Over the last year I have written a few articles about bullying. This is a natural progression for a writer who has written a children’s book about the same subject.
Yet, judging by some discussions I have read on the social networks some people are of the opinion that those writing about this are just using a hyped up subject to fill pages on their blogs etc.
Is that true? Well like every generalization there will always be someone to whom it applies. But attacking a writer on the basis that they are trying to fill pages on their blog is too easy a shot. Any writer who just wants to fill blog pages could easily buy some very cheap articles from content farms.
SO, WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT BULLYING?
Personally, I don’t find it easy to write about bullying. The censor button in my head that protects me from my past goes on high alert. To be honest there are a lot of subjects I would prefer to avoid but I have come to a new stage in my life and the compulsion to be true to myself is strong now. I am here for a limited time only and I must write as I choose.
I grew up in the inner city of Liverpool. In my earlier years I was a quiet, shy, kid. I certainly experienced bullying – in various arenas. Sadly, I remember some of the teachers as being the worst bullies of all
I escaped much of this by being ‘quiet’ but I did see other kid being beaten. It terrified me. I can still smell the fury that emanated around the classroom when the teacher came in angry and on the ‘warpath.’
I would feel scratching sensations in my gut and be unable to eat my school dinner when I saw some kids being beaten for no reason other than the teacher didn’t seem to like them. Refusing to eat my school dinner left me vulnerable to accusations of being ‘spoiled’ or punished for being ‘ungrateful’ for good food.
The violence, both physical and emotional, that was inflicted on children in those days has caused untold and undocumented damage. I am talking about the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Anyone could hit a child then. It was allowed and approved. The denial of the harm this caused is worse.
Denial is rampant among my age group. From time to time I meet people who went to school during these times and sometimes they say things like ‘well it never did me any harm,’ or, ‘I never got my times tables wrong again after I got the cane a few times.’ They say the same thing about violence in the home and I know better than to argue the point.
It makes me sad and angry though. A lot of the people who claim not to have been harmed by the violence of their childhood have untreated alcohol, or other addiction problems. People who never had the support to make the connection between the violence of their childhood and the problems in their life seem to think it’s okay.
All I can do is speak for myself – it is never okay. The violence of my childhood never did me any good. Ever. Up until now it has been the elephant in my mind. I have only written about violence in my fiction work.
Looking back I can remember quickly learning not to complain – not to talk about violence. In my childhood there was no such thing as violence because beating kids didn’t count unless they died as many did and still do.
When I returned home from school in 1971 having had my hand hit with a ruler six times because I knocked over a bottle of ink I considered myself lucky. The teacher didn’t use her cane, swinging it back behind her like a whip, the way she did with kids she didn’t like. She liked me.
In school, at home, on the street, violence against children was widely tolerated. I knew if I complained to my parents I would be blamed, ‘well you must have done something to deserve it!’
I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now. We can justify it as much as we like by viewing it through the lens of the past but nothing will ever convince me that any child is deserving of violence.
So what do I know about bullying? Well I know how it feels and that’s enough.