The 2014 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence is Friday 21 March.
This annual day provides a focus for all schools to say Bullying. No Way! and to strengthen their existing everyday messages that bullying and violence at school are not okay at any time.
In 2013 more than 1400 schools across Australia participated by running local events, inviting guest speakers and exploring bullying, and the role of bystanders, in classroom lessons.
Hannah, a young local girl who was interviewed recently on the RPP FM program The Breakfast Table spoke to Debra Mar of her terrifying experience being bullied throughout her school life and has a strong message to those who bully….
This is Hannah’s story.
My name is Hannah. I'm 19 years old I have been diagnosed with major depression due to being bullied all my schooling days by students and on social media (Facebook, MSN, text messages, Prank Calls).
Some of the names I was getting called gave me low self-esteem and I didn't feel comfortable around a lot of people. When going through Primary School I hardly had any friends so basically didn’t have anyone to talk to which impacted on me. At recess and lunchtime I would prefer not to eat because I didn't feel right and didn't have anyone to sit with and have a chat like everyone else did.
When being told to get up for school I use to not like it because students were pressuring me and calling me names and started bullying me. When trying to tell teachers they wouldn't listen, they would take the other person’s side of the story.
I had no friends at Primary School. I used to hang around with my sister and get told off by the teachers for doing it so ended up sitting by myself and felt uncomfortable, isolated and unsafe.
When I started High School it was a difficult time. I made some friends that actually cared about me. But then there were days new people moved to the school and they made friends with them so I got pushed away and ended up having no friends. I used to stand next to my locker and people laughed and made fun of me. They would throw things at me, sticky tape my lock, shake the lockers so my books fell out when I opened it and even glued it!
They used to make fun of me when I used to do sport because I wasn't the fittest girl in school. I was very shy around people. Then they would spread rumours about me around the school and post them on Facebook. These certain people kept bullying me from year 7 to year 12 and would make prank calls to me at home and at school.
When I went to tell a teacher about this I would get all the blame and they would say “ignore it” but it kept happening so I ended up going home every night to my family crying and depressed because I was getting bullied that much I was scared about going back to school the next day.
I reached Year 12 and a really close friend messaged me at night and thought I’d rang her and said I wanted to commit suicide. I said to her I didn't do it and she ended up ringing the police because she thought I was in danger. I woke my parents and told them what my friend had rang me about so they rang the police and asked them what was going on. The police were going to come out and do a welfare check on me but my parents said I was perfectly fine.
I was bullied so much and had enough so sat down in my bedroom and wrote a ‘bullying speech’ about how I felt. I read it out in front of 600 people at my school. I was so scared doing it. Everyone was so touched by my story I had teachers crying and students coming up to me and saying sorry. They said what a good job I did. I don’t know what I would do without my family supporting me.
This is my own experience being bullied and think it’s disrespectful. The thoughts that went through my head were ‘I'm useless’ and ‘I don't belong’. My feelings I had were horrible, sad, angry and lonely. I wanted to give up on everything and couldn't cope with it all. I couldn’t focus on my study in Year 12 being bullied most of my life.
I sometimes felt scared about what's going to happen next. I felt I had a bad appearance. When I used to be called ‘fat’ it made my self-esteem go down. At school I should’ve been learning new things and achieving my goals instead of getting bullied and feeling unsafe at school. Even though I might not be ‘skinny’ it doesn't mean people can bully and call me names.
Hannah said, “Learn to have a bit of ‘respect’ for others.” She added, “People actually take their own lives over bullying – everyone should believe in who they are not how perfect they are or have to be.”
For more details on how you and your school can participate and support in the 2014 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence visit bullyingnoway.gov.au
Hannah urges anyone being bullied to tell family and teachers. Don't suffer in silence. There are many support groups and people who care and can help.