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Read Dear Bully letters from students

Dear bully

I was 14. You were both a year older. Every time you saw me for a year you told me I was ugly. Those were the only words you ever said to me – “You’re so ugly”. You could not have known my dad told me I was fat almost as frequently. I doubt you’d have cared. The first few times I shrugged it off, wondered what I might have done to upset you, even though I didn’t know you and we had never spoken. But the more you said it, the more it started to affect me, yet I never made the connection that what you were saying was what was changing how I felt. I had never given much thought to my face up until then. But suddenly I found myself getting ready to go out with my friends then looking in the mirror and crying because I believed I was really ugly. I didn’t want anyone to look at me. I felt ashamed of my face. I started comparing my features to those of my friends; it was almost an obsession. It was very painful.

Dear Bully

You were brought up in a conversation recently, and I was left dumbfounded by the influence you have. According to this other person, you are quite controlling and manipulative in their life and she told me you are the reason she’s taking a step back from our relationship. My gut reaction was to deny the claim that you were the reason things feel strained between us; after all, no one likes you and there hadn’t been any major offense between this woman and myself. It took some time for my mind to wrap around the reality that you truly were the one who had strategically placed the wedge and then began pounding away, driving her and I farther and farther from each other. Since I haven’t felt your trademark of overwhelming hopelessness, I suppose it would be easy for me to assume that we have just now met. But after this eye-opening conversation, I have come to the stark realization that much like the villain in a creepy, thriller movie you have been hovering by me for a very long time and have been leaving signs of your presence.prevent and respond to bullying.

Dear Bully

You weren't the first. The first were the girls in Year 4 who threw the contents of my school bag down the loo, and told the others at Friday Club that I was a bastard because my dad wasn't around. They were more cunning than you, I suppose. Especially for ten year olds. No, you came along in secondary school. You were blonde and pretty and all the boys knew you. I didn't know you. Not until we were wearing the same Miss Selfridge Chinese-style dress at the Year 7 disco. Was that it? Is that what made you torment and humiliate me for the next decade? Like the girls in Year 4, you set to work behind my back. Sometimes, literally. I'd turn around and there you were, mimicking me, pushing your hair to one side (a nervous habit of mine you'd picked up on). Or when I'd hear Mar-freaka, an impressive reimagining of my name down a corridor from your direction. If you'd been this creative in class, you might have passed a few more GCSEs #justsaying. Sometimes you'd be more sly. A nasty rumour would get back to me and you were always the source. Looking back, spreading rumours is perhaps just what some 14-year-old girls do. But you were still telling boys lies about me when we were 18 and in our local Wetherspoons. You just wouldn't let up.

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