One summer, my best friend’s brother had one of his friends text me. He was going to be a new football player at our school in fall, so we had never met. We started texting and calling each other every day. I became his girlfriend, and we would exchange intimate pictures. When I arrived the first day of school, the football team was congregated outside talking. I ran over to hug him, and he shoved me saying “What the fuck do you want ginger pig?!” I was so shocked, I couldn’t move. The rest of them pulled out their phones showing me the pictures and laughing. It was all a prank. They saw every picture and listened to every phone call. I wanted to die. The teachers were no help, because they were parents/coaches to these boys. Instead of defending me, they joined in mocking me. The principal would call me fatty, cow, and piglet. I had no one to turn to, and each day was more torturous than the last. They even created a MySpace page to call me names and mock my pictures. Finally I switched schools, but things didn’t change much.
I remember my first day working on a group math assignment, and when I was struggling to solve a problem, another group member said, “Hurry up, you fucking moron.” I couldn’t escape. Later in the year, I was giving a speech in English class when everyone started looking at their phones and snickering at me. A guy had taken a picture of me and posted it on twitter with the caption, “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU YEAST INFECTED GINGER CUNT” I was shattered again. Second grade - senior year I was bullied physically, verbally, and online constantly.
Bullying is accepted as a normal school experience, but it fucking isn’t. It’s not harmless or funny. Children should feel safe enough to reach out to their parents and teachers. Citizens should feel safe enough to trust police to protect them. Politicians should be the ones setting good examples instead of leading the world into more hate. If you’re being bullied, speak to an authority, reach out for help, and don’t just ignore it. If you can’t stand up for yourself, find someone who can. No school, no job, no relationship, nothing is worth sacrificing your mental health and safety.