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  • Sarah Swindell

The B Word


I think we probably all have seen by now on Facebook or on the news, the school bus video of the small boy begging the driver to not make him get off the bus.


I almost could not bear to watch him sobbing as he pleaded with the driver to protect him from the bullies waiting like vultures outside the bus ready with clinched fists to beat him up the moment he stepped off.


For reasons I will never understand, the driver made this child get off the bus and the boy was devoured by flying punches and kicks to his tiny body as he lay curled up on the ground. The bus driver should be punished just as much as the boys that participated in the beating.


If there is one thing that really gets under my skin, it is a bully. Especially when it is done to children and teenagers.They come in many shapes and sizes and terrorize their chosen victims in many different ways. Yes, the physical way like what was done to that sweet boy on the bus is horrible and inexcusable, but sometimes the non-physical actions of the bully can be just as painful as a fist. Fear and humiliation that victims feel from their tormentors are real and can last a lifetime.


One of my own daughter's was bullied for a time in high school and felt that fear and humiliation first hand herself. It was so bad for a while that she asked the school security guard to walk with her between classes and to her car because she was so scared about what they might do to her. She would sit in the bathroom for entire periods, or skip school altogether to avoid contact with these girls that for no reason at all, had it out for her. No matter how much we spoke to the school, it never stopped and nothing was ever done to the girls.


I have written in my book about my own experience with bullies in high school before the word bully even got the attention that it does now. I had food thrown at my face and had degrading things keyed into my car. Horrible words would be painted in shoe polish so often that I kept a jug of water and a towel in my car at all times so I could quickly wash it off before anyone would notice.


My whole Sophomore year of high school I was constantly filled with fear of what might happen that day, and the next, and the next. It wasn't until those girls graduated that I felt like I could breathe again.


My daughter and I both can say now that what happened to us in the past made us more into loving and accepting adults. We are very conscious of not hurting someone's feelings and aware if someone we know might be feeling down or alone. But the damage was absolutely done and has played out in not so subtle ways over the years, and in various forms.


I think bullies seek people that are easy to break and we all can agree it is because they feel bad about themselves for some reason. Not that it makes it any better or easier to understand when it is happening to you, all you know at the time is how scared and humiliated you feel 24/7. Women are the worst I feel for some reason. It's like some women love to tear other women down no matter what age they are, or where they are in life. Why is this?


This was definitely apparent even in the world of Major League Baseball among the wives. While most of the women were wonderful and I am friends with many of them to this day, there was always one or two on each team that went out of their way to make someone's life miserable. Many wives have privately reached out to me telling me about their own experiences with some of these women, and how negatively they affected their lives.


I often wonder if any of these women have any regrets about being such a bad part of someone's life, or if they even realized how much they hurt people at all. Moral of the story? Be kind and just simply follow The Golden Rule, it's that simple. Otherwise, you might end up being in someone's book someday!



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