If a colleague at work whacked you in the nose, breaking it, you would be shocked and angered. You would insist that the culprit was criminally charged, wouldn’t you?

Yet at school, children have no such rights. They are more vulnerable than adults, yet they can suffer daily physical and mental abuse, living a nightmare with no one to help them. I know, I was a victim of bullying and because I was not protected, it had terrible consequences on my life.

At home I got no sympathy and my parents would not tolerate me taking time off school, so I became a truant. It was the only way to escape the bullies. I was quite an expert at ’playing hooky’ but come winter when I was supposed to be in school, I didn’t have anywhere warm to go. I couldn’t stay at home and I was terrified of going to school, so I would hang around malls. It was difficult to do that for long because mall security or truant officer’s could catch you out.

Some kids I knew in my neighborhood starting hanging out in an old boarding house. It had about 7 different rooms filled with mostly students. The guy at the back room was considered a nerd but he showed kindness to me, offering a warm place to stay. When he took my virginity, I was only just 14 and he was 21. I never went back there and I soon began to run away from home in order avoid school. I’d be  gone for weeks at a time before they’d catch me.

I stopped running eventually after getting pregnant. I was not mature for my age or sexually promiscuous, I was a young girl being used by older boys and I didn’t understand how to stop them using me for sex. At least having a baby got me out of going to school but that was a high price to pay to escape the bullying. I threw away my education and I lived for many years in accommodation that would
shock most people. It took many miserable years to pull myself out of that situation. I eventually got into university, got on with my life but I shouldn’t have suffered all those years as a struggling teenage mother.

The kids that bullied me at school went on to have normal lives but it’s not them I blame. Their parents never taught them proper behavior. My children have never bullied anyone because I took the time to teach them the difference between right and wrong. Children that bully are either copying their parent’s bad behavior at home or they don’t know any better because their parents couldn’t be bothered to teach them. If parents fail to teach their children then they should be liable for damages and if their child assaults another child, the parents should face criminal charges too. You think that sounds drastic? For every child being bullied right now it may be the only solution.

Children should be safe from harm, adults expect that protection from society why not our kids? It’s been many years since I left school but I will never forget the trauma of being bullied, it is utterly terrifying and for me, it had very serious repercussions. That’s why I believe bullying should be a criminal offence.

Received via email from a victim of bullying