This evening I was enjoying a beautiful day outside catching up on Facebook until I saw this story.
For those who are too lazy to read it, it’s about a 9-year-old girl who was bullied on the school bus and how her school did nothing to address the issue.
Her mother, frustrated, took to Facebook to bring attention to the issue so that something would be done. And I don’t blame her. The video of her little girl crying into to the camera saying how sad and scared she is went viral.
I, too, was bullied on the school bus.
I was in middle school, about 12 years old. This boy named Joey rode the bus too. He called me a dyke and made other inappropriate sexual comments about me on the bus daily. Needless to say, it made be feel uncomfortable and SCARED. I was afraid to say anything back to him, for fear of retaliation from him or other kids on the bus who were friends with him.
And then people say, “Well just make your kids take the matter into their own hands and defend themselves.”
Oh, boy. If I showed you a picture of what I looked like in middle school right now, you would find it hilarious. I was super skinny and practically looked anorexic. You would have thought my parents never fed me, but they did. We just have super-weird genetics that make us super thin. (I know. I’m sorry.)
Okay now I have to show you what I looked like around that time:
So think of me going up against this other kid, a boy, who was much larger and obviously stronger. “Just stand up for yourself.” OMFG shut up. What was I supposed to do, slap the kid with my bony arm and hurt myself more than I hurt him?
Not to mention I was a KID and my parents raised me to be peaceful because they’re hyper-liberals. Just ignore people like that, they taught me.
But this kid kept making comments. Like really BAD sexual comments. I’m freaking 12, okay?
I tried talking to the school counselor about it. I told her I was sad and why. This is SERIOUSLY what she said to me:
“But you’re so young. And so pretty!! What reason in the world would you have to be sad?”
Oh, the public school system.
Because of Joey, I dreaded riding the bus every day and even considered not taking the bus and ditching school. But my parents would KILL me. Also, I didn’t want to worry my parents, so I didn’t tell them what was going on for a while.
Then one day I just couldn’t take it anymore.
This particular day, Joey sat down in the seat on the bus right beside me and just started screaming into my ear. NON-STOP. Probably because I was doing my best to ignore him and he wanted me to react to him.
So I turned to him, grabbed the neck of his t-shirt, bunched it up, and pushed him into the opposite seat of the bus, against the window. I think the only reason I was able to do this was pure adrenaline and the fact that this kid was SO SHOCKED and didn’t know how to respond. I punched him repeatedly and swore at him. I distinctly remember the bus driver looking into the huge rearview mirror to check on what was going on, and then looking away. He likely thought Joey was getting what was coming to him.
Joey wasn’t punching me back or doing anything. Maybe because I was a girl, or maybe because people generally just DON’T KNOW how to react to crazy. I thought about bashing Joey’s head against the window, but didn’t. Then Joey started crying. It made me feel better. I stopped punching him and walked toward the front of the bus. My bus stop was next. I got off at the bus stop and never rode the bus again.
I told my parents I didn’t want to ride the school bus anymore, so they started driving me across town everyday, to and from school.
I stopped riding the bus because I was made to feel uncomfortable, and looking back, I know that I was being sexually harassed by Joey. REPEATEDLY. Nothing was done. If this happened on ANY other form of public transportation, Joey would be placed in handcuffs and/or summoned to court.
But because he was 12, and because of the “boys will be boys” mentality that is so popular in our day and age, he wasn’t. He was simply “bullying” me. And bullying, for whatever reason, is not harassment in the eyes of the school officials, other parents, society, etc.
Bullying is a term that glosses over harassment of children. It somehow makes harassment of children OKAY. And it’s BULLSHIT. I hate the term “bullying.” It is complete bullshit.
This is the definition of harassment:
The act or an instance of harassing, or disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly; persecution.
What I experienced on the school bus, and what this 9-year-old girl experienced, was harassment.
When we call “harassment” bullying and do nothing about it, it makes harassment okay! That is not okay!
Boys who harass girls in school grow up to be men who harass, abuse and rape women. I am sad to say that I and several other adult females I know have been harassed, abused and raped by adult men. It’s not just the girls I hang around with. It is RIDICULOUSLY common.
Can I get a show of hands from women who have simply been harassed on the street? Have been whistled at and called “Baby” by strangers, and then called dykes or lesbians when you don’t respond or respond with anger?
And why is it so common? Because boys are ALLOWED to harass girls in school. Because it’s just “bullying.”
This story about this little girl is just one of many. And it’s one too many.