Jenna Prez raced home from school blood dripping down her face as the bruise on her forehead pulsates. She didn’t take much time throwing her bookbag down and running off to the bathroom the check the damage. She stares in the mirror not cleaning herself up but letting the blood drip from her mouth, and tears from her eyes. Why can’t the leave us alone, she thinks, can’t they mind their own business. Jenna goes to an all girl catholic high school where she met her first girlfriend, Regina Price. She had always known she was not attracted to boys, but until Regina, she wasn’t sure she was attracted to anyone. They had kept their relationship ‘on the down low’ for the past three months enjoying the secrecy of their teenage love. They would go on secret dates and hold hands pretending only to be best friends. There secret was well hidden until today when another girl, Janet Kinkle, saw Jenna kiss Regina on the cheek under the bleachers during gym. Jenna and Regina were unaware of Janet’s presence until they got back to the locker room where six of Janet’s friends were waiting on them. As soon as Jenna and Regina walked through the door, the other girls pummeled them to the floor scratch and punching them while yelling derogatory terms for lesbians. The coach, eventually, heard the commotion and broke up what was going to seem like a fight and not a clear attack on two innocent girls. Jenna and Regina were sent to the office for their misbehavior and were sentenced to three days of suspension while also having a call to home for what they had been hiding. The principal didn’t punish the other girls because she understood why they were enraged by this ‘immoral’ behavior. Jenna hears a loud knocking on the bathroom door, and she checks the time on her apple watch. Her mother was home from work. She builds up the courage she can and opens the door, and as soon as she meets her mother’s eyes, she is slammed into the door by her mother’s hand. Her mother slapped her across the face with tears in her eyes stating Jenna would never see Regina again, and she is disgusting. Her mother walks away, and Jenna shuts the door once again staring at herself in the mirror- not crying or speaking-only staring. She had no one in her life who fully accepted her but Regina, and now Regina was gone. Jenna was completely alone. Her breathing becomes heavy, and she slams her fist into the mirror breaking her reflection.
No Bullies Allowed.
Tips on How to Handle Being Bullied
Being the center of attention can be nerve-wracking if it is not handled properly. Some people aspire to be the most popular person in the room. Others cringe at the thought of it. Nonetheless, being the center of attention calls for a lot of people to watch your every move. With this being said, sometimes the limelight brings unpleasant people who say and do things that aren’t so nice.
These people are called bullies.
In some form or fashion, we have all had a childhood bully. They are never easy to deal with. One of the first bullies that I ever had was when I was in the seventh grade. She ended up stealing my iPod too. A few other times it usually had something to do with how I did my hair and people would say it was flakey and I needed to wash it. It was usually condescending and in a way. People used to make fun of how I talk since it isn’t conventionally feminine. Others used to take jabs about how I dressed or spoke. Essentially, it made me feel terrible about myself. I wouldn’t talk to anyone about how those situations made me feel because I thought that I had no one to talk to.
Ultimately, I learned that the goal of a bully is to make you feel bad about yourself.
As said on www.psychologytoday.com, “Bullying is repeated, aggressive behavior…that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Its purpose is to deliver physical or psychological harm to another person. [They] operate by making their victims feel alone and powerless.” When I noticed that this was their end goal, to make feel a way in which I could not understand, I had to learn to find true confidence from solitude and isolation.
A lot of people did not understand me growing up. I was uncanny and they thought that my kindness made me an easy target. On top of being socially awkward, I was quite shy and introverted because not communicating the things that harmed me made me feel better. Plus, it was easier to not say anything and keep going with life rather than confront the issue. Again, I learned rather quickly that allowing people to walk all over you would not be a justifiable reason for letting people know when they have hurt you.
Being assertive and confident created a path to holding others accountable for their wrongdoings. For me, it was not always easy doing so. It takes a lot of self-awareness to be able to tell people when they are wrong, but it is needed. Bullies do not have the power or authoritative order over you; they want you to feel inferior, but know and understand that you are in charge of your own life and safety. Do not fret if the end result is not what you expected. You have to stay consistent and remind these bullies of who is in charge.
Makayla Smith is a third-year student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is interning at GirlSpring.
When I first started middle school, we passed notes on little pieces of paper until the paper was nothing more than a grey scale.
It was our version of texting. It was tedious and involved a system of people willing to pass them back and forth for you. There was always the risk that someone you didn’t want to see or read it would, but it was a risk we were willing to take.
I remember a girl in my sixth grade English class being made fun of in a series of notes. The class kept passing them back and forth for some hateful little girls without seeing the contents of what they were sharing. This went on for days, with the girls snickering in secret.
Then my teacher caught wind of the notes passing and halted one of their letters before it reached the second reader of the day. I won’t repeat what was said, but just know that the girl who the note was about left the room in tears. The mean girls looked horrified. They didn’t think what they were saying was that big of a deal.
They felt that there were no consequences for something that was written down versus spoken aloud. This would have been true if the teacher had never apprehended the letter. Or would it have been?
Would it still be mean if the person you were writing about never knew you were writing hurtful things about them?
This brings me to the topic of Social Media. As our technology grows, so do the opportunities for communication. What was once a simple note in the classroom is now a string of characters on someone’s Twitter feed.
This gives more power to the speaker or texter. The words that are posted online are there for the public eye and will forever have a paper trail. With all chances to be good, there are equal amounts of chances to be bad. It is what balances the world, but it is something that does not have to support us. As a human race, we can choose to find other measures of entertainment and morals rather than basing them on being horrific to others.
Unfortunately, there is a sort of confidence boost when we don’t have to see the consequences of our actions.
Those girls from my sixth-grade class eventually apologized to the girl they hurt, and notes were banned from the classroom. But this did not stop people from sneaking more notes around. It did, however, change the mean girls’ opinions on what they put on paper.
With social media, there is no immediate action. Even if a series of posts are written concerning something hateful, it could take days before an adult does something to handle it. And too often do we hear that we should ignore our bullies and let them get away with it simply because we are “the better person.” A better person would let them know that what they are doing is wrong.
If they can use their platform to spit fire, then you can use yours to voice positivity.
If someone is mean to you on social media, try responding to them once with a heartfelt comment on why what they are saying is problematic for you. Then, seek adult advice or council. You are not what those people say about you. You are what you make of yourself.
It is okay to seek help from friends, family, or professionals when you are feeling uneasy about something. With so many paper receipts for posts today, there will always be evidence of how the other person hurt you. But in the end, it will affect when they try to get hired for a job. Or if someone is doing a character assessment?
Try to blend the idea of ignoring your bullies and facing them together. Give them a single response at the start, then move on with your life. If they realize that you aren’t going to bite, they may just get bored. But at least you will have publicly announced how terrible they are behaving and have addressed the issue before moving on.
If what people are saying about you online is getting deep beneath your skin, you are not alone.
Everyone experiences self-doubt, insecurities, and sometimes depression. It is up to you how to handle it when you face it. I will provide some links below that can help guide you through some tough social media situations. Hopefully, some of them will be relatable and helpful if you’re in this situation:
Some key tips for dealing with social media drama, whether it is being bullied or unfairly treated:
Remain professional or as adult-like as possible
Give short answers when your words become too aggressive
Remind yourself that this is public information and that future employers will likely have access to it
Think of positive thoughts
In a relationship, both people have the right to set their own boundaries AND have those boundaries respected, no matter what. But what happens if someone crosses a line? How do you deal with it? Here’s what to consider if…
…Your Relationship Is Safe:
In a healthy relationship, open communication is crucial. If your partner does something that upsets you or makes you uncomfortable, you have a right to address it with them. If you don’t have any safety concerns and you feel like your relationship is in a pretty healthy place, having a conversation with your partner about a boundary violation could be really helpful. Depending on the situation, you can address it as soon as it happens, or you can take some time to think about what you want to say. It might even help to write down what you want to say before talking with your partner.
For example, let’s imagine you and your partner are hanging around the house and your partner slaps your butt as you’re walking past. If that makes you uncomfortable, in that moment you could say, “Hey, I’m not ok with that,” and take your conversation from there. But if you and your partner are out to dinner with family and your partner does something that makes you uncomfortable, you might feel like it’s best to wait until the two of you are alone to bring it up. Either way, you do have a right to say something to your partner.
When discussing the situation, use “I” statements (ex. “I feel this way when…”), and talk with your partner about why the boundary was crossed and any steps you can both take to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Being able to hold each other accountable is part of building a healthy relationship.
…Your Relationship Might Not Be Safe:
If your partner is repeatedly crossing your boundaries, they aren’t willing to discuss boundaries with you, or you notice that your partner is guilt-tripping you for even having boundaries, your relationship is likely very unhealthy and could become abusive if your partner’s behaviors continue and escalate.
If you are in an unhealthy relationship and a boundary is crossed, having a conversation with your partner may not be a safe option for you. You do have the right to be firm and clear about your boundaries, because you always deserve to have your boundaries respected, but it is also important to consider your safety. You might talk to a trusted friend or family member or chat with a loveisrespect peer advocate, and try thinking about whether or not this is a relationship in which you can feel safe and respected. It’s important to remember that if someone doesn’t respect you, they won’t respect your boundaries, and vice versa.
You might also consider documenting any instances of harmful or abusive behavior in case you decide to file a protective order or get legal help in the future. Having your thoughts or feelings written or saved somewhere where your partner can’t access them may also work as a reminder of times you were hurt or major boundaries were crossed, in case you ever start to question yourself or believe the abuse was your fault (hint: it never is).
…Your Relationship Is Definitely Not Safe:
Maybe you’ve realized that your relationship is abusive and your partner isn’t a safe person to talk to about your boundaries. What now? If your partner isn’t allowing for you to be safe, it might be time to consider leaving the relationship. Breaking up can be really difficult, especially when feelings are involved, and if your relationship is abusive breaking up might also be dangerous. You have a right to make your safety a top priority, so it’s important to have a plan in place for how you can break up safely or stay safe in the meantime. You might talk to someone in your support system about what’s going on.
We recognize that your safety is the top priority and you are the best person to decide what is right for you. If you want to talk about your plan to stay safe whether you want to stay in a relationship or you feel ready to leave. To talk to an advocate, call 1-866-331-9474, text loveis to 22522 or visit loveisrespect.org to chat via our website 24/7!
Are you being bullied? Do you see bullying at your school? There are things you can do to keep yourself and the kids you know safe from bullying.
Treat Everyone with Respect
Nobody should be mean to others.
- Stop and think before you say or do something that could hurt someone.
- If you feel like being mean to someone, find something else to do. Play a game, watch TV, or talk to a friend.
- Talk to an adult you trust. They can help you find ways to be nicer to others.
- Keep in mind that everyone is different. Not better or worse. Just different.
- If you think you have bullied someone in the past, apologize. Everyone feels better.
What to Do If You’re Bullied
There are things you can do if you are being bullied:
- Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off. This works best if joking is easy for you. It could catch the kid bullying you off guard.
- If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.
There are things you can do to stay safe in the future, too.
- Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. They can help you make a plan to stop the bullying.
- Stay away from places where bullying happens.
- Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.
Protect Yourself from Cyberbullying
Bullying does not always happen in person. Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that happens online or through text messages or emails. There are things you can do to protect yourself.
- Always think about what you post. You never know what someone will forward. Being kind to others online will help to keep you safe. Do not share anything that could hurt or embarrass anyone.
- Keep your password a secret from other kids. Even kids that seem like friends could give your password away or use it in ways you don’t want. Let your parents have your passwords.
- Think about who sees what you post online. Complete strangers? Friends? Friends of friends? Privacy settings let you control who sees what.
- Keep your parents in the loop. Tell them what you’re doing online and who you’re doing it with. Let them friend or follow you. Listen to what they have to say about what is and isn’t okay to do. They care about you and want you to be safe.
- Talk to an adult you trust about any messages you get or things you see online that make you sad or scared. If it is cyberbullying, report it.
Stand Up for Others
When you see bullying, there are safe things you can do to make it stop.
- Talk to a parent, teacher, or another adult you trust. Adults need to know when bad things happen so they can help.
- Be kind to the kid being bullied. Show them that you care by trying to include them. Sit with them at lunch or on the bus, talk to them at school, or invite them to do something. Just hanging out with them will help them know they aren’t alone.
Not saying anything could make it worse for everyone. The kid who is bullying will think it is ok to keep treating others that way.
You can be a leader in preventing bullying in your community.
- Find out more about where and when bullying happens at your school. Think about what could help. Then, share your ideas. There is a good chance that adults don’t know all of what happens. Your friends can go with you to talk to a teacher, counselor, coach, or parent and can add what they think.
- Talk to the principal about getting involved at school. Schools sometimes give students a voice in programs to stop bullying. Be on a school safety committee. Create posters for your school about bullying. Be a role model for younger kids.
- Write a blog, letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or tweet about bullying.
From more information: stopbullying.gov
Here are some thing you need to do if you are being bullied:
If someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants. It gives him or her power over you. Who wants to empower a bully?
Getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces the bully’s behavior. Help avoid a whole cycle of aggression.
Save the evidence
The only good news about digital bullying is that the harassing messages can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. Save evidence even if it’s minor stuff – in case things escalate.
Block the bully
If the harassment’s coming in the form of instant messages, texts, or profile comments, do yourself a favor: Use preferences or privacy tools to block the person. If it’s in chat, leave the “room.” This may not end the problem, but you don’t need harassment in your face all the time, and no reaction sometimes makes aggressors bored so they’ll stop.
Reach out for help
You deserve backup. Of course you know there are different kinds of help, from talking with a friend to seeing if there’s a trusted adult who can help. It’s usually good to involve a parent but – if you can’t – a school counselor can sometimes be helpful. If you’re really nervous about saying something, see if there’s a way to report the incident anonymously at school. Sometimes this can result in bullies getting the help they need to change their behavior.
Use reporting tools
If the bullying took place via a social network, use that service’s reporting or “abuse” tools. The social network may also have “social abuse-reporting” tools, which allow you to forward hurtful content to a trusted friend or directly ask someone to take offensive content down. If the abuse threatens physical harm, you may have to call the police, but think about involving a parent if you do.
You’re doing yourself a favor. Even if you don’t like a person, it’s a good idea to be decent and not sink to his or her level. Research shows that gossiping about and
Don’t be a bully
You know the old saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes; even a few seconds of thinking about how another person might feel can put a big damper on aggression. That’s needed in this world.
Be an upstander, not a bystander
Forwarding mean messages or just standing by and doing nothing empowers bullies and hurts victims even more. If you can, tell bullies to stop, or let them know bullying is not cool – it’s cruel abuse of fellow human beings. If you can’t stop the bully, at least try to help the victim and report the behavior.
Computers, cellphones, and other kinds of technology can be great. But sometimes they can be used to really hurt someone. Keep reading to learn more about cyberbullying:
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is hurting someone again and again using a computer, a cellphone, or another kind of electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include the following:
- Texting or emailing insults or nasty rumors about someone
- Posting mean comments about someone on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites
- Threatening someone through email or other technology
- Tricking someone into sharing embarrassing information
- Forwarding private text messages to hurt or embarrass someone
- Posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone
- Pretending to be someone else online to get that person in trouble or embarrass her
- Creating a website to make fun of someone
Some teens think it’s easier to get away with bullying online than in person.
Also, girls may be more likely to cyberbully than boys. Keep in mind that it’s pretty easy to find out who has been cyberbullying. In fact, cyberbullies can get in a lot of trouble with their schools, and possibly even with the police.
It can be easier to type something really mean than to say it to a person. But being cyberbullied can sometimes feel even worse than other kinds of bullying. That’s because cyberbullying can come at you anytime, anywhere and can reach a lot of people.
Being cyberbullied can make you feel angry, afraid, helpless, and terribly sad. Also, teens who are cyberbullied are more likely than other teens to have problems such as using drugs, skipping school, and even getting sick.
If you are being cyberbullied, talk to an adult you trust.
An adult can help you figure out how to handle the problem, and can offer you support.
If you are cyberbullying, it’s time to stop.
You are not only hurting someone else, you could hurt yourself. You can lose friends and get in trouble with your school or even with the police. If you can’t seem to stop yourself from cyberbullying, get help from an adult you trust.
You may hurt someone online without really meaning to do it. It may seem funny to vote for the ugliest kid in school, for example, but try to think about how that person feels. And if you get a message that makes you mad, go away and come back before writing something you may regret. Nearly half of teenage cellphone users say they regretted a text message they sent. Remember, nothing is really secret or private on the Internet, and things you post online can stay there forever.
Did you know?
Teen girls say meanness lurks on social media. One out of 5 girls ages14 to 17 say people her age are mostly unkind to each other on social media. And one out of 3 girls ages 12 to 13 thought so. Ouch!
Can you take a second to rewind and be kind before you post? [/blockquote]
How to prevent cyberbullying?
Here are some tips that may help protect you from being cyberbullied:
- Don’t give out your passwords or personal information. Even your friends could wind up giving your passwords to someone who shouldn’t have them.
- Use the privacy options on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr that let you choose who can see what you post.
- Don’t friend people online if you don’t know them, even if you have friends in common.
- Be careful about what you write or what images you send or post because nothing is really private on the Internet.
- If you are using a site like Facebook on a computer in the library, log out before you walk away. If you don’t log out, the next person who uses the computer could get into your account.
If you are cyberbullied arrow
If you are cyberbullied, you can get help. Here are some important tips:
- If someone bullies you, don’t respond. Bullies are looking for a reaction, and you may be able to stop the bullying if you ignore or block the person.
- Save any evidence of cyberbullying, print it out, and show it to a trusted adult.
- Use options that let you block email, cellphone, and text messages from a cyberbully. You can also stop a person from seeing your Facebook information. If you need help, ask an adult, your cellphone company, or the website where you want to block someone.
- If you are being cyberbullied, ask if your school can get involved.
- Report bullying to your Internet service provider, phone company, email provider, or the website where it happened. Sites like Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram have online forms for reporting.
- Report cyberbullying to police if it involves threats of violence or pornography. Stopbullying.gov has more information on cyberbullying and the law.
Sometimes, teens don’t want to tell their parents that they are being cyberbullied because they are afraid their parents will take away their phone or computer. If you have this concern, tell your parents, and work with them to figure out a solution. The most important thing is for you to be safe.
Sexting and cyberbullying
Sexting is sending naked or partly naked photos to someone online or by cellphone. Sometimes, a guy may pressure you to send these kinds of photos. Sometimes, friends may dare you to do it.
It’s a very bad idea to send nude photos or forward someone else’s. Messages can be traced back to you, and photos can quickly get forwarded to a lot of people. You can really hurt someone’s feelings or your own reputation. You can even get in legal trouble for forwarding something that could be considered child pornography.
From: Girls Health