To the Editor:
I want to talk of past events that fear, shame and childhood innocence prevented me from ever voicing.
In elementary school, two male bullies took a “liking” to me. They began sexually harassing my friend and me relentlessly and touched us inappropriately. My friend ignored them, so they ceased bothering her. I, on the other hand, pleaded tearfully for them to stop – this only made them laugh and continue.
They said if I told anyone, they would kill me. They called my home, and my parents couldn’t figure out why I shut down and trembled.
I ask, what can a child do in a daily sadistic, life-threatening and abusive experience at school? I ceased talking, cut off my hair and got the most unattractive glasses possible. This was “hiding.” My family questioned my extreme change in behavior, but I’d remain silent.
I made no eye contact with others and became what I previously deemed a geek. My classmates made fun of my weirdness, but I feared the bullies and felt I had no choice. Despite these horrific years, I eventually became “normal” (the boys had moved) but still kept silent.
I did well academically and socially, graduated from college, and have a great career. But the fact remains these bullies took from me a carefree childhood.
To anyone who suspects he or she is being bullied, please confide in one you trust. No one has the right to rob you of who you truly are and who you aspire to be.
Amy Astrid Adams