I have Lucia Pannacci today who has shared her experiences with bullying. I can honestly say that I can kind of connect with her as to how she coped with her bullying. I have turned to the same sources to deal with bullying and sometimes wonder if that's why I love reading as much as I do today. I know that books don't judge. Not like people.
People can be mean. And children can, too. It's a sad truth, but a truth nonetheless. I live in a country where the word 'bullying' has just recently gained importance. People didn't really care about this issue before, they just thought that teasing and tormenting where just 'things that kids do'. Suicides of young people and violent episodes were needed in order for bullying to be taken into account. And maybe it is too late.
Even as a kid, I always loved books and I thought going to school was fun. I had friends and I liked learning new things. This changed when I started middle school. My new classmates and also older kids started teasing me because I didn't wear the 'right' kind of clothes. Mine were not cool or fashionable because my family could not spend half their money to buy me designer shoes. On top of that, I wore glasses, which made me an easy target for stupid jokes.
At first, I shrugged it off, thinking that if I didn't pay attention to mean words, kids would probably stop bothering me. They did not. They started pushing me down the hallways, outside school, in the playground. They spilled drinks and food on me at the cafeteria and mean words turned to open insults thrown at me whenever they saw me. Up until that moment, I wasn't a shy girl. I was happy and outgoing and friendly. I changed. I started refusing to go to school and I didn't go to parties or out with friends. I lost confidence and was afraid to even go to the bathroom for fear they would hit me. I turned even more to books and I lost interest in sports and social activities. Teachers didn't do anything. Grown-up didn't do anything and when I tried talking to a school secretary she just said 'These things happen'.
And yes, she was right. These things do happen but it does not mean it's okay to let them happen. I was lucky at that time, even if I didn't know. My house was full of books and I had them to keep me company. I had a younger brother who adored me and made me laugh and a couple of friends who to turn to. I changed a lot and from that moment on I've always been kind of scared of people, because, hey, people can hurt you in the worst possible way.
It is not okay to accept bullying as normal thing for kids to do. There is nothing normal in violence, either physical or psychological. If you are a victim, go talk to someone, ask for help, and don't let them tear you down. And if you are a parent or an adult, please pay attention to any signs of change in your children and don't dismiss the thing easily. Help them so they can become happy adult, too.
I'd like to donate a copy of Dear Bully, winner choice of paperback or Kindle. The giveaway is international but please note that the paperback copy will be shipped through The Book Depository, so make sure it delivers to your country HERE.
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