Speak up about bullying

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 8, 2015

When I was growing up, I saw my fair share of people being bullied and was also a target.
The most heinous incident occurred when I was in elementary school. A male classmate of mine used to punch me in the back while no one was watching. I can’t remember how many times this happened, but I do remember being too scared to report it to anyone, including my parents.
I would come home in pain and have difficulty breathing, but I just went to my room and told my parents I was tired.
For the next several weeks, I endured in silence, believing somehow I deserved the abuse.
One day, a friend of mine witnessed the incident and told her mom, who then called mine.
My parents were upset that I hid this information from them, but even more so that this had happened to me.
Upon learning of the incident, school officials promptly took the proper action.
This was not the only instance of bullying I experienced growing up and while I don’t condone it, I believe these experiences gave me some of the tools needed to survive in a world where I’m not shielded by my parents or school officials.
Bullying does not end after high school.
There are adults that enjoy making others miserable and causing pain.
I’m relieved that I grew up before the massive popularity of social media and cell phones. I didn’t have a phone until I was 18-years-old and attending college.
These technological advances appear to contribute to and feed bullying.
I believe the best way to combat some of the world’s ugliness is to keep the lines of communication open and honest between a parent and child.
It’s best to know what your child is doing and with whom they associate.
In that same regard, I encourage young adults to report any instances of abuse and bullying to parents or school officials.

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