spills out of certain keyboards out there – largely on YouTube (or any other bastion of namelessness). There’s a time for anonymity, but targeting and diminishing the value of a life that has brought no harm to others is absolutely not the place.

Why do I often respond with an equal amount of vitriol to those who would “hate?” Because I remained silent years ago when I felt I didn’t have a voice. You can hear me now, though. Loud and clear.

If you bully, you’ll get what’s coming to you – eventually.

How Do You Deal With Bullies?

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Over on Lockergnome, Pretty Pink asked a question about dealing with school bullies. Apparently, this is a hot topic, as it has received more answers and discussion from the community than most other questions on the site. It’s sad to see that so many of you have to deal with some type of bully, be it in a school setting or online. In my opinion, people who bully others do so because something is seriously lacking in their own lives. No matter their reason for acting out this way, we still all have to find ways to deal with them when the situation arises.

I know I’ve talked before about this very subject. I am certainly not some kind of professional advisor or counselor. I can, however, tell you that when I went through school, I was bullied… all the way through college. It stopped bothering me at some point during high school.

I can only tell you how I handled it from my own perspective. As long as we have been walking the Earth, there have been bullies – and there will continue to be. It does end at some point. Know that you actually have the upper hand if you’re the victim, believe it or not.

Something I’ll never forget is confronting a bully back in high school. A scary and large individual had made it known that he didn’t like me and thought he could frighten me. I decided not to pay attention to him and pretended that it didn’t bother me. I made it comical, and refused to let him get to me.

One day in gym class, he came in with a group of his friends. We were running laps and he decided to push me from behind. Something in me kind of snapped. I realized that if I didn’t take a stand he would do it again. I made a split-second decision and turned around. He was much larger than me, and stocky as heck. Without thinking, I pushed him back. He whipped around and was shocked that I had actually stood up to him. I threw up my fists, even though I had no idea what I would do at that point. I didn’t throw a punch – but neither did he. I just let him know that I was no longer going to back down or take the crap that he kept dishing out.

At that point, the teacher intervened and we went our separate ways. I was afraid for my life at that point, not knowing what would happen. From that day forward, though, he never touched me again. He gave me dirty looks over the years, but never directly messed with me again.

I’m not saying this would work in every situation. However, it’s important to let them know in some way or another that they cannot get to you and cannot control your life. You have to stand up for yourself, even if it’s just to walk away from them and pretending that they don’t bother you in the least.

You have to do what’s right for you in your situation. If someone is harming you (or threatening to), then you need to talk to an adult in the school or at home. You may think that labels you as a tattle-tale, but it’s far better than being hurt or killed.

I don’t really care what someone thinks of me. If they don’t like me because I’m short, or Italian or a Geek – that’s THEIR problem, not mine. Once you reach that mind-set, your life will be much easier.

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I Had Death Threats in High School

Okay, so the blogosphere is going apeshit today over Kathy Sierra’s situation – which has to do with anonymous hate and abuse:

I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs… blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers.

This isn’t new, folks – far from it. Kathy is just one out of (certainly) millions of people who suffer at the minds of psychotics. And without trying to minimize this particular situation, I’ve gotta tell you – this sounds like high school to me. Literally. Granted, I’ve had just as many death threats ONLINE – but they didn’t just start last week.

I received death threats in high school all the time – ALL THE TIME. Only, I didn’t have to deal with anonymous Internet cowards [back then] – I had to deal with real-world bullies who weren’t happy unless they struck fear into me. Death threats are just as serious in high school as they are in the world beyond.

There was this one guy at Southeast Polk (let’s call him “Charlie”) who decided that he didn’t like me – he didn’t like me for whatever reason. I looked like an easy target? I was too short? I looked like a nerd? I couldn’t dress properly? I acted like a moron? Who the hell knows. I swear, it was his mission in life to make my life a living hell in high school. I did my best to avoid conflict, which only seemed to fan the flames for him.

I didn’t want to leave my house, either. I didn’t want to go back to school, ever. I didn’t want to see this guy in the hallways, and I certainly didn’t want to be in the same classes as him. Did I bother to mention that he was much taller than me, likely MUCH stronger? Did I bother to mention that if he really wanted to, he could have beat me within an inch of my life? Did I bother to mention that?

Did I bother to mention all the other fucking torment I went through in fucking high school just because I wasn’t [insert anything here]? Did I bother to mention that it didn’t start or stop with “Charlie?!” Now, I’m not trying to minimize Kathy’s situation (which I appreciate, wholly) – but I am rather surprised that everybody’s up in arms about it all of a sudden, as if this was an isolated incident that was limited to the blogosphere or to women in general?

No, unless you’ve ever stared straight into a real bully’s eyes – you have no fucking idea. I’m not talking about teasing (which is another matter, entirely) – I’m talking about “I’m going to fucking kill you” bullies. Unless you’ve received death threats (online or off), you have no fucking idea how this can make you feel. These situations used to be limited to locality, but now they’re all over the place – all over the Internet.

This isn’t new, my friends and enemies – and this will never, EVER stop happening.

It really doesn’t make much difference whether the person intends to act on the threat… it’s the threat itself that inflicts the damage. It’s the threat that makes you question whether that “anonymous” person is as disturbed as their comments and pictures suggest.

It’s worse when you know who that person is – or if they’re not all that anonymous in the first place. I’ve dealt with my fair share of bullies (both before and after high school) – and in a few cases, was able to weather the situations long enough to seek some sort of resolution with the other parties.

I’m still not quite sure what pulled me through – especially the day I finally confronted “Charlie.” He shoved me from behind, and instead of walking away – I pushed him back. My life could’ve ended at that moment, were the rumors true. I would’ve been severely injured based on the fact that this guy didn’t like me.

Freedom of speech–however distasteful and rude the speech may be, is crucial. But when those words contain threats of harm or death, they can destroy a life.

I’m not a woman, and I’m not going to pretend I fully understand Kathy’s situation, but she’s absolutely right about this potentially destroying a life. It’s not just the anonymous blogosphere – it’s a microcosm of what’s happening in meatspace.

The outpouring of support for Kathy has been substantial – but a lot of it seems to be knee-jerk / reactionary. Kathy is *NOT* overreacting to her situation in the slightest, but I do believe that the rest of us simply aren’t putting it into perspective.

The problem isn’t with the blogosphere – it’s with the human race.

Bully Victim Resorts to Spam

This has to be the best piece of junk email I’ve ever received:

“I am writing to you, as someone who cares about solving the problem of bullying, to ask you to consider putting a link in the resources or links page of your website to our website, Bullies2Buddies. I believe you will find our site is a unique source of help for victims of bullying. It teaches victims how to solve their problems without anyone’s help and without getting anyone in trouble. If I am a victim and I have to wait for the school to get rid of bullies for me, I may wait a very long time to stop being bullied. If you are my schoolmate and I tell the teacher or principal that you bullied me, is that going to make you like me and respect me? Of course not! It will make you hate me and want to get back at me. Thats why my method is to stop the victims from feeling like victims. If there were no victims in this world there would be no bullies. Bullies bully because they have fun watching others getting mas [sic] or feeling sad. If one is not affected by a bullies actions then its not fun for the bully, causing the bully to stop bullying the person. No victims no bullies.”

The spam continues – and his site’s content seems to be “protected by Copyscape.” Let’s just see if he’s copyscaping his email, too. I didn’t ask for the information, and I’m not someone who cares about “solving the problem of bullying.” At least, not anymore. Sounds to me like this guy got punched in the head a few too many times as a kid.