Lifestyle

“I was a victim of racism”

Gen*, 14, encourages other teens to speak up and help put an end to racism in schools.

Gen*, 14, encourages other teens to speak up and help put an end to racism in schools.

When someone bullies you, it makes you feel really, really low. It’s such an awful feeling, you just want to disappear.

Try having not one, but a whole bunch of people bully you, and to make things even worse, you thought they were your friends.

My family and I moved to Australia from the Philippines when I was seven years old. About a year later, the bullying started. Boys and girls in my grade would call me awful names and treat me like I was from a different planet. They teased me, used me and made jokes about me. Because of the language difference, it took me a while to understand exactly what they were saying. When I finally worked it out, I wished that I hadn’t.

The first time I was bullied was after I stuck up for a friend and the bully called me racist names in reply. The bullying continued and I just put up with it.

But one of my biggest wake-up calls was when my so-called “friends” started bullying me too. I just couldn’t believe they would do that to me.

It all happened after I’d performed in front of the school. After the show, one of my friends pulled me aside and told me that the rest of our group had been saying horrible things about me during the performance. They mocked my appearance and said things like, “She should go back to her country.” I was so shocked; I was on the verge of tears all day.

Apparently my friends had thought I’d been gossiping about them behind their backs. But instead of asking me, they just kicked me out of the group and started bullying me.

Later, when the incident was mentioned again, I ran straight to the girls’ toilets and hid there until I stopped crying. I left school early that day because I couldn’t take the pain anymore. When I got home, I burst into tears and told my sister everything; she was the only person I could trust.

I was bullied a lot in primary school and even now that I’m in high school, sometimes people still make hurtful comments. I know that bullies only pick on others to make themselves feel better, but it really hurts when you’re the victim. Just because I was born in a different country doesn’t mean anyone has the right to bully me; I’m no less important than anyone else.

My primary school did have anti-bullying policies, but I was always too afraid to tell my teachers. I was scared that if I dobbed, it might just make things worse. Now that I’m older, I can see that was a huge mistake. You should never deal with these things alone.

If you’re being bullied, don’t be afraid to tell your teachers or parents. It’s always better to share your fears and get support. Don’t try to handle the bullying alone, tell an adult your trust and talk to your friends. If it wasn’t for my sister and a few close friends, I’d still be crying myself to sleep now. Be brave and stick up for yourself; no one has the right to bully you.

Hot on the heels of our DOLLY Respect: Give it, get it, expect it campaign we’re inviting you to join our campaign towards building positive relationships. Find out how you can show your respect during the DOLLY Respect Day.