Being bullied is a horrible feeling. There’s a lot of powerlessness, some fear, some guilt. It’s a lot to deal with when you’re already struggling with everything else that’s a part of school, puberty, and growing up. And our schools don’t do much to teach you how to handle yourself in a bullying situation. So here are a few things to remember.
- It is not your fault. You didn’t bring this on yourself by your hobbies or the way you dress or the way you look or anything you did or didn’t do. The bully or bullies made the choice. Blame lies entirely in their hands. Remember this, it’s the most important thing.
- This means, for good or bad, that there is nothing you can change about yourself to stop it. So you keep on being you.
- Reach out. It’s not stupid or childish or cheating to ask for help. Tell your parents. Tell your teachers. Tell your friends. The more people who know there is a problem, the more people you will find are on your side. Even if it’s not everyone you tell, assembling a Team You is key.
- If you tell an adult and they brush it off, tell another adult. And another and another until you find one on Team You. You do not deserve to be bullied, and you do deserve to be believed and helped until you feel safe again.
- Bullying is not just ‘kids being kids.’ Beating people up is assault, and it’s as much a crime at 12 as it is at 22. Even making threats can be a crime, especially if they’ve carried through with those threats before. Check with an adult on Team You first, but always remember that you have the option to go to the police if things get violent. Keep that option open by taking photos of any injuries you receive. If you’re safe doing so, film the threats and take photos of any injuries. Just letting the bullies know that you’re prepared to go that far might protect you.
The two most important things, though, are to know that it’s not your fault, and to get yourself the help that you deserve. Bullies need to be stopped, and they need to be stopped young. Everyone needs to speak up to stop it.