See Sense, Stop Bullying: I was bullied because of my race and religion
School was something I was always enthusiastic about. I loved the thought of learning new things and seeing my friends, but that all changed in Year 4.
It started during one lunchtime when I accidently walked into a girl and before I had the chance to apologise she uttered, “Watch where you’re going you creep!” Her friends all laughed at her remark.
Uneasily I scattered away back to my friends and played on with great effort to act strong and push the comment to the back of my head.
The following day it was in the canteen. I had spotted them at their usual table and intentionally steered away and headed to a different direction. Despite this, the group of girls strutted over to my friends and I, and announced “Why hang around with that creep-“pointing at me “Or at least make her take the thing off her head” another one added, indicating to the hijab “Maybe then she’d be prettier”.
Lost for words I blankly stared at my tray of food, praying they wouldn’t say anything more. Their laughs echoed in my head, getting louder and louder.
Later on that day when in the toilet I saw one of the girls and acted as if I hadn’t. I was relieved when she said nothing, but this wasn’t to last. After she had finished washing her hands and saw that I was using the hand dryer she reached for my scarf with a harsh pull and wiped her wet hands. “Stop it! Just stop it!” I begged pulling away, “Please”.
The name calling got more abusive. “Just go and die”, “You baboon!”, “You don’t deserve a life”, “Such a waste of space!” until my friends felt threatened and left me in case they got the same treatment.
My friends attempted to explain to me that they were sorry; I pretended that it was okay and turned away crying. This was all because I was different to the other girls. I wasn’t the same colour and I wore the hijab.
How it feels to be bullied…
For me, Year 4 to mid-Year 6 was torture. Even in the girl’s absence, their remarks lingered in my thoughts, rapidly decaying the confidence I once had. I grew to despise myself.
Each night, in front of the mirror, I would count my every flaw from head to toe and just weep in realisation that everything they said was really getting to me.
But, not wanting to look or sound like an attention seeker, I would bottle it up. Around my family I created a false smile, but alone in bed, the girl that everyone thought was always so happy, was crying her broken heart out.
My days at school didn’t become any less nerve-racking, any less threatening and most definitely any less painful. I became so weary and self – conscious, to the extent where whenever someone looked at me I awaited a negative comment. I wasn’t learning new things anymore like I used to, instead now I focussed on the negative thoughts that bounced back and forth in my head all day.
They left cuts on me, scars, not physically but mentally and emotionally. I was dehumanised and forced to nurture so much hatred for school, life and even myself.
Bullying affects your life and the lives of people around you…
Being an African Muslim made me the smaller person. During that time at school I was always on edge, having to be cautious with everything that I said and did.
I grew antisocial and therefore spent less time with my family. The only emotions I seemed to recognise was anger, hurt and pain. I had forgotten what it felt like to be happy, to have a reason to wake up and definitely what it felt like to be loved.
I became incapable of taking action upon my own feelings, thoughts and emotions. My family noticed a change in me, however in all their attempts of helping me, I shut them out. They became worried as I lost my appetite and only ever stayed in my room, rejecting their help. During lunchtimes I would glance over at my friends every so often admiring their fun games while my heart ached at not being able to join in.
Standing up to bullying…
One morning after assembly in Year 6 I was walking down the corridor when one of the girls shouted as I walked past “Nobody loves you. Not even your Mum and Dad!” I stopped as tingles crept up and down my spine; beads of sweat came streaming down my forehead and heat exploded from my ears.
After turning to face them I bravely stated “Yes they do, they love me”. I felt a shaking sensation in my belly while I awaited their response. Except there wasn’t one. Shocked by my new confidence, they walked away in silence.
My knees trembled as I watched. Since then they simply avoided me and my life began to take a turn back into the right direction.
Bullying is wrong but it doesn’t have to exist…
It belittles a person to the extent where they come to believe that their worth is simply nothing. It becomes a life where you’re bullies are the boss of you, where the rights you’re entitled to as a human being are taken away, torn away like you’re a nobody. Truthfully, because of the conviction of all they say, bit by bit and unknowingly you believe them, which shouldn’t happen.
Bullying should be completely erased from our minds which can be done through recognition of the topic. I believe there should be more awareness through public posters and active participation in schools such as assemblies.
For help and advice visit Ditch the Label.
Last Updated: 30 November 2017