Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

I Was a Victim of Bullying

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

I Was a Victim of Bullying

Article excerpt

Thirty years ago, I was bullied at school. It lasted for years and the teachers never knew a thing. The odd thing was, neither did I. I don't mean drubbings in the tuck cupboard, or roastings, or anything so gaudy. It was far more discreet.

I was an anxious, awkward adolescent, studious and often solitary. I liked disco and role-playing and computers and drawing comics and, frankly, even I'm amazed that I ever managed to get married. I went to a good school where bad behaviour was rare, but because I was a goofy eccentric, a certain category of inmate (some boys, some girls, spread throughout classes so escape was rare) decided I was going to be the punchbag in their little theatre of cruelty.

The bullying took a variety of forms. The most common was name-calling and intimidation: slurs and slights about anything that occurred to their limited repertoire. My being a "poofter" was a common theme, as was my fondness for study being a latent form of extreme perversion. It was perfectly usual to sit in a lesson and be passed notes telling me what a wanker I was. Some corridors I avoided because I knew they would be gauntlets.

Then there was what I would call passive torture: hair pulling (I sported an Adam Faith-style barnet of some luxury - google him), ear twisting and, most memorably, being spat on every now and again, usually full in the face. Never was I actually punched in the head or anything. I think that's why I never spotted the clues.

You see, this was a routine occurrence for me. …

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