Bullying in school-aged children can damage mental health permanently
The rates of bullying incidents are different among countries as well as among gender and age groups. 24% of American children are involved in bullying whereas the bullying rate in Europe is about 8%, according to NCBI. I believe, the rate of bullying would be much higher in India.
Children are not always angels, many of them bully. Bullying can be more damaging than child abuse.
I am telling my own true story which gives a picture of bullying among school-aged children. In my childhood, I was bullied and mobbed by other children. The traumatic experiences of my childhood have impacted my entire adult life.
I was ugly, weaker, isolated and defenseless which made me an ideal target for bullies. Other children enjoyed bullying me but their fun was the deadly pain for me.
There are many who are victims of bullying. Sometimes bullying could be so severe that victims take their life.
Recently, an Australian mental health expert McGorry says in an interview to the Guardian “There’s research showing that bullying, not just cyberbullying, but bullying, is probably as destructive for people’s mental health as child sexual abuse.”
For Amy Jayne Everett, the face of the Akubra, bullying was too much. This 14 years old girl could not bear the pain. She ended her life by committing suicide. After her death, many campaigns have embarked to prevent bullying in schools.
When I was at her age, I also considered taking my own life. I was probably a little stronger than she or I am just lucky that I could escape suicide. Otherwise, I would not be here to write my story.
My childhood nightmare has been haunting me for years. I suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, too.
As an average child, I was born and brought up in a small town in India with my appearance becoming my biggest enemy. I was mobbed and beaten over and over by other boys, but adults did not help me. I was both emotionally and physically neglected and tortured.
Four decades ago when I was a child, the rural Indian society was harsh, rude and brutal. Any physical and mental disability was punished cruelly. There was no treatment for mentally disabled people.
Mentally sick people were tied up with robes and put under the hot sun. There were also other techniques for punishment (for healing) that are similar to the present day’s torture cell.
I was not born disabled. I was an intelligent boy. My sin was that my body size was different from other boys. I was more prominent in body size than others of my age. I was little fat; my arms were long, my legs, too. I had to be punished for that.
There was something wrong with my movement that irritated other boys. I used to walk a bit slow and was not good at sports. I was a lousy singer in music class.
Apart from my appearance, I was lonely and weaker that made me an easy target of bullying. I did not belong to any group and I was somehow defenseless. I did not have anyone could rescue me from organized attacks.
Bullying was harsh at that time, especially in rural India. I was neither physically nor mentally disabled. Still, others chose me as the target because I did not any strong adult guardian to defend me from their attacks.
Boys used to punch me in classrooms, also outside of school campus. I complained to my teachers without any result. The guardians of some children were powerful persons in that city. Teachers did not dare to bother those guardians. So I had to pay the price.
Children are not always angels. They enjoyed torturing me. I still wonder why those children lacked any form of empathy.
Once, I participated in a student debate. As soon as I tried to say something, all the boys started laughing and loudly mocked me.
Whenever I tried to answer my teacher’s questions, all boys started laughing like a chorus. I left the stage crying and traumatized. I could not speak in front of a broader audience for a very long time.
I never harmed anybody. I was neither physically nor mentally disabled. But harassment and emotional abuse made to consider suicide.
Their extreme bullying cost me a lot. I did not just lose my childhood, but I have also suffered the aftermath of my entire life.
I was not only tortured by other boys, but also by adults. I was an unfortunate boy. I could not concentrate on my lessons. Sometimes, I did not get the expected results, and that made me got beaten.
I have been a fighter. I have gone through many programs in the past years to get over my trauma. I made a significant improvement.
I work now as a business consultant. I have a family consisting of my wife and three children. Some wounds are still there
The way I overcame trauma