*Trigger Warning- this article contains themes and language some may find distressing
It’s so funny how you can have so much to say in advance, but once it comes down to getting it on paper, nothing’s there. Hmm… I don’t even know where to start. OK, phew… c’mon Charis lets just get on with it. I went to an all girls secondary school- enough already said. Not going into too much detail about yr7 but I wore loads of clips in my hair; I was 11, I was experimenting. To cut to the chase, I got the ultimate piss taking out of me from peers in my year and pupils in the years above. It went to the absolute extreme, to the point where a yr11 took a photo (she acc happened to be my best friend’s cousin’s friend- irony at its best) of my hair with the 20 something clips in, and made a whole twitter account for taking the absolute piss out of my chosen hairstyle. Malicious and humiliating, yeah I know. Funny enough though, all through that period of my life, I still wouldn’t say I was bullied yet, at least not properly. I had friends, I got on with people in my year- for the most of yr7 I was fairly ok…
Things took a very dark turn in yr8 though. Not really sure what happened, but I remember becoming swiftly fascinated with the Goth subculture. As pathetic as this sounds, I was reading Jacqueline Wilson‘s “Girls In Love” series, and fell in love with Nadine‘s character. Prior to my 12yr old self, I’d always been one who had interests in the indie scene as well as pop culture, dressing in bold slightly quirky attire. It would be an understatement to say going Goth was a 100 character reversal. To be fair, in yr7 I had always admired the Emo and Grunge girls in KS4 who paraded around the school corridors with amateur dyed hair, fishnet tees and black platforms (our school wasn’t uniformed, just for reference.) Who knows whether for them it was just your generic mid teen angsty ‘phase’, but at the time I couldn’t have cared less if it was. I wanted to eat, sleep and basically be them. Not wanting to dye my natural hair, I wanted to invest in having rainbow braided extensions, which thankfully my mum advised otherwise, and I settled with a ‘toned down‘ concoction of electric blue and purple instead. In terms of the sudden hair change in itself, people weren’t too nasty about it. I got a lot of compliments from the older kids, whether they were genuine or not. The other people in my year were initially alright at first too. Well apart from certain individuals who I will talk more about later on and in Part 2. HOWEVER, in terms of the actual overall Goth transformation, people weren’t as kind. When I say Goth I just want to note that this was 2013/14…Instagram and Clout Goth considered more ‘acceptable’ in this day ‘n’ age wasn’t a thing. If you were a Goth, you were a Goth. I guess some would say I was more Baby Bat which I was….but to my defence, I was in school, and had to abide somewhat with the rules.
In the summer of 2014, things got real nasty. I had made the decision to get green hair, and with the new fluorescent shade came a plethora of new problems. I was isolated, picked on on a daily basis, made fun of, humiliated- the list could go on. At this point, I had started to see who my real friends were as people grew further from me, wanting to disassociate themselves with something so hated on. I think by the end of that term, I had only 1 or 2 friends; they were more acquaintances than friends anyway. My friends actually played a huge role in the bullying towards me. It was my so called ‘best friend’ that was one of the main persecutors- Kookie. So yeah Kookie would literally always have digs at me, saying the usual “You’re so weird“, “why do you dress like that?” crap- all the good stuff. On this one occasion, I was waiting for her and the rest of our ‘friendship’ group outside of class, and she came storming out shouting “Charis, I’m not being funny, but you’re hair looks so bad. What are you thinking?”. Bare in mind, this was in front of the rest of my form who were waiting outside and quelle surprisé, one of my other persecutors was standing next to her cracking up as if you had just heard the funniest joke in the world. It was awful. Me with my timid personality replied with “I know” trying my hardest to fight back the tears. Damn, I cringe every time I recollect it.
Another major incident with Kookie was the morning of when I had really bad anxiety in the morning, so turned up to 1st period late. I had to do that ‘walk of shame’ where everyone goes silent turning round and staring at you- yeah you know it. Apparently whilst I had walked to my seat I had supposedly given one of my other friends a dirty look. Cut the story short, that 1 look escalated into a full blown argument where I had like 5 of my ‘friends’ ganging up on me telling me how rude I’d become, what a terrible person I am, and how much I’ve turned into such a heartless bitch. Petrified of confrontation, Kookie just went that one step further and said and I quote “I swear to god if you continue acting like this, I will actually shank you.” Imagine being a barely pubescent teen and being threatened of getting stabbed….She still denies it to this day, but I heard what I heard. That was just the icing on the cake. I cracked. I vaguely remember running to the school counsellor I had been seeing at the time, breaking down. I had made a vow from the 1st day of yr7 that I would never cry in school- but there I was. Just couldn’t take it anymore. Whilst this was all going on, I had become depressed, started self harming and developed an eating disorder. The school counsellor wasn’t of any use during this whole period, at all. She basically wanted to turn the blame on my mum, which is a very funny joke considering my mum was one of the only people actually supportive during the entirety of the bullying. Why didn’t you move schools? Fair question. My mum wanted to move me, only I protested. I had crippling anxiety and couldn’t even imagine having to settle into a new environment all over again. In the end, the school got involved, made us sit together whilst they addressed the said threat, and she pretty much calmed down from then onwards. Found out a couple years later that Kookie had some real deep issues going on at the time, which I had already gauged. Still not a valid reason to torment someone though.
~In Part 2, I’ll Talk About Being Physically Assaulted and The Impact Other POC Had Towards My Bullying~
Words by My Superiority Complex
*Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 states that maintained schools must have measures to prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. Head teachers must have the ability to ensure that pupils behave when they are not on school premises or under the lawful control of school staff. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 defines the criminal offence of harassment (which can include bullying). It provides for the possibility of a civil injunction to restrict the behaviour and for damages to be claimed for the harm suffered. Under The Human Rights Act 1998, Article 3 ECHR states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” Some types of bullying are illegal and should be reported to the police. This includes bullying that involves violence or assault; theft; harassment and intimidation over a period of time including calling someone names or threatening them, making abusive phone calls, and sending abusive emails or text messages (one incident is not normally enough to get a conviction); and anything involving hate crimes*
♠If you are being bullied or know someone who is being bullied, please seek help via the links below;