Bullying Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies and Bystanders
Authors: Stephanie H. Meyer, John Meyer, Emily Sperber, Heather Alexander
Words are powerful – they can inflict damage and they can heal. In this anthology of first-person accounts written by teenagers for both their peers and adults, words transform pain into hope and the possibility for change.
Bullying Under Attack is an eye-opening anthology of all three players in the bullying cycle. These conversational essays on life as the bullied, the bully, and the bystander provide insight and inspiration for change. Rather than offer a cumbersome psychological breakdown, this graceful and hard-hitting book places the reader firmly in the shoes of all involved.
The stories written by The Bullied explain the subtleties and agony of harassment, helping readers understand that there is more to unkind words and behavior than “just joking around.” Although many of these teens have suffered through harassment by their peers, their essays are both empowering and inspiring. By exploring the essays by The Bullies, readers will discover that the bullies are often times incorrectly labled as bad kids, but many are simply trying to fit in, despite their own insecurities and fears. While these bullies may still have their own seemingly insurmountable obstacles at home, they share their experiences and insights hoping to manage and reforming other bullies. The section voiced by The Bystander shares tales of those who have regrettably watched and those who have stepped up to help others. Here, readers will find the inspiration to speak out rather than just standing by while others are emotionally harmed.
Whether due to race, weight, or jealousy, there are a myriad of reasons WHY. Included in this startling compendium of personal stories that convey the complexity and nuances of what it means to be bullied, are stories of regret, promises, and encouragement that will help readers find solace during their teen years and show them how—as adults—their words and actions can provide strength and reassurance to others experiencing all aspects of bullying. Ultimately, they will learn to find their voices in order to break the cycle for good.
Slip ‘n Slide
All I could think for weeks was, How many people have seen the picture? How many have saved it to their desktops?
My story begins on a muggy day in August. My friends and I set up a Slip ‘n Slide in my neighbor’s backyard. After my turn down the slide, I was pulled into a group photo with two friends. Later, the picture was posted on Facebook. On that carefree summer day, I never imagined one picture could cause so much pain.
A few weeks later, at a gathering after the first football game of the year, my friends and I were reliving summer memories. Not surprisingly, the Slip ‘n Slide day came up.
One of my friends asked me, ‘You’ve seen the picture, right?’
I didn’t understand the look on her face, but I knew what picture she was talking about, so I laughed and told her I had seen it.
‘See, you guys? I told you she’d think it was funny!’ another friend piped up.
Suddenly a queasy feeling surged in the pit of my stomach. Maybe I didn’t know what they were talking about after all.
‘Can I go onto Facebook quickly?’ I asked a friend. I logged on and started clicking through pictures from that day. Finally, I found the one in question. Only then did I understand what the big deal was. Apparently, all the slipping and sliding had taken a toll on my swimsuit; it had definitely slipped out of place.
Heat rushed to my cheeks as I messaged the girl who originally uploaded the photo, asking her to remove it, which she did. But the damage had been done. The picture had been online for two weeks.
Before I knew it my eyes were overflowing with tears. I blindly rushed upstairs and locked myself in a bedroom. I called the only two people I knew who could make me feel better. They managed to calm me down a little, but I was still mortified. These girls who were supposed to be my friends had failed to tell me that I was exposed in the picture. Even worse, they had laughed about it behind my back. Unfortunately, that was only the start of a chain of awful events.
A few days later, a small misunderstanding happened between the girl I thought was my best friend and me. Later, when I logged onto Facebook, I found my wall filled with nasty comments from almost every one of our mutual friends. Even girls who had no knowledge of the details of the misunderstanding were taking part. Horrified, I clicked ‘Report Abuse’ on every insulting post.
The next day at school, I tried to hold my head high as the girls walked by me and muttered ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ under their breath. I tried to talk to the creator of the drama and resolve our differences, but she didn’t want to make up.
Those girls told me that I was worthless and that even before the fight they’d had sleepovers solely for the purpose of making fun of me and that picture. I was at a loss for what to do. One night I slept over at the house of the only friend I had left. The next morning I woke up to dozens of text messages from kids in other towns who the girls from my school had rallied against me.
Finally, after weeks and weeks of relentless torment, I cracked. I remember it distinctly: I was at an eye appointment, waiting for the doctor. My mom was there, playing on her phone. My own phone buzzed with a notification—yet another post on my Facebook wall.
This one was no worse than the others, but I was so drained
emotionally that I broke down in tears. Of course, at that point my mom got involved, which meant that the other girls’ parents were notified. I wasn’t happy that all the adults got entangled in the mess, but ultimately it was the only thing that stopped the cyberbullying.