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.

New Beginnings has been received well so far by people ranging from 9 to 70+. It is the story of Sam, a girl who gets bullied as she starts at senior school, but finds ways to gain confidence and stand up for herself.

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.


  1. The time between late primary school & leaving secondary is a country with landmines everywhere. I remember that nausea, the not-knowing who was going to be the bottom of the heap after the weekend. I sidestepped all of it by running & hanging out with boys. I still feel the hesitation you describe re: entering a room full of strangers. I'm glad you've written about it.

  2. It's so sad what children put other children through.I too was bullied at secondary school by one boy,the reason, because I went to church and various church groups and he for some reason didn't like this. I eventually told a teacher when she saw me crying to one of my friends. He was dealt with by a prefects commitee and the bullying stopped although I did always avoid him.
    Looking back, this boy was very small, severly overweight and not very clever in class so maybe he had his own problems and being a thug was his only way of dealing with them.
    I have said before Rebecca your book should be used in first year classes in secondary school as children really need to read it. Can't wait for the sequel. We all need to stand up to the bullys in life.

  3. Bravo.Thanks for sharing. I was bullied and humiliated by teachers in infant school and still feel the repercussions. Thank you for speaking out and in your books!

  4. Thank you for Rebecca. I was bullied in secondary school too. Eventually I named my accusers and, similar to your experience, the girls I named were made to stand in assembly whilst the headmaster told everyone that they had bullied me. Sadly, in my case, this just made more girls join in as I was a 'grass' and it didn't stop until I left school. It affected me almost how it has affected you.

    I've enjoyed what I've read of your book. Unfortunately my daughter nabbed it first, then lent it to someone over half term, but I will get to finish it!

  5. I think bullying is something many many people (including me) have faced in our day to a greater or lesser extent.It's certainly not something we should be ashamed to admit. Now, being a parent I know that there are many reasons why a child may become either a bully or a victim of bullying and I know that in your book you look at both sides of the story. I admire your gesture to donate a portion of your book sales to Bullying UK.

  6. Rebecca, brava for sharing this painful story. I left secondary school a year early for university because I couldn't stand the bullying I got there. I never had the courage to tell anyone or do anything about it but flee.

    You are spot on that it continues to affect us in our later lives. I have the exact same reaction as you do when entering a room of strangers; your description brought me to tears as it is so true.

    I love this post, and I love New Beginnings. Thank you again for the courage to speak out for all of us who were bullied.

  7. I had and still have red hair and needed braces. It was rough...