Ann: Dealing with a bully
Year of birth: 2001
Dealing with a bully.
Taking in Nelly
When I was 13, my parents took in one of my female cousins, Nelly. She was 16 and needed to start secondary school education. She had recently joined a good secondary school, but got expelled after 2 terms because of “bad behaviour”. My parents then offered to take her in as she attended the secondary school nearby. It was a day school and Nelly would leave in the morning and return home in the evening just like I did. I was in Primary school then.
The first few weeks were okay. Nelly was kind, and polite and helped around the house. I loved having her around. The best part was that we shared a room (or so I thought!). As time passed, Nelly became more comfortable in school, and even made friends. My parents always followed up with her teachers to ensure she was still on track with schoolwork.
“Do you know how scary that is?”
Nelly started to make new friends, and she slowly began to change. She was mean to me and rude to my parents. She barely helped around the house and always told me to leave her alone. While alone in the room we shared, she called me abusive names. She would say that I was stupid, ugly, useless and all sorts of hurtful names. All this was unprovoked. I could be doing my homework and Nelly would come in, take away my pens, and even throw my book(s) in the trash. She would then threaten to hurt me if I dared tell my parents seriously. Things escalated, and she would occasionally hit or kick me wherever she felt like it. I was living with a bully, and sleeping in the same room as her. Do you know how scary that is?
I couldn’t sleep. I barely ate and was always in a bad mood. I wondered why my parents could not see what was happening. I could not tell them what was happening because of the threats I had been issued. My grades dropped because I could no longer study peacefully or peacefully complete my homework. I was angry at my parents because they always dismissed Nelly’s behaviour as “normal teenage behaviour”. So they always tried to understand her and accommodate her.
Confronting my bully
My teachers approached me one afternoon. I did not want to go outside to play with the other students. Mrs Mary was my favourite teacher; she was always warm and understanding. I told her that I didn’t feel like playing. She mentioned that I was doing badly in school and wanted to find out if all was well at home. I was hesitant to share with her, but she assured me that she would try and help me. I told her about Nelly, all the abuse and beatings I had been receiving from her, and how I could not tell my parents because she had threatened to hurt me and I was scared.
Mrs Mary hugged me and said she was sorry for all I was going through. She later arranged to meet my parents in school and we all had a meeting. She created a safe place for me to tell my parents what had ensued at home and they were very shocked! My parents apologized for not noticing sooner, and for not protecting me. I was glad I got a chance to tell them.
When we went home, mum called Nelly’s parents and explained what had happened. They were shocked and deeply sorry for her behaviour. Nelly was asked to leave the next day as her parents tried to find her a new school. She was also taken for counselling so that she and her parents could understand why she kept getting into trouble at school and home, and for Nelly to get support.
The physical and verbal abuse I experienced from Nelly negatively affected me, but things went back to normal with time after she left. The school was great again, I slept well, ate well, played with my friends and learnt to freely talk to my parents regardless of what other people tell me.