This is the story of Rochelle…
When Rochelle was bullied at school, instead of immediately retaliating, she would bottle up her emotions until she got home and then take out her frustration and anger on her younger brothers and sisters.
Rochelle’s dad died when she was a child, and she remembers one of her bullies taunting her in the corridor. When she was 13, a girl asked Rochelle where she was going with her Dad at the weekend, before laughing and saying, “Oh, I forgot. He’s dead.” Angry and hurt inside, Rochelle walked away, and when she got home she hit her nine year old brother.
As a young carer, Rochelle had to stay at home a lot to look after her Mum, and had helped to raise her siblings. But while the girls at her school would call her names and push her around for being different, she would deal with it by doing exactly the same thing at home.
Rochelle said: “I was quite a quiet girl and I wasn’t into the same girlie things as a lot of the other girls. They’d laugh at me, push me around, call me names and make me feel useless. I didn’t know what to do; the teachers didn’t seem interested and I didn’t want to hit out at school in case I got into trouble and it got worse. I guess I took it all out on my brother and sisters.”
Rochelle’s ordeal started at primary school and continued when she and her bullies went to the same secondary school. The snide looks, pushes, kicks, and verbal abuse became more frequent. Rochelle’s health began to deteriorate as she made herself ill from worrying. She didn’t want to go to school because she was worried about having to face her bullies. The stress would bring on asthma attacks and panic attacks and Rochelle would regularly miss school.
As Rochelle’s mum was not well, Rochelle never told her she was being bullied for fear of upsetting her. However, when Rochelle’s behaviour started to change for the worse, her mum began to suspect something was wrong. Rochelle had always looked after her siblings, who were between four and nine years younger than her, but gradually she started to shout at them and then hit them for no apparent reason. As the bullying at school increased, so did the frequency of Rochelle’s bullying behaviour towards her siblings.
When Rochelle was 15, her mum went to her daughter’s school to find out if her teachers knew why she was behaving so differently. The school had been working with Beatbullying, and Rochelle’s Mum told her that she might like to attend one of their workshops.
With the help of Beatbullying, Rochelle changed her behaviour. She realised the effect she was having on her siblings, and stopped bullying them. Her confidence increased as she realised how to deal with being bullied herself.
Rochelle said: “It was good to know that there were people who were going through the same thing as me. I could finally talk to who understood what I was going through, and I didn’t have to involve my mum. Things got a bit better at school and my confidence grew massively. I also realised the terrible effect I was having on my brother and sisters.”
Rochelle is still close to her younger siblings, and constantly watches out for them in case they should suffer like she did. She is no longer bullied and is much more confident to speak up for herself, stopping any problem before it has the chance to even appear.
This story is from the anti-bullying website beatbullying.org