Society as it stands revel in the downfall of "bad guys", "celebs" and people we deem "had it coming"...but we are also suckers for an underdog. We thrive on stories of someone who fell down and got back up again. Trust me, I have tried to understand this, but I do not.
The story I am about to tell you, is the reason why I embarked on my journey with bullying - my cousin who got bullied. I am now going to tell you his story, and what has since happened. For the sake of privacy, I am not mentioning any names, as the parties involved are minors.
When he was in Grade 2 (about 8 years of age), a new kid came into his school. This kid was physically big and very strong. At first they were friends, but then this kid became nasty and my cousin did not want to be his friend any longer. The kid would hide my cousin's belongings at first, but it escalated to him pushing and shoving and ultimately pushing my cousin off of steps and other objects. He would also grab my cousin's book-bag and shove it in the garbage bin. My cousin had physical bruising caused by this kid pushing him off the walkway. It had also happened that he slammed my cousin's head into a wall so hard that my cousin had a concussion.
Their teacher made it worse by reprimanding my cousin, telling him it must be his fault, he is the one looking for trouble with this child. The kid was labelled as a bully but nothing was ever done because "he's just a bully".
My aunt moved him to a private school to give him self confidence and moved him to another public school in Grade 4. Everything went well for the first term, until this specific kid was also transferred there. He was expelled from the previous school due to his bullying behaviour and thus him and my cousin were in the same school yet again. According to my aunt, it was a rough year, but somehow, they made it through.
In Grade 5 (where he is now about 10-11 years old), my cousin developed an intense school phobia. He refused to go to school. Another child in his school had a physical disability (something to do with his hands and feet), but he is fiercely strong [he hit another learner so hard that he had to get stitches in his mouth]. This kid surrounded himself with a gang of friends who made my cousin's life a misery. The teachers refused to address the matter and said: "Yes, this child is a problem, but he has a disability, what can we do?" After which the principal decided my cousin is the actual problem because he doesn't have enough life skills. My cousin was then sent to an educational psychologist. He was then put on anti-depressants and after 6 months of therapy my aunt could get him to go to school.
In Grade 6 (11-12 years old) the teachers decided that my cousin was the instigator and bully all along and treated him as such, giving him a lot of problems.
Due to the fact that my aunt and uncle were constantly in the principal's office trying to address these problems, the teachers took it upon themselves to administer very strict discipline upon my cousin, giving him demerits for things like walking into the class last, looking around in class, work not done fast enough, anything they deemed fit. The teachers also refused to listen to any of his problems.
One day during break time, my cousin phoned my aunt, exasperated because nobody wanted to help him and because there was a child following him, wanting to beat him. He subsequently got caught and my aunt was asked to the principal's office. My aunt notes that she totally lost her temper that day and finally got some results. The teacher had to apologize to my cousin. What happened was, one boy and his friend cornered my cousin and my cousin defended himself, the two boys got a bit of a beating because my cousin had a lot of pent up anger.
In another instance, a kid slapped my cousin because he wanted to break up a fight. He then returned the slap and the school allowed the child who slapped's father to reprimand my cousin without my aunt's knowledge or her being present.
With many emotional and physical scars - he made it through primary school.
Then, they moved to a new town. He started over. In a new high school.
Four months into his high school career (he is turning 14 in a week or so), and he is a totally changed person. My aunt says that he has his teenager tantrums and normal boyish things, however; he is so much more alive and so grown up. Of the boy of about 10/11 that wanted to commit suicide, because life was too much and too hard and too bad to handle, there is no trace.
He has a large group of friends who stand up for him when others try to break him down and he himself is not afraid to stand up for himself, or others. His principal has also mentioned that it takes guts to walk into a principal's office, asking for help (which my cousin has done). He doesn't ask my aunt and uncle for help in solving his school problems - he solves them himself.
Funny enough, there was a guy who wanted to beat him because he is popular among the lady folk at school, and very calmly, my cousin sat him down, and told him, that they really could be friends, if it weren't for this guy's bad attitude - and he shouldn't blame it on his bad circumstances at home, it is his choice to rise above it. They shook hands after parting ways.
My aunt notes that he has so much self-confidence that she can almost not believe it is the same boy that suffered for 6 years. He now has more life skills than many adults will ever have. For the first time ever, my cousin is proud of his school.
Yes, it can get better - the only way out, is through. Cuz, I am SO SO very proud of you - because of YOU, No More Bullies came to be. I knew you would stand up. You are a perfect example of courage, perseverance and inner strength, even at the age of almost 14. You make me proud, young man. Great things await you.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.