Jun Dishes

verb/diSH/ : food or sex or gossip or fiction in real life

Stop Little Bullies

I created a Top 10 Tips list for an “Anti-Bullying Week” movement that happened in November, two years ago. This list was intended for those being bullied, or needing some tips to provide to someone being bullied. I’m not an expert in the subject matter, but I was bullied for enough school years that I developed my own plan of action whenever I got into a situation.

AnitBullying

 

 

Today, I was waiting at the bus stop to catch my bus home right around the time schools let out here.

3:30pm.

I didn’t have little Noah with me, because I’d visited my dentist and needed to run some errands. I’m glad Noah wasn’t with me because there was chaos at my bus stop once the bells rang at a grade school across the street. Children filed out two-by-two and then went their separate ways to their awaiting parents or bicycles, and some to the bus stop I was waiting at.

It was loud and I felt old for thinking it was loud. Kids were running around and pouncing on each other, and then I heard screaming “Stop! Stop!”

In Dutch, the “o” is pronounced a little differently than it is in English but I knew I was hearing a cry for help. I turned and saw a young girl being taunted by a group of young boys, from the other side of the glass partition at the bus stop. They were all around the same age but the girl was clearly outnumbered and out-powered and crying. It wasn’t a one-on-one situation of “kids will be kids” but obvious bullying. The little girl cowered like it was nothing new, and she was clutching a pink cell phone. The boys were pounding and kicking on the glass partition screaming at her, and she was trying to ignore them through welling tears and occasionally yelling back at them.

I watched dumbfounded and just as I was about to pound on the glass to make the group leave, they came around the partition and surrounded the little girl. My tongue became twisted and all my learned Dutch failed me when I needed it the most.

“Wat’s jouw probleem?!” I yelled at the boys.

What’s your problem was all I could come up with after living here more than two years. It didn’t matter because I scared the shit out of those boys and they scattered. There’s a part of me that knows it was probably my crooked-numb novocaine mouth that really scared them. I hate numb mouth.

The boys didn’t return because they clearly didn’t need to take the bus in the first place. They probably lived close enough by the school, to torment children at the bus stops every day at 3:30pm. Immediately I thought maybe I’d made things worse for the little girl, and the boys would get back at her anyway, but I knew I’d done the right thing when she leaned on my hip. I pat her head and put my arm around her and she cried. I cried too, and I couldn’t even stop myself anyway because of course I’m PMSing. The whole thing was pretty emotional for both of us, but I still can’t get over how truly bad I felt for her.

I realized it’s the first time I’ve actually stopped little bullies, mini-bullies really, who could grow up to be a bigger bully later and so on. They’re just kids right now, and kids can be stopped. Looking back when I was younger, and bullied, I didn’t always need an adult to step in and help. Sometimes I learned how to better deal with the bully the next time, or how to avoid them better. Most of my bullies insisted I was Chinese, and because of my small frame I was an easy target. Sometimes I learned nothing except pain and the reality that nobody cared if I was Korean except me and my parents.

I will say though that sometimes I could have used an adult to step in when I was outnumbered. One time I was outnumbered by bullies, with adults around,  I ended up being knocked so hard in the eye that I blacked out and fell backwards onto icy concrete. Adults are pretty much on their own when it comes to bullies, in life or online. Children shouldn’t be on their own so much anymore. They shouldn’t.

There were six other adults at the bus stop with me today, and three of them had their children straight from the same school these bullies shared. Nobody did a thing and I get it, but I don’t get it. I wrote those 10 tips above and I stick by them, but here’s one last tip…

For adults:

If you see a child being bullied, then stop the bully and assess the situation.

Please and thank you.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

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17 comments

  • Thank you Jun.

    For stopping the bullies, for writing about this continuing problem world-wide. We, as adults, have to step in whether we know the child or not. I’m sad that none of the parents present with their children attempted to stop them. This would have been a perfect life lesson for those children. There is never an excuse to ignore or turn your back on abuse.

    That little girl will probably remember you and how you helped her for the rest of her life. She, in turn, will probably be you one day and another child will be thankful.

    xo

  • I was bullied through school as well, kindergarten right into college. For me, some of the worst times weren’t when the adults (teachers) saw it and ignored it, it was when the adults joined in. (This was a different time, long before school shootings.)

    While the school shootings were a horrible thing, at least they made schools take bullying more seriously. My childhood was hell. I was teased all day, every day. No child should have to go through that. (My sin? The reason I was bullied? I enjoyed learning and spent my free time between classes reading.)

    I’m glad you stepped in and helped that little girl. It was brave of you, especially in a place where it wasn’t your first language and you were at the disadvantage of having a numb mouth.

  • Stephanie soper on September 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm said:

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    I had something similar happen to me 2 years ago. I was driving to pick up my littles, and I saw a child get pushed and flipped over another child’s back. It wasn’t until I got closer that I realized it was the son of a friend. I stopped my car and since he knew me, he got in and stayed with me, and I drove him home. Seeing that was horrible, and I can’t imagine how it could have escalated if I hadn’t stopped. No one else did, one car honked at them, but just kept going. I’ll never understand how people can not intervene when they see these things.

  • Thank you for sharing, Jun. That little girl and her parents must be so thankful that you were there. I’m sure that meant so much to her and she’ll never forget you or what you did today. I’ve never forgotten the people who stood up for me when I was being taunted in school. Love you.

  • Dana Goodyear on September 9, 2013 at 9:14 pm said:

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    you probably made an impact on that little girl you will never know about. Good for you Jun! You are a superhero in that little girls eyes

  • Shannon Drew on September 10, 2013 at 1:34 am said:

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    People need to step up more. I can’t live with myself if I didn’t say something myself,call someone or alert someone. It hurts my heart how many kids are bullied & feel bad about themselves. Great job Jun!!

  • I learned 30 years after high school that I’d stepped in when a classmate was being bullied. I had zero recollection of it but my friend that I helped that day never forgot it.

    You made a difference in that little girl’s life today, one she won’t forget.

  • Daniel Quick on September 10, 2013 at 3:31 am said:

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    You definitely did the right thing. I couldn’t stand by and watch a child get bullied. I don’t understand anyone just doing nothing, especially a parent.

  • way to go !! we are proud off you . ik mag er niet aan denken dat iemand noah dat zou aandoen , en ook voor andere kinderen natuurlijk ! we love you , omi

  • Jun,

    Thank you for this post. It brought tears to my eyes that you helped that little girl when no one else did.

    I was bullied pretty badly growing up, especially in the second half of primary school and middle school because my mother passed away and no one took care of me. The bullying became so out of control that I had to switch from a public school to a ridiculously exorbitantly priced private one all the way across town. For many years, it damaged my self esteem and made me very insecure. Now, whenever I see someone bullied, I always stand up for them, even if I get up getting dragged into it. (I very nearly filed a sexual harassment suit at university against a group of boys living on my floor when I stood up for another girl who was getting bullied.)

    I know you’re not watching BB anymore this season, but this post is so critical to what’s been going on in BB, especially with the Mean Girls treating Candice like filth. The only one who stood up for her was Elissa, and she has been bashed continuously by all sides for defending herself and Candice. Even Helen made remarks about Candice’s skin colour and background, despite her being a minority. GM called everyone in the jury house late last week “biracial robots” (it was targeted at Candice primarily).

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for the post and I look forward to more of your posts. =)

  • Kelly banes on September 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm said:

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    Bullying makes me so mad. I have never understood how hurting someone or making someone feel bad, makes one feel better about themselves.
    I’m proud of you for sticking up for that little girl. My boys have made me very proud numerous times, when they came home from school and told me they stuck up for someone that was being bullied. Even if it made them a target.
    I don’t think enough parents teach the golden rule of treating others as they want to be treated. I honestly feel that if more people lived by that rule the world would be a better place.
    I love your blogs Jun, keep up the good work! :)

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