Stand Up & Speak Out

It's that time of year again when students are heading back to school, in order to support students and parents/guardians, we are running an #Advice4School campaign across social media. As part of our campaign we will be sharing some inspirational blogs and stories that will hopefully encourage students to seek the support that they truly deserve. 

This blog post comes from April MacKenzie of Scotland. April is sharing her bullying experience in the hope that it can inspire and encourage students to speak up about any concerns they may have at school. 

My bullying started at the very start of primary school; lucky for me, the most physical contact in primary school I had was a slap to the face, and verbal abuse was more prominent. I was bullied for being small, and being the teacher's pet, and was always excluded and isolated from doing many activities that I could have enjoyed because I was scared. My teachers didn't believe me when I told them, and I was basically told to 'Man Up' and brush it off. 

Closer to the end of my primary school years, I was called names; more of the common kind, like idiot, confused, faggot and such. I was also bullied for my back being hunched over all of the time because of the way I sat at home due to the family not being able to afford chairs or proper heating. I kissed a girl on the cheek during a game of 'Truth or Dare' which started all of the speculation that I was gay. These rumours continued as I started high school in 2011, as well as the name calling. The most common used was 'Hunch Back' and 'Go back to Notre Dame'. All the name calling didn't help when I was actually questioning my sexuality at the age of 11, and I just felt as if things weren't going my way. 

Around 3 years ago, I was strangled to the point where I could hardly breathe by one of my then friends, and had a knife pulled out on me by another not long after the strangling incident. This is around the time I had discovered the internet, and despite all of the sereval warnings made about the dangers of the internet, I still spoke to people that I hardly knew on my social media sites. I would say one bad thing by accident to them, and they would tell me to kill myself, or jump off a bridge; which I almost followed through with. The homophobia continued at school once I eventually came out as bisexual and the word had spread. I was the centre of many sexual rumours that I was having sexual intercourse underage, when everyone who knows me knows that I would never do anything like that because I knew it was the wrong thing to do. The cyberbullying continued when I came out online, however, I discovered Anita on Twitter (@Bully_Dont) by accident through someone that had retweeted her tweet back around the time I was going to give in and reached out to her at my time of need. She made me realise that there is so much in life that you can't afford to miss, and that I was brought into the world with a purpose. No matter who you are, or what your skin type, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, religion etc is, you are here for a reason, so make that reason known. If you are bullied in any way, shape or form, you need to tell someone. Tell your parents, a friend, or even someone like Anita, because you don't deserve to suffer in silence. Get the police involved if you have to, because at the end of the day this is about YOU. And as long as you're okay, everything will be okay. I was like you; I thought I wasn't worth the fight, but you should see me now. Things get better, trust me. 

No matter who you are, or what your skin type, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, religion etc is, you are here for a reason, so make that reason known. 

April MacKenzie