This week is Anti-Bullying week, so I thought I would share with you a story that happened to me when I was at school. It’s one of many events that happened, but this one stood out to me beacuse I wanted to show that bullying isn’t just physical: hitting, punching and calling someone names, it can be mental too, like threatening someone or cyber bulling.
For the sake of this story I will call my friend ‘Lisa’ and the girl who was sending the threats, ‘Helen’
When I was in year 10 I was bullied for something I didn’t do. It all started when our school had to have new windows installed. I went to an all girls school, so having male builders in seemed to be a novelty and distracted a lot of the girls in my class. In particular, was a young boy who was an apprentice. Most of the girls would swoon, gazing out of the classroom window to look at him while I was a bit of a geek and couldn’t care less! One of my friends though, Lisa, completely fell for him. She would try and follow him around the building and would go bright red whenever she saw him.
Cameras weren’t allowed in school, but one day I managed to sneak mine in because I wanted to take some nice photos at breaktime of my friends, having a laugh and playing around. Lisa begged me to try and get a photo of this boy, but I was very reluctant because I didn’t want my camera to get confiscated. She was my friend though, so I eventually gave in. Rather than take a ‘pap’ shot from afar as I had thought, she went right up to the guy and asked for a photo of them together. *click* The photo was taken and the deed was done.
That evening I sent her the photo via MSN (remember that?) and she set it as her display picture. The next thing I know, another girl, Helen, has started a conversation with me. I knew her as she was in my class but we rarely spoke. She told me that she’d seen the photo and heard that I had his phone number. This was news to me! I didn’t even know his name let alone have his phone number, and anyway, why would I be interested?! I told her the truth and logged off as it was getting late.
The next day, Helen approached me and asked me for the number. How did I get involved in all this? I just took the photo! I didn’t even like him! She didn’t seem to understand that though, and told me that she KNEW I had it and that she would break in to my house in the night while I was asleep to get it. She told me she would then take a photo of me asleep and post it on the internet for everyone to see. I knew this was a load of rubbish and that it would never happen, but just to be safe I told my parents. They reassured me it was fine, and told me to keep away from her, which I tried to do anyway!
In the mean time, I asked Lisa if she had spoken to the girl on MSN the night I sent her the photo. She said she had spoken to her and told her I took the photo, but she swore she didn’t mention anything about a phone number.
The little niggly ‘threats’ continued for the next few days to which I would just tell her that I DIDN’T have the number and could she leave me alone now please. I even thought about writing down a random number on a piece of paper and giving it to her, but that could have got me into more trouble.
One night I was on MSN talking to my friends and Helen started a conversation with me. It’s easy to say that in hindsight I should have blocked her and deleted her from my ‘friends’ list, but when you’re 15 you don’t tend to think logically! Anyway, this time she was a lot more aggressive. Why couldn’t she let it go? Why didn’t she just believe me?! She told me that if I didn’t give her the number now I wouldn’t live past the next day. She told me that if I went in to school she would find me and beat me up.
For me that was the last straw. I was in tears and called for my mum to come upstairs. As soon as she saw me I showed her the conversation that was still on screen. She knew that Helen had been making silly little threats as I had told her before but this time she was not happy and insisted that I print out the conversation and then block and delete her right away.
I begged to stay at home the next day but my parents decided that I should go into school and be brave. They told me that Helen’s threats were completely hollow and that she would never go through with them. They said I shouldn’t be scared because that’s how Helen wants me to feel. I kenw that what they were saying was right, but I was terrified regardless!
I walked into school the next morning, shaking like a leaf, and couldn’t wait until my friends arrived so I could sit with them – safety in numbers and all that! When they did turn up, I told them all that Helen had told me she was going to beat me up so they promised to stick by me. I hadn’t seen Helen yet, but I felt like my destiny was immanent and was scared to walk around the corner in case she was there. She wasn’t though!
I eventually saw Helen in class and she seemed surprised to see me. What had I done? It made me feel really self-conscious, but she turned away and carried on talking to her friends. Was that it?
Maybe she was saving me until lunchtime…
She didn’t! No interrogations or threats… nothing!
Right, that’s it, she’s going to be waiting outside the school gates so that she doesn’t get caught by the teachers….
Nope… Just my usual bus journey home.
I was relieved to be home and told my parents about my day. I realised that they were right that Helen was somehow jealous thinking I had a phone number, and that she wanted me to fear her, and admittedly I was still weary the next couple of days just in case she approached me again, but she never did. It was the most bizarre thing.