Thursday, January 12, 2012

It HAS to stop

I normally try and have a bit of a structure to my blogs and what I write but today, I am just going to spill...

I am SO happy that I am not a Child of this era.  If there was another platform where bullies could have gotten to me, I am not sure how I would have coped.  I have written about how I am (and have been bullied) as an Adult a fair bit but being bullied as a Child was a totally different story.  The last time I was bullied was on the 2nd of January 2012.  I got out of the car at Dandenong and was called a 'f**king fat slut'.  My Children were in the Car.  I was disgusted, hurt and amazed at the fact that this man thought he could call me that.  I had done nothing other than step out of my Car.  Nothing.  The last time I was Cyber bullied was this afternoon when I deleted yet another comment on my blog about how fat I am.

It was in late November that I changed my settings on my blog to the fact that they are moderated before they appear.  I am lucky that I have some great software where posts from certain IP addresses go into my SPAM file (I have 3 lovely ones sitting in there right now) but, I now approve each comment manually as I got sick of the bullies being able to comment on here.  I do welcome comments and 99% of them are approved, I just don't see why everyone else should have to read them and put my readers in an awkward position where they feel as though they themselves need to defend me against people like that.

I was bullied a lot as a Child.  In primary School, I remember getting 'bigger than most' in about Grade 3.  Tears have started and I haven't even began writing yet!  In Grade 5, we were doing a school concert and we needed to have our waists measured for some skirts that were being made.  All of the measurements were written down on the board.  My waist was the largest and I remember feeling singled out because of it.  There was another bigger girl in my class and I remember she never got picked on as much a what I did. I'm not sure why.  The Primary School that I went to were fantastic and any bullying was put to a stop but once I got to Secondary School, you're a small fish in a big pond and things change.

I got pushed into a Pond, people used to make noises as I walked (boom bada, boom bada), 'hey, hey, hey, it's fat Albert' would be chanted as I walked into rooms, 'I feel the earth move under my feet' would be sung constantly.  I have written about it before but one of the most hurtful things was when a girl (I do remember her name but will not mention it) locked the doors on the bus when we were on our way to a drama excursion.  She said that I was too fat to get on the bus and that the tyres would pop if I got on.  I remember calling my Mother.  I didn't go on the excursion.  It was to a Theatre and Theatre Studies was one of my favorite subjects.  I was very disappointed.

I was always picked last when we had group things.  I was pushed, shoved, called blubber, fatty boom ba, elephant, whale, worthless.  I was jiggled.  People would make jokes about slapping my leg and making a wave.  I didn't get this until I was a bit older when I realised if you slap your leg, it ripples a bit.  I remember bending over to get my books when they were pushed out of my locker and someone pretending to be sucked into the black hole (talking about my butt, obviously).  I wore a belt around my waist and tightened i so I felt skinny.  I have those marks still as I wore it for years, it acted a bit like a corset.  Mum used to have to get my School dresses made as I didn't fit into the biggest ones. 

I remember a Boy in my class used to wear his jumper during summer as he would sweat and he would lose weight.  I decided to copy him.  I got hot and bothered - that's about all.  I wasn't welcome to sit at the back of the bus.  My first real boyfriend in High School didn't want me to tell anyone that we were going out as he didn't want to be bullied too.  He was ashamed.  I had a lot of guys tell me that they would go out with me only if I would lose a bit of weight, pointing to the bits that they didn't feel were right. 

I felt singled out.  I felt isolated.  Repulsed by myself.  And to have these feelings at such a young age is difficult.  They are confusing.  And they do shape who you are.  And even to this day it hurts.

I think I've mentioned it before that a number of people who bullied me at High School have used Facebook as a place to say that they're sorry.  And I keep those messages.  They mean so much to me.  I SO want to send messages to those who gave me hell to tell them how much they hurt me but, I don't and I won't.  I shall just wait until the next reunion and walk in with my head held high when no one recognises me.

Cyber bullying is something that is quite new.  I want to say now God helps anyone who picks on my Children!  My eldest has just started using Facebook (hi Lachie!) and I have his password and his User ID.  I created the account for him and both him and I blocked people who he didn't want contacting him.  He knows that I have his password and he knows that I access it.  He also knows that I will talk to him about things that I feel are of a concern.  It's the same with his phone.  I do spot checks.  And I am happy that I have as I've managed to stop a few people who were using his phone to send messages to others bullying them.  It was very upsetting for this particular girl who was being called a slut by these other girls.  They made it clear that it wasn't Lachlan who was sending the messages and they were using his phone as they had ran out of credit but this girl (she is 13) was terribly upset.  I sent a message to the girls who were using his phone asking them not to use his phone again unless it is an emergency.

He showed me a You Tube video the other day.  It was about a girl who had committed suicide.  She had jumped in front of a train as she had been bullied.  It has been all over the news today.  Lachie and I watched the video and we spoke about it.  It's sad watching this girl speak of her friend and how much she is going to be missed.  You can see the pain in her eyes and as I type this, I just watched the 5pm news and it was the opening story.  The Father is obviously distraught. 

As a Parent, I know that it's my job to do everything I can to protect my Child.  And even though he hates it (hi Lachie once again), he knows that I've got his back no matter what.  He was bullied on Skype some time ago and I sorted that out.  He experienced a short stint of bullying at School mid last year and that was sorted out quick smart.  It's important to educate yourself on what your kids are doing.  I'm not a perfect parent by any means but, I know more about some Children than what their parents do and they know that they can confide in me.  I'd prefer they talk to me rather than not have anyone to talk to and whatever help I can offer them, I will. 

I am not the perfect parent but I hope that my Children feel that if they can't open up to me, they can open up to their Father, their Grandmother or Grandfather, their Nanna or Pa, their Aunt or Uncle or one of their friends.  It's important that they talk to someone - anyone about what is going on as it could literallly mean the difference between life and death.

When Lachie first started School, the Kids were shown this video as were the Parents.  This really stuck in my mind.  Watch it with your Kids.  Talk about it.  Open up that dialogue.  Get to know what they're going through.  They'll thank you when they're older for having their back.  And sometimes I bite my tongue when I read some of the things on his Facebook (I am astounded to read some of the things that I do) but, I know that in his generation, it's part of who 'they' are.  It's a matter of teaching him the difference between wrong and right but just on a different level.  Bullying will always be around.  Bullying is just now at the hands of not only people who are cruel enough to say it to your face but also cowardly enough to sit behind a keyboard and for some reason think there is no consequence when they write what they write.  This is not the case.

IT HAS TO STOP.  It hurts.  It leads to depression, self harm, suicide, withdrawing from society, uncertainty, substance abuse, problems in relationships, low self esteem, people who fake suicide - a whole load of things. And it stays with you forever and ever and ever. That's if you have the strength to make it that far.  That might sound  a bit far fetched for some but it's true. The scars last a lifetime.

May I also point out that this is just my story - it's not just bigger people who get picked on - no one is safe.  Even the bullies themselves.

My thoughts go out to anyone who has lost someone as a result of bullying xo take a stand and help make a change.  This can't go on.  It has to stop.


  1. I too got the comments, slap her legs and ride the waves and I feel the earth move under my feet when I walked past kids. I also had a song made about me, nards mcards the big fat lards. Although I have some great memories from my childhood these memories are the ones I will never forget. Thankfully I have never experienced the types of comments you have as an adult, from anyone, especially other adults. Well done for taking a stand, especially since you are making yourself known and opening yourself up to nasty comments. I am so proud to know you Steph :)

  2. How has this mucked you up as an Adult? The bullying I mean.

  3. Bless you, wonderfully put. And I totally agree with you. Bullying must be stopped somehow.
    And I cried with you.

    Bullying scars in many ways and depths.
    I was bullied too, not because of my size, I was like a skinny greyhound as a kid, but because of who my parents were. (Small country towns and my dad was the school principal and my mum a teacher.) The worst bully I had attacked me because she was the daughter of an alcoholic mum who'd remarried and had a few more children, and then treated her like a servant and made her look after her half-siblings all the time. Basically she was jealous of my loving parents, and everything she saw and assumed she saw about my family, and was envious because I did well at school.
    That happened to me from the age of 10 until I was 16. I didn't find out most of the background problems of this bully until I was well into my 40s but the damage was done. I've had to have counselling and I've never married or had children, and basically that's because I can only trust one person - me.
    It is the root cause of my battle with being now some currently 75kg overweight, as it started me comfort eating because people like my gran and parents who loved me, fed me lovely food and plenty of it, and I learned to over eat. I eat good home cooked food, but always a bit too much of it, and then there is the late night nibble on the leftovers or the second helping of rissoles with just one more splash of gravy and so on and telling myself the miracle diet will start next week.
    I don't eat Maccas or the like, it's all happened with just a bit too much of all the right things, and I've still struggling to control portions to achieve weight loss.
    As soon as I become upset, I'm the one looking for a second helping of peas and carrots and potato and just one more slice of corned beef to the extent that I really eat a whole second meal. Every day is a battle with food as it is to overcome the scars of bullying. I take each day as a new day. If I stuffed up yesterday, I forgive myself and try to do today right. It is slowly working !!
    I also get the occasional comment about being overweight like you do. Wipe that man from your memory, you are worth gold, and don't waste another second on remembering a man with a sour mouth and mind!

  4. do you not have any respect for your sons privacy

  5. Thank you for your messages and thank you for sharing your stories Anon and Dianne :)

    Bullying has played a big part of who I am today. I don't know what my life would be like without the things I went through but in saying that, I wouldn't mind knowing. I wonder what sort of person I would be like but, I blieve that everything happens for a reason - even if it does take a long time before we know what that reason is.

    In regard to having respect for my Son's privacy - yes, I do have respect for it but if I had a choice between respecting his privacy and ensuring his safety online or via any other way of communicating, I'd pick his safety. If he didn't know what I was doing it, perhaps I would feel as though I am sneaking. We have a very good relationship and I am lucky that we do as he will speak to me about pretty much anything. I know how to knock down his 'I'm a teenage boy and I don't talk' walls and he knows that what I don't know, I can't help with.

    He's lucky in the fact that he has many people in his life that he can speak to as well. That goes for all of my Children but seem as Lachlan is the only Teenager and the only one who is using such technology.

    I also made sure that Lachlan wasn't allowed on Facebook until he was 'of age' according to their rules. He did go on and update his status occasionally and we went on it together so I could show hime some things for his safety but other than that, I stood my ground and didn't allow him on no matter how much he nagged.

    Like I said, I am no parenting expert but I think by showing some respect for the rules of such platforms, you're setting a good example.

  6. Not cool :(
    I can tell you one thing, though: their actions say a whole lot more about them than they do about you - what miserable souls!