At Grades4Life, we take pride in being advocates who stand against all forms of bullying. We believe every community needs leaders who students can seek counsel from when they feel they victims of any type of hate crime.
Bullies behave the way they do for a myriad of reasons but using others as emotional or physical punching bags can never be justified. The effects of bullying may persist for long periods even after the actual acts have stopped. Children need to know the effects their actions may have on other students, both today and in the future.
We want parents to know and understand how being bullied as a child can impact the victim’s adult life. We had the chance to sit down with a recent college graduate to discuss how being bullied in middle school presented issues she did not see coming. We want these discussions to inspire parents to have the necessary conversations with their children.
You may not know what side of the equation your child falls on but openly discussing the ins and outs of this phenomenon is essential. We’d like to thank our interviewee for candidly sharing her experience with us.
G4L: To get a frame of reference, how old were you when you were victim of bullying?
Sephorah: I was bullied was when I was in the 4th grade, about 8 or 9? That was about the time I started going through puberty...so I was gaining weight, growing hair everywhere, breaking out, etc. (She laughs)
G4L: How did the experience affect you emotionally, both as a child and in your adult life?
Sephorah: Well, when I first felt like I was bullied, I really did not know what to feel. I was being bullied by a boy I liked so I initially thought this was how he showed he liked me back but he never let up and things got worse. At the time, in 4th grade, I guess the only word that could describe my feelings is “sad”. However, when I first realized I was being bullied, when I was a little older, I can better describe my feelings as embarrassed. I was being harassed about something that I could not really do anything about. I know it happened eons ago but the most hurtful thing he ever said to me or to the class to be honest was, “If Sephorah were to shave she would lose 20 pounds” Like seriously? I’m in the 4th grade what’s my business shaving or caring about my weight? That was time the I should have been care free...not worrying about the hair on my legs or if I had a chubby tummy.
G4L: Were you able to confide in anyone throughout this experience? Friends? Adults?
Sephorah: I did not have anyone to confide in. Not because I did not have anyone, my parents were always there for me and were very adamant about it when I was younger. However, like I said, I was embarrassed more than anything, so I naturally found it difficult to talk about my experience. I feel as though kids/people who experience bullying are physically bullied but I was being emotionally and mentally bullied and telling someone about that is never really
emphasized by teachers, school faculty, etc.
G4L: What advice do you have to victims of bullying or to anti-bullying advocates?
Sephorah: My advice for someone being bullied at any time in your life is to confide in someone, if it’s a friend, parent, teacher, therapist, your cat, just let it out. Preferably to someone who can help you get past it and/or make the bullying stop. I think this is crucial because believe it or not, the experience will follow you throughout your life some way or another. For instance, I know it’s silly but when I shave I always think back to that time all the way in the fourth grade. That’s silly. I’m a 22-year-old, almost 23-year-old college graduate, it happened almost 14 years ago.
I also want to encourage finding ways to love yourself. When I was being bullied for literally growing hair, an absolutely normal thing, I wanted to start shaving… at the age of 9. My mom obviously wasn’t having it but I would try to sneak shaving with her razors. I didn’t know what I was doing, I’d cut myself, make a mess. (She laughs) However, as I am learning self-love, slow but surely, I would tell my 9-year-old self or anyone experiencing anything remotely similar to what I did, that this boy bullying me isn’t worth it, obviously but more importantly I’d say don’t concern yourself because they don’t deserve any of your time.
Once again, we extend many thanks to Sephorah for letting us in on such an emotional subject. We remind adults to have these conversations with your children, reminding them that any and all emotions they feel are completely valid.
Grades4Life (G4L) is a non-profit organization that partners with schools and communities to help students succeed both socially and academically. At G4L, we use our patented social rewards program featured on a mobile application to allow the local and national community to get involved and help students succeed.