I survived a brutal assault by high school bullies when I was 13 and to this day, I continue to live with the painful emotional and physical wounds! I honestly don’t know why my parents didn’t take me to the doctor after the assault or a therapist to heal my emotional wounds and scars, but that’s not my main purpose for writing this painful story. I was friends with a girl in elementary school and we became very good friends who talked about and shared everything. We were like sisters and the only difference between us was that she was Hispanic and I’m Caucasian. But aside from that, we were two little girls who enjoyed spending time together, studying and giggling.
Then, we enrolled in high school and everything changed. We were now in a very large pond with many sharks and much to my horror, my then childhood friend turned into Mr. Hyde and became a gangster. I suddenly felt alone and scared and I had no one to talk to or confide in and I felt very scared and overwhelmed by high school. I was a shy petite bookworm whose only drug was studying, reading, comedy, and cuddling with the neighborhood dogs and cats who loved me. My parents divorced before I was 3 and I’m an only child. Life had become very difficult, stressful, and painful for me.
I did my best to survive day to day, getting through my classes and studying to the best of my ability. I was a loner and my only friends were a few deaf and hearing impaired students and my now best friend who I’d met in a special needs class. I was an underdog and I was best friends with all the underdogs at school, especially because I respected and understood them and I commiserated with them.
Halfway through the first school year, I was working hard to keep up with my classes and preparing and studying for some intense tests and the last thing I needed was bullies who insisted on interrupting that process, but sadly, that’s exactly what they did and studying had now become a choir. One afternoon, four girls approached me looking like what my Mom would refer to as they stepped out of “blackboard jungle”. They’d gone from clean cut and pretty to outright gangster in appearance and the mean blood in their eyes and the hatred they exuded alone scared me without their ever saying a word! We were on a break between classes and there were no teachers or administrators anywhere nearby and I didn’t know what to do. They threatened my life and assured me that they’d find me after school and if I didn’t show up, they’d make sure they’d find me and go after me! My entire body shuddered and I felt like the deer caught in the headlights and froze, unable to say anything. All I could do was mutter an “ok, uh huh” and they showed their fists, still looking menacing, and walked away.
That night, I was terrified and I told my Mom and she was equally terrified for me and didn’t know what to do so she advised me the best way she could and knew how. She told me to talk to the principal. At first, it sounded like a good idea at the time, though deep down inside, it didn’t feel right and I already regretted doing it, even beforehand. I nervously talked to the principal and much to my horror, she told me to stay there and wait and five minutes later, she walked in with the very same girls who threatened me! I could feel the tears welling up inside me and I wanted to die, disappear, or leave my body. I witnessed her interrogating and reprimanding them, asking them to confirm what I said. I don’t remember how they responded to her, but we all left her office and they cornered me and threatened me again. I was going to be punished for telling the principal about their threat and I was going to “get it big time!”
The afternoon of the assault was one of the worst days of my life. I dreaded going to school and I feigned being sick to avoid it. During lunch, the girls cornered me and insisted that it was time I became an aggressive hostile gangster and fight like them. I was beginning to see the many reasons they hated me and I was growing more scared of them everyday, every minute. At first, I agreed because, I was naive and thought they’d be happy with my saying it and they’d leave me alone, but no such luck. They wanted me to act on it and they threatened me that if I didn’t taunt and harass the very underdog kids I befriended and make them miserable, then I’d really be dead. I panicked and freaked out and stammered and tried to walk away from them. To my horror, they followed me and taunted and harassed me and chased me all the way to the school gate where I usually waited for my Mom to pick me up after school.
It’s a good thing I always wore good walking shoes because I found myself running, trying to get away from them, but to no avail. My arms were heavy with books, my notebook, my purse, and my tote bag, and I was becoming winded and breathless. There were six girls and they were becoming increasingly angry, hostile, and aggressive by the minute. I begged and pleaded with them to just leave me alone and forget about me and let me go home in peace, but that just made them angrier and they cackled a severe wicked laugh with a very wicked evil smirk.
They led me down the street to a secluded alleyway in the neighborhood, where they knew no one would find me or hear anything. Half the time, I felt like I was somewhere else mentally and I was looking down at my body and the scene, in total disbelief of what was happening. I was terrified for my life and I was beginning to see my whole life flash before my eyes and I wondered if I was going to die that night. As they led me down the street, looking for the best hiding spot, they harassed and taunted me as I carried my heavy school stuff and shoved and pushed me and cackled, comparing notes with each other at how wimpy and pathetic I was. They shoved me down into the street and I managed to land on the heels of my hands. One of the bullies stopped to pick up a dirty used kleenex off the street that was covered in blood to give to me to clean my hands and threw it at me and shoved it in my face and asked me if it was mine and if I was on my period. I felt like I was going to be sick and I muttered with a whimper, “no”.
Finally, we arrived at their desired hiding spot and they cornered me against a brick wall. My belongings fell on the ground and my entire body shuddered and I could feel my heart rate racing and then slowing down and tears silently streamed down my face. I silently prayed that this would end soon, or I would disappear, or something would happen to these girls, or an Angel would come and rescue me. I continued to plea with them to stop and leave me alone and let me be, but closed my eyes, realizing that I was just egging them on.
They took turns punching me with all their might in the stomach until I lunged forward feeling like I was going to die and I moaned and grunted in severe horrible pain. They sarcastically asked me how I was doing and confused and shocked by their ridiculous question, I looked up at them and they cackled and punched me in the stomach even harder. I felt like I was going to collapse, pass out, or die! They pulled my hair and then took turns punching me with all their might in my jaw and I could literally feel my jaw shifting back and forth from left to right, being dislocated. At this point, I just wanted to die or disappear!
Then, for one moment, we were all distracted when I saw a boy walk down the street and I felt relieved to see another human being. I pepped up and felt happy when I recognized him as a mutual friend of a very dear special friend of mine. I called him and said hello to him. He paused for a moment and looked to see who called him and then, he recognized me. He then noticed the strange scene and saw who was with me and showed immediate concern. He said hello back and asked me if I was okay. The bullies hissed at me to tell him I’m fine and I’ll see him later and they each held a strong hard fist to my stomach, head, and back, and prepared to beat me up even more if I said the wrong thing. With a grunted whimper, I assured him I was okay and he waved and said he’d see me later. My heart sank, especially because I wondered if I’d come out of this alive and if I’d ever see my friends again.
Strangely enough, the bullies became bored and decided to stop assaulting me. They felt I’d had enough and it was time for me to run along to Mommy and go home. As I collected my belongings, they continued to harass, taunt, and threaten me, and cackled at me as I hobbled down the street, on my way home. My vision was blurred, my clothes were torn, my hair was a mess, my mouth was bloody and I was unable to move, and shook and trembled from head to foot, and sobbed uncontrollably.
I arrived at the front door and looked around to make sure I was indeed alone. I used my key to unlock the door with very shaky hands, opened the door, and threw my stuff on the floor, slammed and locked the door, and slumped down and sobbed for what felt like an eternity! I could not believe what had just happened to me and I felt more alone than I ever did in my entire life! I used the bathroom, drank a glass of water, and hobbled to the phone to call my Mom at work. I screamed and cried as I desperately tried to tell her what happened and she could barely understand me, but she was mortified by what I was telling her and I begged her to come home and be with me because I didn’t want to be alone! I was terrified to be alone and I desperately needed company! I then called my Uncle and told him the same thing, and both of them were in complete shock over what I was telling them!
A few hours later, it was dark, and I was so relieved that my Mom came home. She made some hot tea for me and put me in the bathtub to soak and relax. I sobbed for hours and we were both afraid I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Unfortunately, I blocked out some of what happened that night so I don’t remember what happened after I soaked in the tub, but I remember crying so much and feeling miserable.
The days that followed the assault were equally as miserable and I lived with dread. I feigned being sick so I could avoid going back to school. I feared for my life everyday and I didn’t know what to do. The bullies continued to harass me. They called me and said, “your [bleep] is grass”. After a few days, I realized that I had no choice, but to return to school, and I couldn’t avoid it forever, so I did what I could to pull myself together and go to school.
To my chagrin and horror, when I think back now in the year 2010, I can’t believe I wasn’t taken to the doctor to be checked out and the police were never called; there was never a police report filed. To the best of my recollection, one girl was sent to juvenile hall and I have no idea what happened to the others, except that they were transferred to other high schools in the same city.
I have had to relive that horrifying horrible day everyday for 20 years and every time I share it, I feel physically ill and miserable! I can barely share it without crying.
I recently heard a tragic story on 20/20 about a sweet shy boy who suffered from Asperger’s Disorder and was bullied horribly in school by kids who hated him and harassed him because they didn’t understand the boy’s painful condition. The end result was a tragic discovery by the parents, when they walked in to their son’s bedroom to find that he’d hung himself by a belt! They were devastated and their hearts were shattered and this is not the first time I’ve heard a tragic account of this nature. Six months ago, I read a story about a cute sweet shy girl whose family emigrated from Ireland and she attended an American school and the first week of her being a student, bullies made her life a living hell, absolutely miserable, just because she was different and Irish and the same end result; tragic suicide!
I personally have a very low opinion of public school and I see that bullying has severely worsened since the day of my assault. Parents, this is my sincere heartfelt message to you. If you have to send your kids to public school, it is up to you to pay attention to your kids and be aware of what is going on in their life. If your children are different in any way – shy, autistic, have special needs or disabilities – then, it is very important that you pay extra attention to your children and communicate and talk with them. The world can be very cruel, painful, and stressful for kids, especially those who have special needs and are painfully shy with low self-esteem. It is very important that you be there for them as nurturing parents and be their friends. I speak from personal experience when I say that a dysfunctional home and being bullied in school is a lethal combination that needs to be nipped in the bud immediately!