This has been on my top posts to write since forever, but fear held me back. Having recently read so many stories. of beautiful young children committing suicide, because of bullying, I thought it’s time to share mine.
I was bullied from a young age; probably from around age 4-16 years. My school years were filled with torment, pain and just anguish. I covered the scars of my soul for such a long time, but I think now is the time to share this with the world.
This is in no particular order. It’s not as thought out as my other posts. So if it’s all over the place just know that it’s raw and real.
Bullying was the norm
“Look at your face. Why does it look like that?… Eww, don’t play with her she’s got nits?… You’ve worn that jacket for 3 days. Tramp!
Going to a predominately south-Asian school, I was bullied for the way I looked. From what I gathered (in my 12 years or so at school), is that being white was considered beautiful. I however, am the opposite (and I love it). Alhamdulilah (All Praises Due to Allah).
I have a wider nose (which I have grown to love), tanned skin (which I simply adore), jet black wavy hair (which is thick and lustrous allahumma barik alaayki – May Allah bless it Aameen). I’m not disfigured alhamdulilah, but I felt that way. My features were that off a mixed-raced African girl. The bullying started with the way I looked to ‘where is your dad’ (because apparently, being raised in a single-parent home was a reason to be abused).
Looking back, I never realized that being physically and verbally abused was deemed as that. Yes bullying, but it didn’t hold the same connotation as abuse.
I use the word abused, because bullying has the same effects as mental, physical and sexual abuse. But I believe it’s downplayed to say it’s normal for it to happen; especially in school. There is nothing normal about being abused. Nothing. I rather stick to calling bullying what it really is; physical and mental abuse.When you constantly pick on someone to the point that they consider ending their own lives; that’s abuse.
Teachers never intervened. No matter how many times my mother complained to the headteacher; it was shrugged off. I was blamed;
“maybe she needs to befriend them’, ‘maybe they’re just picking on her because they want to be her friend’, ‘oh they’re just kids, these things happen”.
Regardless of your age; kids should not abuse other kids. I didn’t realize that it was wrong, because bullying is likened to growing pains. Kids beating and verbally abusing others, is because he/she is expressing him/herself! Or because he/she is attracted to the person they’re bullying! Subhan’Allah (Glory Be to Allah)! This is the context the word ‘bullying’, is used, Unfortunately, it’s sugar-coated abuse.
Teachers saw it as normal. Heck, I saw it as normal because it had happened to me from such a young age. One day I had friends, the next day I didn’t. One day I was happy, laughing and joking with my ‘so-called friends’ and then the next day I was sad, lonely, suicidal. All from the age of 4.
I think the worst of the name calling was being referred to as ‘kali’ which means black (in Urdu) on a daily basis. I remember grabbing the bleach when I was 7, and rubbing it all over my face and arms. I wanted to be white so badly. When my dear mother caught me, she broke down (May Allah rest her soul aameen).
Despite her attempts to protect me, she felt as though she had failed miserably. When I used to cry and scream ‘why is this happening to me’, she would give me words of strength that I appreciate so much; ‘
Rosy, you’re unique, don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise, that’s why they pick on you. You’re different, amazingly different. There’s just something about your sparkle that makes them feel insecure. Don’t let them break you down’,
but at that moment in time, I felt absolutely disgusted with myself. Isn’t that what abuse does?
Mentally and physically tortured
Yes you read right; tortured! That’s how it felt. Going to school everyday, wondering if I should just stand in front of the road and let that lorry run me over. Or just run away altogether so that I don’t have to face these animals.
There’s one incident that still haunts me to this day. I was standing in the playground (by myself) and a group of maybe 50-60 boys and girls were heading towards me and surrounded me. They taunted me and threatened to beat me up. And I kept praying that they would. Even though I didn’t really believe in God at that time, I kept praying ”Please God, let them kill me!”
Although I wasn’t touched that day, I felt like my soul had been scarred. And to make it worse, the next day, one of the boys kicked a football so hard at my head, that I fell unconscious. Yet no-one rushed to my aid. Not even the teachers.
High School was just as bad
Going into high school wasn’t any better. I had my head flushed down the toilet, rumors spread about me being a prostitute and lesbian. Girls wanted to fight me because I spoke to a boy they liked, or I was hanging around the boys they liked.
At the age of 10 a similar incident happened again, involving around 70 kids. We were all sat in the hall because it was raining outside during break. A girl approached me and began hurling abuse. I can’t remember what exactly it was about, and then all of a sudden the hall just gathered around me and threw food. I ran to the toilet, locked the door and cried. At that moment I felt so alone. I grabbed my pencil and tried digging it into my arm, I wanted to just end it all so badly. I couldn’t physically scream or cry. But my soul was wrenched in pain, yearning for a way out. I stabbed at my arm for maybe a minute, until I just gave up and finally sobbed on the toilet floor.
Of course, the abuse continued. Girls regularly commented on my dress sense, my hair, my skin. I was regularly told that I’m going to get beaten up and that there’s nothing I could do about it. And I, 100% believed it.
This is the main thing about bullying; you believe the abuser. You believe they will harm you, even if they don’t. It’s a form of self-control because the abuser is SO weak and insecure; the only way to boost his/her ego, is to harm others they perceive as weak.
For me the bullying extended outside of school hours. I’d get regular phone calls with the song ‘who let the dogs out’ playing in the background. It was literally soul-destroying.
As you can imagine being abused on a daily basis for no reason is enough to send anyone insane. I was suicidal.
I would regularly ask my Mom ‘why didn’t you abort me’? I was saying things like this from as young as 4. Yet, in a school full of teachers, not one adult decided that enough was enough.
Nope. Not. One. Single. Teacher.
I was seen as the problem, the issue, the one who wasn’t compromising. I was always getting in trouble, getting suspended; I was the cause of my own misery.
Teachers have such a huge influence on children nowadays because we spend most of our lives in school. They have enough leverage to bring a positive change to way children interact. For one, if you’re a teacher and you are aware that a child is being bullied: DO SOMETHING. And PLEASE, do NOT blame the victim!
At the age of 15, I no longer believed in myself. I didn’t feel adequate enough or worthy enough, of being a friend or even getting far in life. I was a failure in my mind. I felt utterly betrayed by the world and all that’s in it. I constantly asked myself whether it’s worth living. Whether anyone would notice if I just disappeared and died. Self-loathing was rife at this point.
And the sad part is that I felt needy. I needed to be loved, I needed friends. I turned to smoking, drinking; anything to just numb the pain. I became rebellious because it felt good to be in control of something. I stayed out late, hung out with the wrong people. All of this, because I was constantly picked on.
I didn’t always let them win
Although I felt utterly alone, I faked a smile everyday to school. It was like a ‘ha-ha in your face’ kind of thing. My mom advised me;
‘do not let them win. If you don’t go to school, they’re going to think they’ve won; stand up to them by just turning up’.
I really thank my Mom for this (May Allah grant her Jannah Ameen). At the time, I was wondering why she wouldn’t change schools (well in all honesty she couldn’t; with 6 kids it was difficult enough raising us with NO support), but I am so glad that she didn’t.
Everytime I was ganged up on, or beaten, I returned to school the next day and my abusers were always left with nothing to say. I was left alone, maybe for a few days to a week and before I knew it, it started all over again.
I’m thankful for the experience
You’re probably thinking huh? After all that, she’s thankful?! Yes I am.
Leaving school was the best day of my life. I don’t miss it. Alhamdulilah, I have only one friend (she knows her name), who I’m still in contact with to this day. But one thing I’m grateful for is finding the strength to overcome the pain of bullying.
I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as well as a borderline-personality disorder from a young age. However, I’m completely cured and better than ever, because I chose to take the natural approach to my own healing. Alhamdulilah. The path to self discovery helped me find Allah and I don’t think I would be a Muslim, had I not gone through this test.
It was tough; even to this day, those negative voices creep up and sometimes get me down. But I don’t let them win. I persevere and remind myself that if I survived that kind of abuse, then I can survive anything.
And I don’t think I’d be the person I am today, had I not been bullied. I wouldn’t be as resilient, strong and persistent. I wouldn’t be as ambitious as I am right now. My love for helping and healing others, probably wouldn’t be as strong as it is now.
So, if there is one thing I could tell my younger self is that everything will work out in the end. No matter how hard it is, it’s going to be okay. And to anyone reading this, who’s going through a similar experience or is still suffering from the effects of bullying; it’s going to be okay insha’Allah (Allah Willing).
However in no way shape or form, is bullying/abuse acceptable. So if you’re being bullied I advise you to seek help. Do not suffer in silence. Find someone to talk to, even call the police if you have too. Do what you can, to stand up to bullying. From a person who survived the torment my one piece of advice is this;