There are hundreds of statistics when it comes to bullies and bullying. The facts are concerning, to say the least. The government’s website, Stop Bullying, has 22 facts posted alone. But, for every fact out there, there are a many stories that put a face, a voice, a life with those numbers.
These stories were voluntarily shared in the hopes of spreading awareness. Please note that some recounts contain terms or situations that may be offensive. Names have been changed but each story is detailed by the bullies or victims.
True Stories from Real Bullies and Victims
Fact: 55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.
“I am 17 years old. I’m gay and have known it for years. So did my classmates. They always made fun of me behind my back and, often, in front of me. I had a few people I thought were my friends. Occasionally, I’d sit with them at lunch and one day one of the guys asked if he could ‘friend’ me on a Facebook. I was stoked and agreed. He started sending me private messages asking me about being gay and told me that he thought he was gay too. I was relieved that I wasn’t alone, so I confided things in him like, worries I had, dreams of leaving the neighborhood and going somewhere I could be who I wanted to be and going to college out west.
About a month later, he asked me, ‘If you could hook up with anyone in the school – gay or straight- who would it be?’ I thought it was odd, but confessed that I thought a couple of guys were hot. The next day, everyone knew and the guys I confessed to crushing on threatened to cut off my d**k if I ever looked at them again. This “friend” had been posting all my messages on a webpage the entire time. I had to quit school and I am getting a GED instead. My college dreams are gone.”
Fact: Only about 20 to 30% of students who are bullied notify adults about the actions of the bullies.
“I was a bully. I was a total jerk. I’d like to give excuses – I came from a broken home and my dad was an alcoholic – but the truth is…I don’t have any. I grew up in a great family. I had lots of friends. I was kinda popular and I even had a couple of girlfriends during my time in high school. But, there was this kid named Trent who was kinda quiet, usually sat by himself and he had this black backpack with patch of some anime guy sewed on it. One day, someone asked him about the patch and he started talking about this anime guy like he was some real superhero. I started off by just making jokes about how he was in love with a cartoon. He never fought back and I never got in trouble for it.
The group I hung out with would joke about it and laugh when I picked on him. One day, I ripped the patch off his bag and he started cussing and getting upset. A teacher intervened and I thought I was going to end up in detention. Trent wiped his eyes and told the teacher he caught his patch on the bus doors and it ripped off. I didn’t understand why didn’t squeal on me. I thought maybe he thought I’d think he was cool for it, but I saw him as an easy target. I bullied him for 3 more years during high school. I don’t know what ever happened to him, but now my kids are in school…I hate guys like me.”
Fact: When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.
“I used to be best friends with Jemma when we were little. We were inseparable until fourth grade came around. She is crazy-smart and was always in the advanced classes. I started making friends with other girls and worked my way into the popular crowd. Part of that crowd always made fun of Jemma for being ‘nerdy’ and ‘weird.’ I, shamefully, joined in and invented her nickname, Booger Girl. About eight years later, it was our senior year. The clique I had abandoned her for had eventually gotten bored with picking on her over the years, but about a month after school started, one of the popular girls named Rachelle, singled her out and started calling her names, writing cruel things on her locker and teasing her. At the same time, teachers started cracking down on letting us going into our Senior Store (which sold candy bars, snacks, pop, pencils, pens) because people had started stealing stuff.
The group started calling her “Thief” every time she walked by and even planted a trash bag full of empty chip bags in her locker. One day, she was in line to get her lunch and they all started yelling at her for stealing. I, finally, stood in front of Jemma and told the group they could stop calling her thief because she wasn’t stupid enough to steal from the Senior Store, but Rachelle was since her mom was fired from her job at the local restaurant for stealing and having an affair with manager. They stopped teasing Jemma from that moment on. Instead, they made me the new favorite target. To this day, I don’t regret it, but I do regret not standing up for Jemma sooner. We didn’t have some Disney-worthy moment of becoming friends again, but I have a little bit more respect for myself.”
Fact: According to one large study, the following percentages of students had experienced bullying in school in these various places at school: classroom (29.3%); hallway or lockers (29.0%); cafeteria (23.4%); gym or PE class (19.5%); bathroom (12.2%); playground or recess (6.2%).
“My name is Travis. I’m six. There is a boy in my class named Johnathan. He thinks he is so cool. He’s not. He wipes boogers on my locker. I told my teacher, but he still does it. He started wiping them on my desk. He is gross. One day, I sneezed on his pizza. I didn’t tell him. It wasn’t nice, but I think he deserved it.”
These stories of bullies and victims don’t have some of the more heartbreaking ends that others do. Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior.
However, there are a growing number of programs and prevention ideas that strive to provide help for those who are dealing with the impact of bullies and bullying. Reach out, talk to someone and help spread awareness.
For more information about dealing with bullies, visit our Stop Bullying Tips.
Do you have any stories about dealing with bullies? Were you a bully in your teen years? Tell us about it in the comments.