Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Message About Being Bullied


Years ago in high school, I walked my girlfriend to class.  It was a normal day except for something that enfolded right before my eyes.  I saw this bully approach a smaller boy, smaller in stature, quiet and unassuming; his victim.  The bigger boy backed by five other tough guys asked the little boy for a quarter.  The smaller boy attempted to comply by first opening up his locker and placing his books in it.  The bigger boy kept on hounding him to hurry up, classes were about to start.  Several teachers witnessed this event but did nothing.  It was well documented that these thugs had a reputation of violence and some had criminal records.  So when the little man began pulling money from his pocket the bully slams a fist on the boy’s jaw knocking him down.  The frenzy began; his partners hoot and hollered, screaming and laughing, encouraging him on to finish the job which the bully gladly obliged by throwing punch after punch. 


 I was several feet away.  

Other witnesses spread out not wanting to be near this horrific event.  I couldn’t just watch.  Mind you, I was a good soaking wet 110 lbs., outweighed and outmatched.  I could handle perhaps one of the five bullies but not all.  Knowing full well, trying to get between this mess was suicidal, I told myself, "The heck with it."  I jumped in, grabbed the attacker by the back of his shirt, spun him around and slammed him against the other side of the wall.  Bang!  The sound echoed throughout the hallway.

Silence.  

One of the teachers screamed something stupid like "You boys stop this instantly!"  My girlfriend helped the injured boy escape while all attention was centered on me and how I was going to respond to a bee hive of activity.  Other teachers who saw the situation started placing calls to the front office to call the police.  Circled by six very powerful bullies with evil intent in their eyes it was not going to be good.  Then out of the blue, a football buddy of mine stepped in and stood beside me.  He said, “Okay.  Looks like we’ve got an even fight now.  So who’s first?”  The bullies sneered and walked away.  Appears it was okay to whup on one small and defenseless person, but two was too much for them.

I stepped in, not because I was a super hero.  Far from it.  When I saw that boy get his ass kicked, it brought back painful memories.  Like that boy, I was bullied.  Several times, I gave in to taunts and sneers, got slapped around and face bloodied.  I was afraid, felt helpless, didn't know what to do.  I couldn't tell my dad. I would've lost face.  For some reason, and don't ask me why, I decided enough was enough.  I was in the boy's restroom when I was confronted.  I guess the plan was to stick my head down the toilet after they peed in it.  Days ago, I would've let them do it, but this time I told them no. No one was going to push me around any more.  I fought back.  Actually, which was the first time in my whole life then, I threw the first punch and bloodied the leader's nose.  How I did it, where it came from since I never threw a punch before in my life, never was instructed on how to fight except watching boxers go at it on television, it just happened, and it felt good till the the burning, excruciating pain shot through my hand; think I broke a knuckle.  That experience lasted for maybe a half a second because what happened next was pretty much a blur.  My friends who just watched it all happen said I got body slammed, kicked on the ribs and had a garbage can thrown on top of me.  It wasn’t pretty and it took several days to recover lost feeling in my broken hand and arms and breathe normal.  For some reason, because I faced my aggressors head on, I was left alone.  I guess it was no longer fun when they knew I’d fight back; not a martial artist then I failed my first fight miserably and they could've continued the beatings, but this event was good enough.

This happened about 40 years ago, and I’m making an assumption that this type of behavior occurs frequently, almost every day in some form or another, something we humans do to each other for whatever reason, perhaps an pack wolf Alpha male thing.  I don’t agree with it, but I know it happens.  

Why?  

Ask the smart people in the world who think this can be resolved with understanding and education.

Almost all non-bullies have their own unique stories and this is mine.  Being bullied is a lonely and helpless feeling.  You may be fortunate to have your own little support group; but, there are many of you who live through this alone: your path, your story, your burden. Sucks big time, but it’s your life.  Aside from talking to authority figures (which I know is something you struggle with every second of your life), there’s only one of two ways to deal with this: Continue to be the victim or face your aggressors head on.  I am sorry, very sorry; but either way, you're going to have to pay a price.

  
Don't just survive.

Take control and live.

Refuse to be bullied.

1 comment:

  1. The following is an email comment from Alan Kandel, karate sensei about his childhood experience with bullying.

    In junior high school, one of my physical education teachers developed his own brand of behavior modification. It involved shouting out a student's last name if that particular student was a behavior problem. Before the disobedient student knew it, the rest of the students in the class would pile on top of the misbehaving one. Needless to say, although not used that many times, that seemed to be enough to alter the disobedient behavior.

    One day the physical education teacher was absent from class and as a result there was no supervision. Huge mistake. One of the kids in class, for whatever reason, called out my last name.

    Before I knew it, I was rushed by a seemingly more-than-happy-to-oblige mob thereby putting me in my place so to speak - at the bottom of the pile, in other words. I knew I hadn't done anything to deserve that treatment but it happened nonetheless. I reported the incident to school authorities and the person responsible for inciting the group to pile on top of me was either suspended or expelled. It's been years since this happened, so I have a vague recollection. Another huge mistake, apparently, because everyone at school and their brother it seemed had become a threat. I was fearful of retaliation, especially from the younger brother of the person who was responsible for the situation.

    Time passed, and the incident became a distant memory.

    Then after graduating high school and after entering junior college, we met face to face. There were no hostile verbal exchanges this time as our conversation was civilized. In fact, I was quite taken aback.

    At the end of the day, something positive had come out of a negative situation.

    Alan

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