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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Because I think it really comes down to this
msauvage purple
So today is Spirit Day. I don't really have any purple to wear, nor anyone to see me wearing it. Bullying has been pretty exhaustively discussed on the internets the last few weeks (although I liked this post the best); I don't really want to get into any of the hows and whys. I was mildly tormented throughout my entire grade-school career, not nothing near as bad as a lot of people had to endure. And the one thing I've figured out from that experience, for absolute sure, is that bullying is able to happen when good people do nothing.

So it doesn't really matter to me what "reason" bullies decide on when they start picking on you. They don't think you're the "right" gender, the right orientation, the right color, the right size; I don't really care. What I'm telling you now is that I'm not going to just stand here anymore. Everyone always says, "Well, it's none of my business." Bullying will be my business now. If I see someone giving you shit, I will tell them to cut that shit out, and we'll take it from there. And if you aren't the one being bullied, and you're standing next to me, I hope you'll back me up. I hope you would do the same for me.

That's my contribution today.

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As a person that was bullied all throughout her life because of her weight, I thank you. And I'd certainly back you up.

Just an FYI - if you are ever in a situation where you have yelled (literally) yelled for help, and no help has been forthcoming - yell "fire" instead. For some reason, people will actually look towards that and, hey, maybe even help.

Lastly, don't forget the rule of three, as we taught our kids:

First time someone "picks" on you, tell them to stop it (lay down you line in the sand).

Second time someone does this, Raise you hand and tell the teacher (they may and may not do anything. That isn't the only purpose for telling them).

Third time - you have our complete permission to punch them in the nose. We will stand behind you with the teacher, with the principal, with the administration, with the school board.

And then, of course, as a parent, you have to walk the walk here.

It wasn't a cure-all - for one thing, if there is even a hint it will be misused by your own child to bully someone else - let's just say the wrath of God is mild in comparison.....

But it let our kids know they did not have to put up with mistreatment.

The proudest moment of my life took place in O'Hare Airport. It was 5 am, I was in line at a bagel place, and everyone was cranky. The guy in line in front of me started berating the Hispanic cashier because she got his order wrong, going off about how "you people" should learn English, had no right to be working there, etc. "Hey!" I said. "There's no need for that." He looked shocked that someone actually called him on his shit. He shut up, paid for his bagel, and went on his way. It was a small thing, but I had always hoped that I would stand up for someone that way, and I did.

So one person can make a difference, even if it's a small one.

Word. Word word word.I wasn't bullied terribly badly during school, but ther were some unpleasant incidents, like the time a girl almost bashed me over the head with a chair in the locker room after gym class because some other girl said I called her a bitch. (I was eleven. I had never even *though* of uttering that word. Of course, when I told the gym teacher, because I didn't tell him what happened in *exactly* the same way (being, y'know *eleven* and having almost been brained with a chair), he didn't believe me.
(Or elementary school, where some people thought it was funny to laugh at me cos I was bald. Yeah, because I *totally* chose to have an autoimmune disorder that made all my hair fall out when I was six. :/ (Oddly, that one didn't actually bother me. I figured it was their problem, not mine.)
And then there was high school when there was a boy constantly picking on me at lunch (wouldn't leave me alone, liked stealing my lunch box and making me run after him, etc.). I told the principal and ended up with what was more or less lunchtime detention for a while for my trouble, having to eat in the office (with the little bastard who'd been bothering me). He did get disciplined, though-his uncle is a cop and got called for a conference, after which I had no more trouble from the little git.

On standing up for other people when they're being bullied or harassed: I actually got into an argument with a couple of guys about two weeks ago because they were being asshats and I took exception to it. I was in a carryout with these guys (who had been talking to me until I refused to answer the question of whether I was into "whips and chains and all that"-evidently the face full of metal and oddly coloured hair means that people think they can say whatever they want to me) when a gay couple walked in. One of them was rubbing his partner's back while they were standing at the counter and the two idiots who were waiting for their food suddenly started muttering about suddenly feeling sick and how it wasn't right, one guy rubbing another one's back like that. It pissed me off, but I didn't get involved until the two asshats actually had the nerve to go up to the couple and ask them why the were "like that" and some other moronic question, at which point I very clearly told them it was none of their damn business. Apparently that didn't make them too happy, because we got involved in an argument in the middle of the carryout. The one guy seemed to find it amusing or something that I didn't "like him" after he started in on "the fags". well, gee, mate, ya think? *eyeroll* Apparently, I am a bitch, an "emotional white person" and deserve to have my head split open because I don't tolerate asshats harassing people who are just trying to get some bloody food. I did feel kind of bad for jumping in on their behalf when I know they could have handled themselves, but I couldn't *not* say something when I was standing there watching it happen. To me, that's what's important, not wearing a certain colour on a certain day.

Learning Judo--the defensive martial art--right now (as in I'm posting during my break). I want to not feel threatened in a hostile world. If I can be confident in my own safety then I hope to extend that to others.

Here here! I was bullied in middle and high school, and the effects are not "okay", or a "phase", or any other BS. I had some close friends attempt suicide in middle school, and the (word) little jerks who tormented them to that point deserve to be ostracized by their peers at the very least. After I got tired of it and snapped at them a couple times, people stopped bullying around me. If it worked for me, it will work for others. It might not be that easy for others-I had a very docile high school- but something is better than nothing...

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Re: It isn't only children in school who deal with bully problems.

This. Those bullies grow up (physically, at least) and become bully coworkers. Hey, it worked for them in school, no one rebuked them for it, why not in the workplace?

Mary MMM

I was bullied pretty badly in middle school by a certain kid. But the good news is I bumped into the person recently and he sincerely apologized all over himself for the way he acted when he was younger.

Bullies aren't always horrible people for their whole lives. Sometimes they do think about the pain they may have caused someone and just never get the courage or opportunity to make amends. I think it's so important to retain the ability to forgive.

You have a lot of wonderful people reading your journal. There are so many people behind you, we're like the world's longest conga line!

My resolution for this year was to not allow myself to be bullied anymore, after some bad experiences last year with a 'friend' who was bullying me something chronic. I'd thought I'd left bullying behind in school, but no, it happens in adulthood too, it's just much more insidious. It's been a hard resolution to keep but I've learned one major thing: often, everyone else is afraid of the bully too. All it takes sometimes is one person to stand up to them, then everyone realises it is possible, and follows suit.

Your post makes me realise it's not enough to not tolerate bullying to me. So I'm expanding my resolution to encompass what you say. I still find bullies frightening, but a little less so each time I manage to stand up to one.

Cleo, you rock.

That is all.

So the other end of the spectrum here...

Long time lurker, first time commenter!

It has been quite interesting reading all these responses, and that was a hellagood post on your part, Cleo! Definitely feeling a bit enlightened and I have this distinct urge to go kick some ass and take some names!

When I was in elementary, I was completely horrible to this poor girl two grades below me. Absolutely awful. Not only that, but I definitely played ringleader, and I definitely knew better. Being nasty to her almost was like a rush of adrenalin, it was fun to torment her.

I am many years out of elementary, and when I see someone being bullied, or if I am being more ruthless than necessary, I think about that poor girl, and feel like complete shit. I can't say I don't deserve that, and I truly wish that I could somehow make it up to her.

Sometimes I just think back to that time, and wonder how I could have possibly thought it was alright. I wonder if one of my friends had called me on my shit, would I have stopped?

It is truly one of the single worst memories I have, and I wonder, if I am in this much turmoil over it, even so long after the fact, how does she feel? Did I destroy her personality? Turn her into a hermit? How badly did I screw that poor kid up?

So, I have definitely taken that oath, if I see someone giving shit, I will tell them to cut that shit out. I don't want them to end up in my position, and I certainly don't want to put that horrible bullied experience on any other would-be victims.

Active, social change, and continuing to educate others about tolerence - this will lead to a better world. I know that if I manage to make even one person think twice about using a dumb gay slur, I feel like Wonder Woman. I think if more people commit to trying to change things, it will be powerful and wonderful.

I really liked the link you posted. Sometimes the situation calls for some harsh words right back at them.

Thank you for this. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.