He was screaming for them to stop, but they did not. A group standing around taking photographs and videos using their minds as the device to record because this was decades before cell phones. Still the pain was as real then as it is for those today.
The crowd laughing, the cheerleaders cheering them on with the same zeal and excitement as they have done for the basketball and football games.
His voice elevating demanding for the boys assaulting him to stop. His rage increasing at the same rate as his fear, but neither stopped this onslaught.
That was over 30 years ago and i can still see that image. Today we call it bullying, no matter the label it is still assault. An assault to a persons dignity. Today, even in our city of Colorado Springs, this assault called bullying still occurs.
I opened my facebook account to see a post from this “victim” of over 30 years ago. He wrote about the pending 35 year reunion. He had mentioned that he has never gone to any of his high school reunions due to his fear of being bullied by the same people, even now close to 35 years later.
He has written about his inability to keep jobs. He has written openly about his inability to have relationships or even true friendships. He speaks of the pain he has due to never having children because his fears that stem from his many years of bullying has kept him from trusting enough to even date.
He remembers the names of those who bullied him. One in particular who made all of his school years unbearable. Even to the point of considering his own death. The relentless torture was so horrifying that he intentionally failed a class needed to graduate because he feared being bullied even on that day that should be an exciting one for all high school seniors.
He remembers the names of those who continuously bullied him. But he may not remember the name of another bully...Me. No, I wasn’t the one striking him, teasing him, or pulling his underwear up embarrassing him. But i was just as guilty and I didn’t even know it.
I was the bystander. No one told me that as a good person I should be an upstander and stand up for this person. I watched as teachers stood around, watched, laughed, and even encouraged this behavior. It was a different time then, but still we could have and should have been more kind.
Today, I am fortunate to speak around the world to thousands of children. I teach on topics that include this type of assault called bullying. My goal is to teach kids to be that upstander, put down that phone and stand up and say “Stop”. Be that one person who the guy in my past never had.
Those years of bullying still haunt him today. Those who bullied him have moved on. They may have voided their minds of what they did then. They may even have justified their actions as being “youthful” or “just playing”, but to the target of their wrath and yes it was wrath, he still suffers decades later.
Join us CFMAF Martial Arts in fighting Bullying. For us, it isn’t a single day focus, or a month with a title attached to it. Our Anti Bullying instruction is a part of our training curriculum. We reform those who bully, we build up those who have been bullied, we educate and protect those who could be the targets of bullies.
Lets help the kids of today to grow up with fond memories that help propel them positively forward into their futures, instead of living a nightmare that can trap them for a lifetime.