In September 2012 I began my first day of secondary school. I was excited to meet different students, see new teachers and above all make new friends.
My morning was going great until I entered my new classroom and saw girls whom I knew very well because they used to bully me at primary school. My fear of school resurfaced. All the bad memories of being bullied rushed back.
I am now 18 years old. Bullying is a topic that is very dear to my heart, so I would like to share my journey through this tough time with you.
It Starts Young
Since the age of ten, I have been a victim of bullying. It occurred continuously for four whole years (two years in primary school and two in secondary). The bullying started off with small groups forming of girls in my class, leaving me out. Day by day, it started to get worse.
Entering class, the girls had already positioned themselves into seats. I would ask: “Who will sit next to me?” They would say: “No, we’re not sitting next to her…” to each other. This happened almost everyday. During break and lunchtimes, little groups were always formed, always leaving me out.
I realized after a while that they didn’t want to be around me because for them I was just a “prissy sensitive girl.” I wasn’t someone who always spoke about boy bands, music, movies or trash talked so that a dirty joking could form a bit of banter. One day, one of the girls in my class decided to explain to me how my parents had me and my five siblings.
She joked that “…oh your parents have done it six times!” She told another girl to open up the dictionary and show me the meaning of this “act” while bystanders laughed.
The other girls joked “We have now broken her innocence” as they watched my face go paler and paler. The sad thing was that all of this took place in a mosque, where salah (prayer) was performed on a regular basis, as my school was on top of this building.
Creating Doubts in My Faith
My mum thought that she would never have to tell me about the talk so early in my childhood. Knowing all the parents and teachers in the school, she trusted everyone there. She never considered that by sending her daughter to an all Islamic girls school I could be exposed to any of this.
I was constantly in doubt and confused as I wasn’t able to fully comprehend if this was the same religion my parents always taught me about.
Telling them what they were talking about was wrong was useless. I would also tell the teachers when I was upset, but the girls would say “She is too sensitive and weak.”
I was a goody-two-shoes to them. Sadly, the teachers never understood what I was going through. Eventually, it led me to feel betrayed and to an extent even bullied by the teachers’ comments. I was told by one teacher to “Grow up…”
Starting to believe I was in the wrong place, I thought that there was no point in fighting anymore. I wouldn’t be heard, instead, I would be blamed. I felt as if I was a burden to the teachers. Finally, I thought to myself if I can’t beat them, I’ll join them.
I Tried A New, Horrible Approach
I slowly started to become a part of the girls’ group; doing all the things they wanted me to. Giving importance to things that were never before important to me, I was becoming someone I never wanted to be.
Slowly, I started to hate school. My days were never happy. I was nervous all the time. My anxiety worsened and never felt like I was a part of my class.
I knew that they would never accept me no matter what I did, they would put on a friendly act in front of teachers, and talk behind my back once the teachers leave. They used me as a scapegoat whenever they wanted too.
All of this led to behavioral changes. I was constantly crying when I was alone in my room, always thinking about the way I was always treated. I had extreme depression and many mood swings around my family. The bullying led me to stop eating well. Those cruel words, disapproving faces, attitudes, bitterness, lying and betrayal from the girls were always with me. The bullying was slowly eating me up.
After having regular conversations with my parents about my issues at school, I decided to ask Allah (SWT) to help me decide as to what I should do with my education. During the following weeks, my parents and I decided that the best thing for me to do was to be homeschooled. This seemed like my only option. I was a little shaky and a bit hesitant to go forward with such a thing, yet it seemed like it was the right thing to do.
Now, with Allah’s mercy, I am 18 years old, enjoying home-schooling with my siblings and not being pressured by fellow peers and teachers.
I would like to humbly advise those who experience any form of bullying to never feel they cannot talk to anyone. The first thing you should do is speak up!
Always maintain a good relationship with your parents and loved ones so that you can speak about your worries with them.
And above all, build a strong relationship with Allah (SWT). He is your creator and He knows you better than anyone. If “He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” As Allah so beautifully says in the Quran:
“Verily after every hardship comes ease” (Al-Inshirah 94:5)
I pray Allah (SWT) helps those of you who are experiencing any form of bullying. May Allah give you the strength and ability to make the right decisions and get you through it. Ameen.