This post is generously submitted for the 2011 All About Autism Series ~ by Jenny Ford:
One of my first memories of being bullied is when I was in the corner of the school yard. Don’t remember how I got there. And there was one kid on each side of me and they were taking turns slapping me across the face. I did not have time to react and run or say anything or do anything…(Since I have autism I have slower reactions then normal).
I saw the teacher and she just stood there. She saw what was happening I saw her look over. But she didn’t do anything. Suddenly in the background I saw my Mom. My Mom just happened to be visiting the school that day. I dunno why. She was all dressed up in a dress and high heals and when she saw me she jumped over a very tall fence that surrounded the playground and ran over and got those kids away from me. She took the kids by there coats and took em to the teacher who was supposed to be watching. And she asked the teacher why she didn’t do anything. The teacher just shrugged. So my Mom took those kids to the Principals office and demanded that something be done. The teacher was only reprimanded and the kids had to miss school for a day or so. My cheeks hurt for a week and my face was even swollen for a while.
Then I went to another school. Well that whole class of kids did not like me and I’m not exaggerating. See I was misdiagnosed with ADHD but they could tell I was not of their world. Something else was different. I was never left alone. They pulled my hair. They pushed me all the time. They pinched me. They hit me and punched me and kicked me. They threw things at me and called me names. Called me retard and spat at me. They called me a freak. Said I was ugly. Said I was stupid.
They even locked me outside so I couldn’t get into the classroom to have my lunch. And this was in Canada where it is sometimes minus 30 Celsius. The rule at my school was you weren’t allowed to eat outside so I always got in trouble. And I couldn’t explain it at the time because I couldn’t talk. Even if I could my bullies constantly threatened me that if I told anyone they would hurt me even more, and I believed them.
Even in the classroom they kicked me from under the desk or pulled my hair. The teachers never did anything. They just told me “if someone is bullying you just walk away.” When I walked or ran away they followed me. I had no escape from them. They rode the same bus with me to and from school. They even lived in my neighborhood. Every time I walked outside there they were ready to attack and make me feel miserable.
I remember one time when I was going on the bus and one big kid was assigning seats. He made me sit on the steps of the bus. If that bus had crashed I would have been killed. I got trampled over when the bus stopped and the kids got out.
One time the teacher put a note on my shirt that everybody could see that said in big bold letters “I did not pee my pants today.” Everyone laughed at me and I couldn’t figure out how to take it off so I had to wear it till I got home. One time during gym someone got at my clothes cause I changed to shorts and t-shirt for gym and they got at my other clothes and soaked them all in the sink in ice cold water and I had to wear ice cold wet clothes home in minus 30 weather. I was sick at home for I dunno how long. I didn’t get phenomena. GOD was surely watching over me.
One time literally the whole school ganged up on me. I’m not exaggerating. I wish I was but I’m not. Every kid in that school one day ganged up on me and just beat me up till I couldn’t even move and even then they were still kicking me. They would have beat me to death but they stopped cause of one tiny, little girl. She looked maybe 4 maybe younger. She told them to stop and helped me get to the nurses office. I never saw her before and haven’t since. But the teachers nor the principal never did anything about it. Even the school board wouldn’t even do anything.
The bullying got so bad that I started getting migraines on a daily bases. From the stress. My grades were falling rapidly. I wasn’t even passing anymore. The teachers gave up on me said I wasn’t trying. Said I was unable to learn. Even the Principal agreed with them. Then one morning my Mom was getting me up for school and I was so frightened I couldn’t even get out of bed. I couldn’t even move. That’s when my Mom decided it was time to home school me.
Being bullied isn’t fun. It damages how you think of yourself. You know the saying sticks and stones can brake my bones but words can never hurt me?? Nothing could be more untrue. Words are very hurtful and harmful. Putting someone down doesn’t make you cool. If you see someone getting hurt please either do something about it or tell someone who can do something about it. Don’t ever just walk by and ignore it.
Bullying is not just physical. You can bully someone emotionally and mentally. This treatment could make them in later years become bitter and resentful. They might even need therapy. You know that physical scars do go away but the emotional ones sometimes never do. The person bullied in later years may become more introverted and fearful of others. When you bully someone you could possibly change who they are for life. The person being bullied does not just shrug and forget about it. They remember it whether they are disabled or not. Most people thought I wouldn’t remember cause I’m disabled. I do remember. I remember it all like it was yesterday.
Some said cause I was disabled it didn’t really hurt me cause I didn’t say anything. It hurt me and I didn’t say anything cause I wasn’t able to and even if I was able to I was afraid the bullies would hurt me more. If you see someone being bullied and put a stop to it please make sure to get both sides of the story. Even if the other can’t talk please realize and remember there’s two sides to everything.
To those who have been bullied: you are not alone. GOD loves you and Jesus also got beaten cause He was different. He suffered before you did. If you have been bullied in the past and are still dealing with the hurts of being bullied I encourage you to please go to a Celebrate Recovery. It’s a Christ centered recovery group for any hurt, habit or hang-up. And please know its not your fault. You did not choose to be bullied. You did not make the bullies pick on you and hurt you. Nothing you said or did made you deserve being bullied.
To those who are bullies: You need to stop what your doing because you are causing more damage then you are aware of. Some people bully to make themselves feel more important or just to get attention because they’re not getting it at home. Some people bully because they’re living in an abusive home. If you fall in any of those categories, then please, I encourage you also to go to a Celebrate Recovery and even if you don’t fall in those categories then I encourage you to go anyway.
To those whose advice is to just walk away: This advice is useless. Please get some new advice because trust me, that doesn’t work. And don’t use the “just ignore it” advice. Trust me that doesn’t work either. Or the “just don’t give them the attention” advice. That won’t do it either. Believe me I avoided and ignored my bullies as much as I could and I still got bullied everyday.
And please parents don’t bring your kids up to feel nothing if they are being bullied because you think it might protect them more. Believe me that will not work. Pushing feelings away and bottling them up just makes things worse.
To all who have read this: Put a stop to bullying. You see anyone getting picked on or put down or hurt in anyway please do something. Don’t just walk away and do nothing that’s the worst thing you can do. If you can’t do anything then tell someone who can do something as quick as possible. Never wait and see if it’ll just end on its own cause it won’t…
Jenny Ford of The World of Mismatched Socks has been kind enough to share a glimpse into her world, through doors unlocked. Her words can give inspiration and perspective to every parent of a child with needs, and hope that we can help our children find their voice in the way she’s found hers and in other ways. In the end, the belief that our children’s voices can be heard is what we can hold.
I have to be honest here and tell you the thought of my son J, or any of my children, or your children, being bullied makes me physically sick and angry beyond words. I know this may be an inevitable part of their lives at some point in time, I just hope I’m wrong. I hope that there are enough campaigns, that there are enough efforts being made to recognize and stop bullying before it happens. What are your thoughts?