My brother and I are 9 years apart, which is a pretty large gap but it never stopped us from being extremely close. We are all each other has. As an older sister I learned how to be a motherly supportive figure in my younger brother's life early on but realized later that there are some things that even I cannot protect him from. I started noticing changes in my brother starting in the fifth grade. For a person who is always positive and smiling, a dark cloud hung over my brother's head that began sending red flags up in the air. I tried asking him if there was something he wanted to discuss or if there was something bothering him at school but he just gave me a halfway smile and claimed there was nothing wrong. So I listened to him and believed he was fine. Then I started noticing he never really talked about friends anymore or anything interesting that was happening at school. He used to tell me everything from how the birds were chirping so loudly in the morning to what the teacher's socks were that day. But all the cheerfulness was gone, all the energy and life of my baby brother drained. And as a sister, I was more concerned than ever. I started noticing an apathy that was hard to describe and finally after a few months, I saw it with my own eyes. A huge bruise on his arm and I could not help but burst into tears. Someone was hurting my brother and I did not even know. He told me about the daily tormenting at school and the other boys calling him fat and a fag for joining chorus. He told me they would push him in the bathroom and make his friends not talk to him because he was a faggot. He said he doesn't have friends anymore and that it was okay because his best friend was me and that was all he needed to be happy. He told me he didn't want me to worry and that if he kept quiet it would eventually go away. I was furious that anyone could do that to my brother but let alone a child. I knew that during my childhood, it was a different kind of verbal bullying that damaged my self esteem until mid-high school but never in my life was I ever touched or physically hurt. And so I pulled my brother in close and held him the tightest I could and told him that I would always be his friend but first I am his sister. I know there are people out there going through the same thing. I know there are siblings, children, neighbors, friends that have to go through this everyday and it hurts. If someone you love is going through this, don't ever back down from the cause. We can fight bullying and we can prevent it. There are ways to discuss this in a healthy way and make sure it does not happen again. I am joining this cause to defend my brother and to defend all those loved ones out there that have to go this pain. We can do this together, for my brother, for you, for all of us. I am grateful for the things the Bully Project does and I will continue to support this cause!
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