Kevin wrote to me a few weeks ago to say he had found this site and that he too was sharing his bullying stories. He wrote on his site of his early experiences with bullying and offered to share them here as well. As this is the Bullying Stories website, I will share some of his thoughts and if you want to read his whole story, you can visit his website at this link.
Kevin shared his reluctance to let anyone know he was being bullied. This is such a common problem as Kevin writes.
“So what’s my story? For the first time in my life I am going to talk about it. Like most of the kids I write about I kept the bullying a secret from my family and friends and never once reported it to a teacher or an adult in authority for fear that things would get worse. Perhaps, I now think to myself, if I only knew then what I know now I could have made it better for myself. Maybe…Maybe not. It was the 70s and attitudes were much different back then.
Okay, so here we go. As the 6th-grade was coming to an end in 1969, I had my first brush with death when two years of sexual abuse began at the hands of my friend’s father. I was 10-years old. What made things very confusing for me was that I already knew that I was gay. I mean I knew what was happening was very wrong, but I also knew that if it ever came out that I was engaging in sexual acts with a man, my family would send me away forever. I must insert here that I have a wonderful family. They were very loving and they went above and beyond to make sure their children never went without. I was fortunate to come from a family that taught the one thing I constantly preach today – respect.
The bullying began in the 7th-grade and continued through to the day I graduated the 12th-grade. Although I didn’t come out of the closet until I was 35-years old, I was constantly ridiculed and called names including fag and fudgepacker. No matter how hard I tried, from going to school dances to dating girls, I was always seen as weak. I sang in the school choir and I was active in various clubs, which was seen as gay. Despite my participation in these activities I was a pretty shy kid. I wasn’t very good at gym and I was always picked last for games. I was excited when I discovered tennis and made the tennis team. But, alas, tennis, the bullies claimed, was a gay sport. I couldn’t win for losing! It didn’t help that most of my friends were girls – although, as it turns out, it was those girls that were the very people who kept me from going over the deep end. Those girls saved my life.
I can still remember those days when I wondered how nice life would be if I were no longer a part of it. (I waited until I was 30-years old before I made that suicide attempt. But that’s a story for another day.) You see, it wasn’t just verbal abuse, it was also physical abuse as well. There were many occasions when I was pushed into lockers, tripped and even punched. I never fought back. I was too scared. On those days I would hide and stay at school long after everyone had left the building until I felt okay enough to go home. Even back then I had discovered the magic of make-up to hide any visible black and blue marks on my body.”
Regardless of sexual orientation, the bullying and the feelings that come from being bullied are all the same. Never fighting back is such a common theme. There are just those of us that DON’T WANT TO FIGHT. So many advise to fight back, but it is never that easy. I believe that a person who is emotionally sensitive doesn’t want to hurt another, even if it means ending the bullying. And I believe that many of those of us that were and are bullied are emotionally sensitive. Thanks again to Kevin for sharing his story and creating another good site to help let others know that it is still with us, but does get better.