Blamed for being bullied

A segment appeared on TV tonight about children being home schooled due to bullying. It prompted some debate between my father and I. I recounted a story I heard about someone now home schooling  her child due to bullying, which continued to occur despite moving schools multiple times. My father then suggested it was the fault of the child, or else why would they continue to get bullied at all these different schools? I disagreed with this. “Sometimes a child just doesn’t fit in, or they’re quieter, or others just sense that a person is different so they bully them,” I said. He continued to push the point that the child should try to fit in and it may be the child’s fault for being bullied, particularly if the child is, say, rude or standoffish. Of course, I disagreed with him. There is no excuse for bullying and abusing someone and it is not the fault of the person being bullied.

In Year 7 I experienced bullying. Three students who used to be ‘friends’ turned on me. They would bitch about me and make it obvious, they would purposefully ignore me, they’d make remarks to each other about not wanting to sit next to or be near me, one would cough the word ‘Loser’ while she walked past me, they’d make digs and laugh about me to each other; all the sort of subtle yet viscous type of bullying that girls are more likely to engage in. Each day I’d dread coming to school and then go home to cry. I’d pray that they’d leave me alone and if a day went past with no incidents occurring, that would be classed as a ‘good’ day. I’d count down the weeks and days until graduation, with the knowledge that I’d never have to see them again the only thing keeping me going.

My parents’ response to this was to suggest that maybe I did something, maybe it was my attitude and I didn’t act a nice person towards them. My mother gave me an example of when this ex-friend and I were in the car, how a response I gave was rude and short with her. As a then 12 year old, it hurt not to receive sympathy and understanding, instead getting the suggestion that I may be to blame.

I’m glad I have the insight and knowledge now to dispute my father’s views about bullying. Because for goodness sake, it’s awful enough to be on the receiving end of bullying, let alone be blamed for it. I just regret that no one was around to tell 12 year old me that.

6 thoughts on “Blamed for being bullied

  1. Interesting – unfortunately I think “society” finds it much easier to blame the victim than to admit that there is something wrong in a society, that creates bullies…

    And as a friend said to me, her mother had always maintained that it was easier and cheaper to try and “fix” the person who’s been bullied, than it is to fix a society where preying on the weak and vulnerable is well, almost expected in a way… but then you just have to see how the ConDems in the UK respond to disabled people to see the idea that the victim is to blame, has gone viral.

    But then I grew up with that blame, and it basically doubly hurts, and doubly damages – 1 -because no matter what you do, you’re hated, no matter how nice you are, no matter what, it doesn’t change anything, which then hits -2 – if it’s *my* fault, I *should* be able to stop it, and so not doing so *proves* how bad *I* am… it’s a vicious cycle. And it steals even more from the victim, it doubly marks them out, doubly stigmatises them…

    But then even as a child I remember telling a teacher about something, something it had taken years to confess, and something I was scared to admit – her response? “Everybody does and says things when they’re angry you must have done something really bad to make them so angry… – that was the last time I ever attempted to tell anyone anything.

    But then I guess that, as far as society is concerned, that’s the benefit. Keep the victims silent and you can pretend the issue doesn’t exist. Blame the victim, and it becomes their problem, for them and no-one else’s. Certainly my primary school’s approach to bullying was “we don’t have any bullying in our school”… and I guess if you can shut the victim up, then you can carry on with that philosophy and not have to deal with the problem at all, after all it just doesn’t exist…

    The whole thing sucks, quite frankly.

    Take care,
    Eliana

  2. I completely understand! My parents didn’t even acknowledge the fact I was being bullied and still don’t. They told me to stop fighting back which was the only way I knew how to deal with it. They said they would stop if I stopped. I stopped, it didn’t stop. I was pushed, shoved, called names and screamed at. I just tried to stand my ground. I find it hurtful that I can’t even call it bullying in front of my parents and the only one that does is my therapist. The school nor my parents did anything to stop the bullying until they moved one of the girls to a different form because I was apparently bullying her! It stopped then. So I to was blames partly for my bullying. I was even told by the head of year to stop coming to them because it was just girl arguments.

  3. I was bullied all through school. In Grade 9, I was beaten up in the schoolyard in front of the whole school. I was dragged by my hair across the yard. The principal made the girls apologize to me and then asked me if everything was all better. I said “Yes.” Why do people get bullied? Because they have low self-esteem. I wasn’t going to say “No, that’s not all right!”

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