Friday, October 19, 2012

Authors Against Bullying

There are a number of authors today who are blogging in support of Standing Up Against Bullying. Carolyn and I are small small fish in the author ocean and weren't invited to join (oh dear) but I do agree with the sentiments and am joinging in with my own story.

Well actually, it's my daughter's story.

My girl is now  11 years old. She's beautiful, smart, funny as hell and obviously the apple of my eye. No... she's the entire fruit basket.  She's also a tomboy who keeps her hair super short, shops in the boys department for clothes and would rather die than wear pink or be considered girlie in any way. (Her girliness is really there though, but I never point it out. Scared of spiders, loves lotions and face masks....)

In third grade she developed a little crush on a school friend. A girl school friend. Third grade. 8 years old. Yup. Innocent as pie. Sweet. Adorable in fact.

Unfortunately my sweetheart told a friend. Who told a friend. Who.... you get the idea. In no time at all kids my kid didn't know were asking her if she was a lesbian. She didn't know what a lesbian was. A friend (?) of hers said he saw her putting her hand between another girl's legs. She was devastated.

Her crush wasn't sexual. She might or might not be a lesbian. It doesn't matter. This was an eight year old with an innocent crush who was being teased and treated badly because she told a friend.

We did our best to put a stop to it. The principal at my daughter's school was amazing and within a day the rumors stopped. I don't know what he did or who he talked to but it ended. Mostly. The problem is that the words were out there. The lies had already been told.

It's come up again. My baby has been approached by kids she doesn't know and asked if she's a lesbian. Does she like girls? Her answer is to walk away. But it hurts her. It's said to diminish her and trust me, it works. She feels bad about herself. She hurts because she knows logically that sexuality is undefined and what she decides in her life is her business and hers alone. She knows it. But it's hard to believe it when someone you don't even know is in your face asking if you like pussy.

I hope the rumor dies one day and never comes back. On the other hand, my amazing child is on the cusp of discovering more about herself and who she might one day find attractive. I worry that if she does come to discover that she's gay, how much others words will hurt her. I want her to be happy and I'd support her in any way. But other kids won't. And to see the child you adore wounded because she might have feelings that someone else doesn't understand is just heart breaking.

We need to fight bullying in any and all ways we can.

Do it for the kids.


  1. Bullying is as old as the human race and people can be bullied over anything, no matter how small or insignificant. For me, it started with my hair color and because I didn't stand up for myself, but tried to run and hide, the bullying escalated.

    This was in grade school. I was bullied so badly my mother had to make a visit to my tormentor's parents. Ice balls in the winter can be very painful, not to mention dangerous. I felt like a hunted rabbit looking for new, unknown routes home from school, but the two boys knew them all and usually guessed right.

    My oldest son was bullied in middle school. This was during or shortly after the schools were integrated, so there were misunderstandings and outright dislike between students sometimes.

    It's horrible, but you live through it and hopefully come out a stronger person on the other side.

    I recently had a conversation with my sister and she said 'do you remember such and such?' regarding our parents' breakup and I had to say I didn't. How embarrassing!

    But I clearly remember the bullying and how much those ice balls hurt, the names I was called and how ashamed I was of my hair and my body.

    There's something sadistic about some kids, no matter the reason. Molly will be fine, Lori, she's handling it the right way. I'm sorry she's being hurt though.

    Tell her I send her kisses. ♥

  2. I am so very sorry your daughter has been taunted by careless, clueless children--who, it seems to me, tend to turn vicious towards those they perceived as different, a way to make themselves part of the larger ("normal") group.

    What is irking the bejesus out of me right now is that we focus so much on those being bullied that we forget that it's the bullies who need to be set straight.

    No, you don't bully others. No, you don't make fun of others. No, it's not your effing business what other people decide to do with their life, their time, their clothes, their hair, their body.

    That is what we need to drill into all children--and teens, and freaking adults.

  3. Shit, and I don't mean YOU, Lori--as a mother, that this is your focus is as it should be.

    I mean the focus of all the anti-bullying campaigns out there. Even the it gets better campaign, which I love, focuses only on survival/coping mechanisms for those who have already been damaged/hurt/scarred by abuse.

    Not unlike the rape conversation, I wish it could become more about stopping those who do harm, so that there would be fewer who have been harmed.

    If that makes sense.

  4. AL, I agree with you.

    One of the things that we experienced with my daughter's situation is that we knew some of the kids and I am nothing if not confrontational. So I talked to parents and talked to the kids. I am not going to be polite when it involves my daughter's well-being.

    But you are so right.... it means little when the words are still being said, when people are still finding ways to blame the victims.

  5. Count me in too - as someone bullied who wants it stopped.

    Mine was mostly weight related, although there were quite a few things said about the fact that my father was a soldier and had been to Vietnam etc. MOving around every 12 months didn't help but that stuff eventually died down. The weight thing went on and even to an extent now still does.

    It might not be outright abusive, but the little digs and the comments to make you feel like you're less than worseless, well, it still hurts. Especially when it comes from someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally.

    I too agree with AL, that we need to get to the bullies and try and stop this. The theory seems to be that the bully has been or is being bullied themselves, so they act out. Maybe so but where does it stop? Talk about a vicious cycle, no pun intended.

    It's disheartening to be out and about and some child/teen (accompanied by an adult) makes a comment about someone, be it about height, weight, disability, color etc and the adult simply laughs/smiles and half heartedly tells the minor to be quiet. Or worse, agree and then move on like they were discussing the weather.

    I've even had a kid of about 5 say something actually to my face and the mother just agreed and looked at me like I was dirt. What the feck! What hope is there for the kids if the parents, who should know better, encourage this behaviour?

    I doubt it will ever end but we do need to do something about it, and not just make ads, as AL says. I only hope that we find a way out.

    Lori, big hugs to you and Miss Mollie. I know they're just words from a 'virtual aunt' but tell her she's loved and whether gay, straight, a bit of both or whatever, as long as she's happy with who she is, then that's all that counts.

    Little comfort to an 11 year old trying to make her way in the world but if as many, if not more, people tell her how much she is loved, as opposed to anything else, then hopefully she'll listen to only the good and learn to ignore the rest.

    Luv you guys xx