google Tags: abusei dont think ive ever met someone else whose childhood abuse came from their classmates in school, the neighborhood kids, and just their peers in general. perhaps thats why it took me a while to recognize those situations as genuine abuse. certainly society doesnt recognize that kind of thing as abuse. only recently has schoolyard bullying gotten any attention, and that only because someone got a gun. even then the shooters have all been branded as the villain. well, yeah, some of them have been. some of them have been psychotic or whatever. its kind of hard to know for sure when they all end up dead as well.
but this isnt about shooting people at school, or work, or any other place. its not even about bullying. thats only part of the larger picture. what i endured was way more than bullying. bullies tend to be kind of obvious, because there is physical violence involved.
but what about torment? for the seven years i went to st peters grade school in portland i was tormented by nearly the entire class of kids in my grade. it wasnt the overt kind of teasing and laughing at that gets noticed by those in charge. it was the subtle day to day exchanges that, when directed to me, were filled with such vehement disgust, disdain, and contempt. there was no apparent reason for this attitude towards me. i was the same color, size, and background as the rest of the school. i was the same religion, as it was a catholic school. i was from the same general financial class. and yet i was singled out from sometime during the first grade as not being good enough to be part of the whole. so i was made the object of ridicule. sometimes a few of the other kids would act as my friends for a few days, only to publicly humiliate me in the presence of some of the others once my guard was down a little. at recess the team leaders would literally argue over who got stuck with me on their team. even though i wasnt any worse player than any other. when i came to my mother with this, she always said the same thing, ‘youre too bossy’. so it was my fault, in her opinion. she hadnt thought it out, because it was the more bossy of the kids who were revered by the others. she simply threw it out there as a blanket answer for something she had no tools for dealing with. she certainly never went to bat for me. maybe the fact that she was chased home with rocks and called ‘cat licker’ when she was in school, for being a catholic in a protestant school. certainly catholic children couldnt be at fault, so it must be my own fault somehow. right.
i didnt fare much better with the kids in my neighborhood. what few there were. my next door neighbor was friendly part of the time. then she would turn on me as if i had leprosy with no warning, refusing to associate with me. always with that air of disdain. especially if she had someone else to play with. her mother had her in so many activities she rarely had time except on weekends anyway. i was usually her down time.
i met with similar attitudes from my own cousins when they came to visit from out of state.
when a child is abused by adults, everyone agrees that its not the childs fault. but when a child is the scorn of her own peers, no one seems to question why this might be happening. the child is simply told its her own fault somehow. at least i was.