Bullying is one kind of abuse. You may have heard this word but not know what it means.
Abuse is when someone treats you in a way that could hurt you — either hurt your feelings and make you very unhappy or hurt your body.
If you are bullied, you really must tell somebody. Tell your parents and your teachers, or someone else you trust so they can support you. It is up to these adults to do something about the bullying. There are also several telephone helplines you can phone if you want to talk to someone.
No one deserves to be bullied
Bullies may pick on anyone they feel is ‘different’. They may try to bully someone whose skin is a different colour, who speaks differently, or someone who has a disability.
If a bully picks on you, he might call you names, tease you or try to frighten you or even harm you.
When you are bullied, it makes you feel unhappy. You may begin to feel that you don’t want to go out or go to school, and start making excuses not to go. This doesn’t really help, as it will not solve the problem.
Very often, the person who is doing the bullying may have problems at home or school and is taking it out on you. Knowing this probably won’t make you feel any happier, but it might make it easier for you to understand why the bully is behaving like this.
Everyone has the right to be treated kindly and no one deserves to be bullied — so what can you do if it happens to you?
Dealing with the bully
There are several things you can do to try to help yourself:
• Ignore the bully. Try to pretend that what he or she is saying doesn’t bother you. Remember, the bully wants you to react and, if you don’t, he/she may get fed up and leave you alone.
• Look the bully in the eye and say, “No, this isn’t funny”, and then move away. Practise saying this in the mirror so that you can look confident when you say it.
• Don’t try to fight back — most bullies are bigger or stronger than the people they pick on.
• Ask the bully to repeat what he or she has just said — again, this will surprise them and they might feel silly repeating the remark.
• Try to avoid being alone in the places where you know the bully is likely to pick on you.
Other kinds of abuse
There are different kinds of abuse.
Bullies will probably be other children or young people at your school (it can happen in mainstream or special school). They tease you or call you names — this is called emotional abuse.
Sometimes adults abuse children — if any adult kicks or punches or shakes a child and hurts them in this way, it is called physical abuse.
If someone touches your private parts when you don’t want them to — this is called sexual abuse. If this happens to you, it is not your fault.
If anyone touches you in a way that hurts you or feels wrong, remember it is not your fault. You must tell someone about it.
— Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus