Saturday, April 20, 2024

AWRIGHT DEN – Enough is enough


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Behind every attitude and behaviour there is a story, and until you can find out where the story begins, there is little you can do to help an individual.
No one is just always angry, or always aggressive or just likes fighting or frequently tells lies or habitually steals or is selfish. 
I am no psychologist, but I believe ALL of these actions, attitudes and behaviours are the conclusion and end product of a story.
I went to a secondary school in St Joseph as a child.   
Throughout my junior years, I was picked on but as I got into senior school the bullying got worse. I hated getting a haircut because it meant the boys would slap me across my head.
I hated bringing to school lunch because the boys would hit it out of my hand.I hated having to go to the canteen because the guys would bore in front of me in the line and if I said anything they would push me out the line, take away my money or wait until I purchased my lunch and take it away from me.  
Each day, I cried when I got home because I was too ashamed to cry at school.  
I thought of killing myself, I also thought of killing those who picked on me and made me feel like I was nothing. I wrote down the names of every one of them and how I would get rid of them. I told no one because I was told boys don’t cry and I needed to grow up and be tough. 
One evening, I left school and waited at the bus stop for the bus home. While there, I mistakenly kicked mud on one of the boys’ shoes. I immediately apologized but that wasn’t enough. 
The boy and his crew surrounded me and told me I had to clean his shoes. They made me clean his shoe with my handkerchief. They made me walk to a nearby standpipe while cursing and pushing me to dampen the cloth so I could shine his shoes.
As I was returning with the damp cloth, one boy walked behind me whipping me with a rod like I was a stray dog or some kind of farm animal. After cleaning one shoe, they made me clean the other shoe. Everyone at the bus stop was laughing at me.
I left the bus stop hurt, destroyed, embarrassed, crushed, angry, frustrated and lonely and walked home. When I got home, I cried until I had problems breathing. I took out my book and added more names to the list. During the night, I couldn’t sleep. I was awakened constantly by nightmares.
I went to school the next morning determined in my mind, I had had enough, today is the last day I was going to be bullied. The rain began to fall and all the students had to walk to their classes via a small corridor. 
As I was walking someone pushed me in my back. I looked back and the same boys who bullied me all my school life were standing behind me laughing. I continued walking and I was pushed again and again. I counted to ten, closed my eyes, turned around and started beating the person behind me. I punched the person uncontrollably until someone pulled me off. 
Unfortunately, the person I assaulted was an innocent first form girl. 
Students who are bullied can reach a point where they either hurt someone, or hurt themselves. Both the bullies and those who are bullied need urgent help. They need love, encouragement and counselling.
Monday, I viewed a video on a friend’s Facebook page of a boy from a school in St Joseph who was being bullied by his schoolmates. 
The story above is partially fictional and contains some of what the child experienced in the video. I shared the video with two colleagues whom I believe would be able to inform the relevant authorities of the situation. 
I want to express great thanks to Ryan Gilkes, of Starcom Network and Roger Husbands of Drug, Education Counselling Services who were able to do just that. There are known punishments for sexual and physical abuse but there is little punishment for the silent killers: verbal, psychological and emotional abuse, whose scars can last a lifetime.
There are many individuals in our communities that behave in a manner and display attitudes that are a concern to many. I ask that we seek to find out where their story begins so we can begin the process of restoration, forgiveness and healing.
Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador.


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