Open Letter to Bully Victims
This open letter is for all the kiddos out there that have been bullied in the past, or are currently being bullied and don’t know how to handle it. Kids can be really mean and nasty in school, I know. Sometimes the bully can be terribly bad, and sometimes it can just be a bit of teasing, but it is ALWAYS uncomfortable and NEVER OK.
I had a bully that teased me in elementary and middle school too. It was that awkward step in the middle where it was enough to bother me but not enough to feel like I could really call it bullying. After all, nobody beat me up or stole my lunch. Regardless of whether you use the word or not, it doesn’t matter because the experience is the same. There are nasty kids out there, just like there are nice ones. The trick is in knowing how to stand up for yourself and get help.
Bullying in Elementary School
Let me tell you a story about a boy named Adrian. He picked on me in elementary school. I was a very quiet little girl. Usually, I liked to read and draw quietly but for some reason he chose to pick on me and start battles with me. Whenever he did better than me on a test, even if it was by one point (and even if others did way better than him) he would laugh at me and say he “beat” me and was smarter than me. He would laugh in my face and act confrontational. The problem with Adrian was that his mom was a teacher at our school, so I imagine he probably thought he could get away with being a nasty and scary kid.
And… Bullying in Middle School
Then we started middle school and we rode on the same school bus. He would often sit behind me and laugh loudly in my ear or mess with my hair. One day, I was trying to have a nice conversation with my friend and he was up to his usual horrible behavior. Trying to ignore him, I stayed silent. But at one point, he knelt down under the bench and grabbed my ankle under the seat.
I will never forget how angry I got.
I was sick of it.
Sick and tired of him thinking he could get away with anything.
Sick of letting him continue bullying me around.
“I may be a girl,” I remember thinking, “but today he’s going to learn not to mess with me.”
Unfortunately, I was small and not very strong, so I braced myself against the seat for strength and I kicked to get loose. I kicked back and forth with both my feet as hard as I could. Then, I heard a muffled yelling so I turned in my seat to look at him. I tried to look innocent but I couldn’t help myself.
Grinning, I asked, “what’s wrong?”
With tears in his eyes, he angrily replied, “you kicked me in the nose!”
Standing Up to the Bully
I was actually surprised. I had definitely not planned on kicking him in the face. But how was I supposed to know his entire head was under my seat? The fact that he was angry and offended only worked to make me more upset at his rudeness. I didn’t care that his eyes were watering, all I replied was, “If you weren’t grabbing me and sticking your head under your seat where it doesn’t belong, I wouldn’t have been able to kick you in the nose at all!”
When he got off the bus, I saw him walk to his mom. He told her what had happened, tears falling down his cheeks.
Defeating the Bully
His mom called my parents to complain, so my dad asked me what happened the moment I got home. I told him the truth: he grabbed my ankle under the seat and I kicked hard to get loose. My dad was furious! He called Adrian’s mom back and I still remember how he defended me. “If your son had been in his seat, not under my daughter’s seat, harassing her and grabbing her without her permission, he would not have gotten kicked in the face. As far as I’m concerned, it’s his fault he got kicked.”
At the mention of the word “harassing” his mom started acting really sorry, saying that there was no reason to use that word. However, my dad knew what I know now as an adult. Touching anybody without their permission is harassment. And harassment has serious consequences. The school could have punished or even suspended him. Other kinds of harassment can even put you in jail.
She didn’t want it to be true, but when she heard my side of the story, she knew that my dad was right. Adrian had grabbed me without my permission and that was harassment. She told my dad that it wouldn’t happen again, and that was the end of the phone call. My dad congratulated me on defending myself and we never talked about Adrian again.
In the end, I don’t know what sort of lecture Adrian got that day but he barely ever spoke to me again. At all.
Bullying has always existed, and it will probably always exist. It is not your fault you are being bullied. It is never the victim’s fault. And it will get better. The people in the bully’s life should have taught him or her to be a better person.
Somebody should have taught them how to be a productive member of society, and they failed in that task. I’m sorry they failed you. I hope you gather the courage to stand up to your bully. And if you can’t, reach out to someone that can help you, like a parent or teacher. Nobody deserves to be the target of bullying.
With all my support,
2 thoughts on “Open Letter to Bully Victims”
Thank you for sharing this. My daughter came to me crying, telling me that so-and-so said or did this and it had me feeling helpless, scared for my child, and most of all angry. We talked through it, but in the end, as much as I want to, I just can’t keep her under lock and key, preventing her from living life. I hope your post sparks something to let the victims know that they are not alone.
Hi Susan, thank you for sharing your story with me. Bullying is definitely hard to address as a parent. Do you encourage walking away? Fighting back? Playing it safe?
I agree with you, keeping them under lock and key isn’t the answer, especially since bullying can also be pervasive in the workplace, depending on what field you enter.
I hope your daughter is doing better!