Very many people, and many of us have had contacts with people who are violent…, people have been discriminated against, even hit by others and publicly humiliated. We mean bullying, which is more widespread than we might think. Glen, a boy from Holland, narrates his story. He had the strength to bring about change in his life.
I was bullied from the age 6 to 16. It all began at school one day when some students were standing in a circle talking about the things we liked and what we wanted to do when we grew up. I said I wanted to be an actor or a camera operator or something like that. I really enjoy acting. They began laughing at me and excluding me. They did not like theatre, especially the boys, who only wanted to play football. That is why they started saying I was a girl. The girls thought I was strange too. Later on they did not want to have anything to do with me.
For example, at gym lessons, when we were changing, they said “you are a girl so go to the girls’ locker room. You should not be here”. Then they started kicking my things around, or hiding them and I had to go and look for them every time we had gym. The teacher who saw it all did not say anything.
Often, I complained to him but he seemed not to see what was happening. The more it went on, the worse it got, until no one wanted to sit beside me. It was as though I had a contagious illness. I felt lonely and isolated.
When I was 11, I left that school and went to another one to start over. I thought “start from scratch”. At first it was alright, but then it started again, even worse. They swore at me. Some would hold me, while others hit me. I didn’t want to go to school anymore. Even when I was 9, I said I wanted to die. I had no one. Only my mum, nobody else.
I felt it was impossible to change the situation, until I got to high school. At 16, I was very sad and started to write down what I was feeling, which helped me very much. So I thought “wow” I can do something now!
Then I had the idea of setting up a website against bullying, for other young people who feel alone and isolated, and have been victims of bullying, so as to help them and support them by talking about it. This helped me and boosted me so much. That’s how the site began. I started with a short blog asking “what do you think about bullying?” or “what can we do to stop bullying?”
After two days I had 40 contacts, all kinds of people or “friends in tribulation” who are, or were, victims of bullying and whose ages ranged from 13 – 40 years old. … They all wrote their experience signing their names and I was glad they did that. They too found that expressing what they felt helped them. Now I am happy to be able to help other people through the site; it makes me feel good.
Together we are strong.