in busy •  4 months ago

All my troubles seemed so far away...

One of the oldest pictures I have of me

Actually, no. Yesterday, I wished a school friend Happy Birthday. She's a lovely lady and was a lovely girl when we were at school. Yesterday, her birthday, marked the 40 year anniversary of a major event in my young life.

In 2014 I wrote a blog about the event.

Original blog post

Today is an anniversary for me. It's not one that you'd think of celebrating. It's on this day almost 40 years ago that I was attacked by school 'mates' as I was walking to catch the bus home from my friend's birthday tea.

Four of them approached us; two girls, two boys and things escalated fast. By the time they'd finished, I had been kicked in the head, my ear cartilage was broken, I had bruises all up my arms, and my back had been stamped on repeatedly.

My parents took it further and the police took two of the attackers to court.

I had to endure the next day at school and the main instigator and her friends (who hadn't been there at the time) coming up to me all day, saying I was overreacting and that it had been a joke.

When they realised that it had got serious and they were going to be in court for it, things began to get nastier. I was in the same classes as the two girls and the opinion of our year was divided. I'd already been beaten physically, but that year I had to endure the mental beating-up too - not just from those who had been there on that playing field at the time either. Everyone had an opinion on what had happened, depending on who they preferred to listen to.

When the court case came around, the Magistrate (juvenile court) asked me a question I've never forgotten.

"Are you frightened of this girl?"

I replied that yes, I was frightened of her. I didn't say she'd kicked seven shades of shit out of me, why the hell wouldn't I be? But maybe if I had, I wouldn't have come to this thought-process:

Yes, she and three others intimidated me to the point that my mind decided not to fight back because I'd save myself a more severe beating - hindsight is 20-20 but I'll never know if that notion would have held true. One of the boys had no problem in hitting girls, I know that because he hit me, so would one or all of them have jumped in if I had started getting the better of the instigator? I'll never know, the only thing I do know is this, they did beat me, they did intimidate me - there and after, for months - but they did NOT kill me.

I survived, I developed, and after the case I started thinking. "Yes, she DID frighten me, but if that was her best effort, she didn't kill me. I got up, I went on and I believe I'm a stronger and more tenacious person because of it."

Did they do me a favour that evening back in the 70s? Hell NO! I took the situation and I built on it. I get the reward, I get the praise, the kudos, I did it.

I survived it all.

So do I celebrate this anniversary? No, not particularly, but I remember.

When you grow up and make relationships and then make babies, such incidents seem so far away as you're making a life for yourself, but one day something may trigger the memory and it slams back to beat you up all over again.

Back in the olden days - 1981

My children weren't bullied to the point of permanent damage like I was (lower lumbar problems because of the main instigator stamping on my back). My children weren't bullied quite so much as I was because fore-warned is fore-armed and I made sure they knew how to defend themselves.

Please note, I did not say they were taught how to fight. That's not what self defence classes teach - or at least, not the reputable ones.

From an early age, my children were encouraged to take Free-style Karate, Boxing, Ju-Jitsu and Guitar lessons (don't ask).

You can't tell by looking at them, but these kids are Superheroes - to me.

They know how to defend themselves and unless it's against a mob, (in which case, they should RUN!) they should be able to keep themselves from bodily harm.

How I wish I'd been given that opportunity.

My son saw two lads kicking another one as the victim lay on the ground. He stopped them kicking the lad and the two bullies turned on him. His boxing skills came in handy - he floored the pair and they ran off, threatening to get their mother to come and sort me out.

Built for speed... @storminatcup

He told me what he'd done and I was proud that he'd gone to someone's aid.

She came to my door, all belligerent and threatening to call the police on my son if I didn't do something about him.

I told her to call the police. I also told her that the police would likely look more sternly upon her two sons for kicking a lad when he was already on the ground.

She didn't believe me and she went ahead with her threat and phoned the police.

I found out from my son that the police told her exactly what I had predicted.

Monkey and a Barbary Ape

Her kids would be in more trouble for attacking the other kid and my son would get praised for stepping in and stopping them.

Sydney Harbour Sea-Life Centre

Over the years, my kids have come to me for help in such situations - the worse one was a 14 year-old threatening my 6 year old daughter. She was a persistent bully. I had to tell her to leave my daughter alone and when she went back after @danielles and threatened to beat her up if she told me the second time, I went to her mother.

The trick here is to make sure your children know you're there for them and when someone says, "Don't tell your mum." that's exactly what they SHOULD do.

The excuse from that mother - "Well, she's adopted..."

I'm thankful that MY children have never caught the bullying bug - they would both rather stick their necks out to help someone being bullied than they would pick on anyone.

That brings me to a question...

Do bullies learn their behaviour or is it an instinctive 'top dog' behaviour?

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That brings me to a question...
Do bullies learn their behaviour or is it an instinctive 'top dog' behaviour?

The correlation between bullies, being bullied ( from parents or siblings etc), is enormous...

That being said, I also think there are always some tossers out there, and without getting any help from anyone else, to 'kick start' the bullying...will still act out..

I too was bullied and beaten as a child. And I also had my children take self-defence and we as parents backed them up when it was necessary. You are a survivor because of many factors in your life and that takes courage no matter how you slice it. Kudos to you! Bullying begins by example in the home and then grows as they the attend school. They will continue to bully the weaker and younger kids until they get thumped and then they run home crying foul!

Bullying is horrible; I too suffered from it as a child. I was small for my age and there were always more than one attacker. I learned to avoid and run. I wonder what kind of home these children lived in and who raised them and how. I think they just weren't really raised at all. A child that grows with no guidance easily becomes a brute, and will join an aggressive group so he or she can feel a sense of belonging which is lacking in the home.

Wow. I can't answer your question, but I do know what it's like to be bullied - both as a child and as a senior. Both are frightening and can leave lasting scars, physically and emotionally. While I'm sorry you had to endure bullying, you have given your children the best from that experience. Knowing your parents have your back is the best knowledge a child can have. Kudos to you and your children!

In my experience, circumstances create bullies, and they remain bullies until someone bigger and meaner beats the snot out of them.

In childhood, the relationship between peers is built differently than in an adult society. However, many of us understand that there is an inequality in the children's society, something that resembles the animal world. Indeed, in school years, many children are subjected to violence from their classmates. As far as I know in the US, this issue is covered. I remember my school years and I remember how it happened.
I liked the story you told about your son. A good message that allows you to think ...

In my experience bullies are cowards and have severe inferiority issues. This is a learned behavior in 90% of cases the other 10% born psychopaths or sociopaths.
In school we have anti bullying policies which are pretty useless i.m.o. especially then many of the staff are being bullied by the management.

My response when I was a child to bullies was simple. Hit hard and hit fast and don't stop hitting until they run. Your son did the right thing.

If your bullies ever grew into adults having any empathy at all. They may want to seek you out for forgiveness. Don't give it to them. Let them stew.

Am I being a tad harsh? lol

You survived and thrived Michelle. Well done.