Hello, my name is Elisabeth and I am 18 years old.
When I was in grade school, I was bullied. Harshly. And in a sad twisted way, it has made me become a better person. Because I have the personal experience of being the victim and can relate to so many kids.
I remember being shunned, hit, ignored, picked last in gym, called names, betrayed by friends for popularity and punished by adults for self-defense.
Because there were days when I couldn't take anymore and took a stand. And when founded by teachers, they accused me for "asking for it". Or for "doing something to give the child a reason to bully me". It made my blood boil whenever my bully, Patrick, would just get a tap on the hand and I would get detention. The reason why he was let of so easily? Because it was KNOWN to ALL THE ADULTS that Patrick has a short temper because of things going on at his home. They KNEW he had a violent temper and took pity on him for it, and it was ME who was the bully because I angered him.
There are many things I can remember, but the one I remember the most was when I hit him back. It was recess, and I was with my "friends" and Patrick came behind me and started punching me in the head.
As a victim, I was told by all the adults to "ignore" bullies, to "walk away". And feeling that the adults advice was only the wisest, that it what I did.
Punch after punch, I ignore him, I braced myself for it every time, but I ignored it, my "friends" would just stand there and watch him, and I tried my best to continue our conversation, while Patrick and his buddies would punch me over and over in the head. Then I remembered the rule "walk away"... Still ignoring him, I suggested to my friends if we should go somewhere else, so while we were walking away he followed, then came the shoves, slaps, pulling hair - he followed.
That's when I had had enough, the advice was not working and I couldn't take it anymore, so I turned around - not saying a word.
And I slapped him across the face.
No words said.
No violent hand gestures.
After all that punching, slapping, shoving, screaming names right in my ear, I slapped him once.
And I was given the same amount of detention as him "because I too, was being violent".
This document brought back to that dark place, and ugly burn in my chest came back, after all these years. Because I felt the injustice again. The feeling of being betrayed by the people who promised you that they'd protect you. That told you they understood your pain. And did nothing.