I’m fourteen. I’m the kid getting into trouble everywhere, because I was a victim of crime.
I had no idea that when my bus pass was stolen, it would end with me being bashed or how being a victim of crime would affect me for so long. You see, the kid just kept bashing me herself, and she kept getting her friends to bash me. I kept getting bashed up, time after time. They held me down, most of the time – so I didn’t have much chance. Not that I could fight off so many anyway.
It was bad enough to get bashed and be constantly waiting for them to get me again. What proved to be even worse was getting ripped off about getting bashed up by a girl – because I’m a boy. I was so embarrassed. I knew it wasn’t fair, but I learned it’s hard to get people to really understand what it is like.
I saw school counsellors – it seemed like all the time – and I felt like a wuss. I really liked one, but she left. The next one let me down, just didn’t turn up for appointments – I felt she didn’t care much. There didn’t seem to be much point. She didn’t know what I felt like, or she wouldn’t have let me down.
Then I started seeing a psychologist knowing I really needed to talk to someone about this. I took his advice but I still felt left out and unsatisfied, and the bullying kept going. Then my young friend died from cancer, and I really miss her.
The girl who was after me, she kept coming back for more, so I had to get an AVO, and when I did, so did several others from the school. That didn’t work either, because when she tried to get me again, the school asked for police help, but then only my AVO hadn’t been served on her. Everyone else’s had. It made me feel I wasn’t as important as everyone else. I was angry with everyone, because they kept saying we’ll fix it, you’ll be OK, but they all let me down, and they didn’t fix it at all. She was expelled, but it still didn’t stop because there are different rules outside the school.
My family were the only people helping me out – especially my mum. It’s not fair on anyone, because my brother, who’s doing his HSC this year, feels responsible for me, but he can’t protect me all the time because they just wait for a chance to get me. Dad works really hard, and I get everybody upset, because I yell at them. I guess I’m angry because I don’t know how to make it stop, and perhaps I think the adults – the court, police, the school and the counsellors should have fixed it. I was in trouble at school, I just couldn’t concentrate. I guess I felt it wasn’t worth the effort. I was angry, but didn’t know how to deal with it.
Mum talked to this really nice police officer, Tracey, who was trying to help me, about taking me to a camp. But I didn’t want to go. I thought I wouldn’t know anyone and they wouldn’t like me. I was scared. Tracey suggested Mum ring a lady called Robyn Cotterell-Jones at VOCAL and she did, and Robyn said “Come and see me! Promise I won’t bite!’” She really knew what she was talking about. She really knew what I was going through and she helped me through the hardest time of my life and I even went on the camp and it was fun. If it was not for her I would still be down.
Then my favourite teacher was killed, and I was really upset. I couldn’t believe it when this new teacher said “Well he’s dead, and I’m here now, so get over it” to the class. I don’t think that’s much help to anyone.
Well, the bullying is still going on, and I’m still having problems. So I rang Robyn and she talked to me again, and then she went to a conference in Melbourne. Thinking of me, she bought a book from a lady who lectured about bullying. That’s what Robyn is like – if she doesn’t know “everything” she tells you that, and other real stuff, like “Adults make mistakes, and they’re only human, and you didn’t come with an instruction manual when you were born so it’s all trying to do the right thing, rather than following a recipe” – stuff that makes me look at things differently.
She also makes me feel good about why they pick on the way I look – she says it’s because I’m really handsome, and they’re jealous! That’s really nice to hear. We read lots of stuff out of the book and we decided what sorts of things I could try. It will take practice, but I’m looking forward to practising until I’m good at it. Robyn says “Fake it till you make it!” I’m going to learn how to punch a punching bag too, instead of yelling at my mum. Perhaps I’ll even grow big and muscly!
I’m pleased that the principal has contacted Robyn about coming to the school and helping them to stop the bullying. She suggested that when I meet the new counsellor that I tell her what I expect from our contract, and how much I was hurt by the last counsellor. I’ll write it out first, so I don’t forget.
I really liked the idea that I could write about what’s been happening in my family. It might help someone else too. So look forward to the next instalment …
This is Ben, signing off.