Lilian, born in Fujian China, studies at Madeira High School in Virginia, the USA. She wrote to us sharing her experiences with school bullying both in China and in the USA.
Author: Lilian Huang (pseudonym for privacy)
Wrote in: 2021
I will start my story from the last year of my preschool. I moved from a small town in China to the city and transferred to another school. The new school was different from the one I attended previously because it was a private school that taught some English and other courses. The first days of school seemed to go well. But things changed when the head of a group of boys began giving me trouble. I didn’t know why he picked me, whether it was because he did not like me or because he just wanted to have some fun. Most times, bullying happens without a proper reason.
They began noticing how different I was from them. I was different because I didn’t know how to write or speak English, and I couldn’t do calculations well since my previous school did not teach these things. My appearance was also different. I had short hair like the boys, I was taller than other kids, and I was a bit chubbier than the other girls. These differences all became the reasons for them to insult me. They called me names like “bumpkin,” “stupid,” and “fat pig.” But that wasn’t all. They pulled my hair, pushed me, and punched me. These memories have faded, and I can’t remember the details of the entire story.
However, there are some moments embedded in my memory. Those moments of helplessness seemed like I stayed in a deep black hole with no light at all. One day, when those boys had beat me up again, I ran to my teacher. I wanted her attention so badly, and I used all my strength to grab her by shaking her clothes. For me, I was firmly grasping onto my last hope of help. She was the only one who might help. She was standing beside the lockers writing something. I was crying while I told her what had happened. But no matter how much I tugged at her clothes and asked for her help, she did not even look at me. She was looking at the book, and her hands kept holding the pen and writing. She glanced at me for only one second and continued her work. I saw merely coldness in her eyes. Then, I heard the words that I cannot forget: “I’m busy right now. They are just playing with you.”
My parents were always busy with their work and didn’t have time for me, even after telling them what happened. My dad was working abroad at that time and didn’t spend much time at home. My mom went to work before I got up every day and often came back home after I went to bed. We could only spend time together on the weekends. I told them what happened in school, but they thought there was only half a year left for me until I went to primary school. They believed I should either tell the teacher or solve the problem by myself. I also told my grandma about the bullying, who thought I should avoid trouble by not telling others about it. Growing up, my family only taught me not to cause trouble. They didn’t teach me how to set bottom lines when interacting with others, nor how to protect myself when needed.
At the time, I didn’t realize this was bullying. Only when I look back at it now, I realized the influence it had on me. For years, this experience of being neglected made me believe that I’m not an important person. I made a lot of effort to try to make others notice me and like me. Regardless of how great my friends described me as a person, how good my grades were, or how well I was at many things, I was never confident about myself. At that time, my mindset contributed to why I was bullied again and why I continue to feel even badly about it many years later.
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