* 1 out of ever 4 kids will be bullied sometime throughout their adolescence.
* About 1 in 7 students in grades Kindergarten through 12th is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying.
According to the statistics, if you are reading this you have probably been bullied in some form or another.
Here's my story~I will never forget this day..even the small details will be forever etched in my memory.
I was in 5th grade, the last wonderful year of elementary. I was also the new girl. Not a good combination. I was enjoying school and had friends.
Or so I thought.
The day was a beautiful, bright, sunny day. I, as most kids my age, was so excited to go outside for recess. The time finally came and the whole class, along with the other two 5th grade classes, ran for the outdoors, the basketball courts, the playground, the 4-Square boxes. A group of us gathered around and one girl suggested that we play the memory game. This was a game we had played before. One person does something, a cartwheel, leap, dance move, etc. and the next person goes and does what the previous person did then adds on, and it goes on to the next person and so forth. No big deal right!!~wrong!!
The first girl went and did a cartwheel. The second girl did a cartwheel and then added hers, a back-handspring. Then I was told it was my turn. Uhh..okay..I didn't, still don't, know how to do a back-handspring. I tried to tell them that. The same girl looked around at the others, who started to giggle (I know..my first sign right..) and said, "It's okay! Most of the group can't. Just try and then we can move on." So I stood up and went to the front of the group. I did my cartwheel. I began to transition from cartwheel to back-handspring when I saw it. One of the worst thing I've ever actually seen with my own eyes.
Every single one of them was running.
Away from me.
At first I thought, "hey what's going on..I'd better go see!" So I actually went after them! (I know..pretty dumb right..)
They kept running.
And laughing. I will never forget that sound.
I walked away towards the school building.
I stood in the corner against the wall.
A girl came up to me and asked me what was wrong. I told her. She wasn't happy about it. She left to go find a teacher. While she was gone, one of the girls in the group, the same one who did the back-handspring, came up to me and apologized. She said it wasn't her fault, wasn't her idea, and she shouldn't have gone along with it. (yeah right huh!) But, I said okay and said it was fine.
Then I heard the bell..thank goodness it was time to go back to class! Exactly what I wanted. Exactly what I needed.
Except I missed most of that afternoon of class.
About five minutes into class the door opened and there, standing in the doorway was that group of girls. To say I didn't want to see them would be an understatement. They asked if I could be excused and my teacher agreed. (my guess is he knew about what happened or else he wouldn't have agreed to let me out of class for some "friends.") We went in the hallway and the flood of apologies came.
A bit too rapidly.
A bit too forced.
A bit too insincere.
Apparently the teacher who my friend had told about this incident was 100% more than unhappy about it. She told the girls that it was completely unacceptable and that they were to go get me and make known their "I'm sorry's." So they did.
The rest of the year went without another incident. There were about 25 girls at my 11 year birthday party and about half of them were the offenders in this story. We went to three years of middle school and four years of high school together. There were different times after 5th grade that I hung around different girls from this story. But, every time I did and every time I was around any of the guys (yep..there were also guys in this story..they were playing the game with us, but none of them ever actually played and none of them mentioned this incident around me ever again) I felt that heat. That rush of embarrassment. That feeling of "something is wrong with me."
Even though the issue at hand was immediately resolved, it is safe to say that I was never the same afterwards. Not the next week, not the next year, not even now, 17 years later. I will not say that this ran my life but it did change me. I know the names of every single person involved. I know the names of everyone who made a specific action towards me that day. I have always felt slightly small around them since. I still talk to some of them but the feelings are always there, always underlying. I have always felt some sense of embarrassment, some sense of "I'm not as good as them." Chances are that will never change.
This also changed me for the better. Without a doubt I am more susceptible to noticing bullying when others can't seem to see what is really going on. I can say I have never seen someone teased or seen a fight and not stepped in. It's just not in me. I can't sit back and watch it. I refuse to see others being bullied, in any form of the word. I don't ever want someone to feel the way I felt. The way I feel.
And THAT is something I can be grateful for!
(statistics from The American Justice Department)