Saturday, 22 October 2011
Anti-Bullying Week 2011 - Bullying and Me
When I started at senior school I was the tallest in our class, I was one of only two in the year with red hair, I was shy and I needed braces. That was all it took. I was called all sorts of names like 'Duracell' 'carrot top' and 'Jaws' and as time went on there would be whispering behind my back and then nasty stuff said in front of my face. It got to the point where I didn't want to go to school, despite enjoying the lessons, and I didn't have a clue what to do about it.
It was a teacher who discovered what was going on. She called me into a room one day and she said (I will never forget this), "You have a high IQ but your results aren't showing it. What is going on?" and I told her everything. The headmistress then dealt with the bullies (the process of which was terrifying to me as I was made to stand up in the middle of assembly while the ringleader named her 'gang' and included someone who hadn't done anything. I have felt bad about this ever since. This girl thought it was ME who had named her). Anyway, after this apologies were made, and the bullying stopped.
Why then did I find myself writing my debut novel about a girl who is bullied? Because even now, I feel the results of it. When I enter a room full of people I don't know, I instantly think none of them will like me. I am still more of a listener than a talker and I think some people think I am being anti-social or ignorant but it's because I am scared I will say something and be laughed at. This is thirty years later.
Bullying is a damaging thing. Bullies may think they are being clever or even be hiding their own insecurities by trying to look 'hard' in front of their mates, and the worst thing is, it is going on ALL the time.
These days with the internet there are places that can help, Bullying UK being one of those charities. I mentioned them in my book and I have always pledged to support them. I am donating 10% of any profit I make from sales of my debut novel to Bullying UK.
Please help me to support Bullying UK if you can. There are buttons in the right panel of this blog if you would like to order a copy.