Interview by Dana Jacoviello
It is a sad thing to have to say when people are so afraid to speak out on their experiences for fear of judgement or shame. The bullying stories can often lead to more bullying, but if we do not fight that fear, we are not able to help anybody else see that is OK to stand up for yourself. It is OK to speak out. It is at times we lose people for these reasons.
No matter what the age, bullying is a serious epidemic that does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it might even be getting worse as technology continues to provide more high-tech resources for bullying, shaming, or being hateful.
It is something that needs much more attention, and by sharing stories and hearing all the voices stand up and speak out, we are creating change. Little by little and one by one, we will create a call to action.
We recently had the pleasure in speaking with one of our followers and supporters who wanted to share her story. Meet a very brave and strong young woman (who chooses to stay anonymous), who would like you to know a bit more about her journey and how she has not given up on her dreams.
Dana Jacoviello: In learning a bit about you first, I know you were first bullied in college after moving to a different country. Before we go into that, was this the first time you ever encountered bullying or hate in your life?
Anonymous: No it definitely wasn’t. I was bullied in primary school as well. But I was like 9, and even though it was horrible as well, you picture the world more colorful when you are younger. I think you don’t get as affected because if you have a good environment as child, like family, you have a great supporting system.
DJ: Let’s discuss what happened to you in college that prompted you to want to speak out and share your personal story?
Anonymous: The last months were an experience I never want to experience again. If that makes sense. In my business is a lot of hate. Everyone wants to outshine the other. That is exhausting, but it what most artist do. The thing is there is always a border, and when you overstep this border that’s when it gets really ugly. And that is what was happening to me. I would have loved to have someone to tell me it’s going to be alright because they were in the situation and not just because they feel obligated to say it. So I really hope I can help people with my story by sharing my experiences.
DJ: Some feel that being an adult and bullied is not as detrimental to ones being because it is easier to handle or you have built a thick skin, unlike a child. What are you thoughts on this? Do you feel age has anything to do with the level of bullying one endures, or there is less help because people do not take adult bullying or hate as serious as it should be taken?
Anonymous: That is a really good question. I think society cares more about hate on children because they are cute and innocent. They can’t fight back. What we often forget is that adults are much more aware of what is happening and it sticks in your head. Where as child you get upset and you cry, but you don’t necessarily understand what it’s supposed to mean. Someone will come and help you up again. Nevertheless, I think as an adult you should be able to speak up for yourself and tell people if you feel bullied. It is also important to build a thick skin. Lots of people are simply mean and rude, and that is something you have to deal with your whole life.
DJ: Changing it a bit from the last question. Do you feel there is less attention focused on adult bullying?
Anonymous: I think out there are a lot of helping hotlines for victims of bullying. But that’s not always the point is it? To talk to some stranger on the phone. You want to be taken serious by your environment, and you want respect. Well that’s what I wanted, and I didn’t get it because no one cared and thought I`m making stuff up. So yes, people are less aware of their environment nowadays and often tell you as an adult you need to find a way on your own.
DJ: It seems as though every authority figure you went to for help in your situation blew it off. Did you have a support system to go to such as family or friends that offered any advice on what to do?
Anonymous: My family and friends sadly were in Germany. They always listen to me on the phone, but they said stuff like: “I understand you I know it is hard”. That didn’t help back then because I think no one can really understand unless you are in the same situation. Don’t get me wrong. They are great and a big help, especially when I had my surgery back home, but I was alone here. I felt … crazy and stupid. Every authority person made me believe I`m making stuff up and it is not that bad. And that was horrible.
DJ: Teachers and bosses should be like a safe haven for adults when we need to go to them for help, but it seems to be quite the opposite at times, and a bigger problem than many realize. Why do you believe they treated you the way they did in not believing you? Do you feel it all stemmed from being a foreigner in another country?
Anonymous: Hm. I don’t think it was because I am foreign. I just think most people have a really small mind, and they create this bubble around them so they can feel comfortable and everything outside this bubble is not existent. It was their own ignorance and arrogance. If you think about it is sadder for them than for me.
DJ: How did everything turn out in the end for you, and how did the experience leave you when it was all said and done? Did you ever confront the people who bullied you or led you into thinking it was all in your head?
Anonymous: Not the way I would have liked to do it, but yes I did. First of all I have to say that I forgave them. Not for them, for me. I realized I can’t heal when I am full of hate. So I tried to let the hate go even though the pain is still deep. And I will never forget what happened. I think it was a hard but maybe necessary way to grow up. It taught me a lot, and I hope I won’t lose my new confidence I got from it. I can’t respect these people as my teachers anymore. That’s a dangerous thing, because it leads you to saying inappropriate things from time to time. But maybe that’s what they need. I just try to never be disrespectful, because then I wouldn’t be any better than them.
DJ: Is there anything you would like to add or any words of advice you would like to share with others out there?
Anonymous: Indeed there is. Always believe yourself first. It is so unimportant what everyone else tells you. Listen to your own body, and if you have the feeling something is off then something is off. Never get too occupied by the opinion of others. At the end of the day, they don’t matter. It is only you. And if you are happy, that’s perfect.
The interviewee chose to stay anonymous for personal reasons. We have respected her wishes, but she did still want to share her story with you all to know there is always hope…