A Blow Against Bullies

July 1, 2012

When I was 14, my school life was fairly standard.
It was all hormones, math teachers with comb overs, impossible crushes and secret ciggies behind the bike shed.
I was on the outskirts of the ‘in-crowd’ and all in all, school was ok……until a slight against the wrong girls flipped it upside down and I was made a pariah.

Like a snowball down a mountain, one by one my ‘friends’ shunned me, and I was receiving threats of violence and worse. It’s not so much that I was fearing the threats, but I was devastated that seemingly everyone hated me, and my world was shattered…. also, I really didn’t want to get my hair pulled or my face scratched.
After a stressful two weeks of harassment, my self esteem was in tatters and I was in tears all time. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep.

It wasn’t just harmless school yard taunting, it was bullying.

I went to school one morning and was rounded upon by a couple of girls who began to verbally abuse and harass me. I pushed one of them. Hard. She fell into a brick wall and I ran. I grabbed my bag, I ran to the office and I made them call my mum to come and get me.
In the front seat of Mum’s car, I swore to never go back to that school, and thankfully, my mum didn’t force me to. I started at another school the following week.
It wasn’t a massive town and soon word spread. Kids knew each other and it didn’t take long for them to find me. I started to receive death-threat letters and the staunchest chick in my new school just happened to be friends with one of my old aggressors. She told me if I came to school the following day she would kick the crap out of me.
What 14 year old girl wants to fight for her place in the clique? I didn’t. Beyond tussling with my brother, I wasn’t a fighter.

I couldn’t run again. There was nowhere else to go.

That night I thought it would be easiest just to end it. I couldn’t imagine that one day I would be miles away from this bullshit and it would seem so inconsequential. I looked through the bathroom cupboards to find pills to take, but all there was was some Disprin, Band Aids, Calomine Lotion, ear buds and an epilator. I don’t think even MacGyver could harm himself with that lot.

So, I went to school. I faced her.
We were surrounded by a group of people ‘cos word of an impending fight spreads fast at school. She shaped up to me, and I looked her in the eye. My heart was racing like a steam train, and 14-year-old me was terrified.
“I told you not to come back”
She stared me down with narrowed eyes, moving closer. My stomach was clenched tight and I thought I might wet my pants.
“Can we talk? Just you and me?”
Grammar was never my strong suit.
Thankfully, she said yes, and I finally got a chance to tell my side of the story. That day that girl became my greatest ally and she didn’t let anyone else harass me again.

What if she hadn’t become my ally? What if she did smack me in my braces covered teeth?
What if there was a bottle of pills in the bathroom that day?
I don’t know the answer to those questions, but that’s how it happens. I only experienced that one, relatively short incident of bullying, but some kids are subjected to it every day of their school life.
With shocking statistics like 1 in 4 children suffering at the hands of bullies, and an estimated 200 million children word wide being bullied, bullying occurs in epidemic proportions. The trajectory from bullying to depression, suicidal thoughts or actions is positively shocking.

When creative and author, Galvin Scott Davis’, son came home from school and told him he was being bullied, Galvin knew he had to do something about it. As the director of Protein One, Galvin called upon his creative skill to come up with solutions to this burgeoning issue.
Hence, the Dandelion story was born.

Bullying now goes so much further than the school yard. With the advent of technology and social media, our children are bringing their bullying into the home. Rather than take the traditional approach, Galvin invented a story to encourage a discussion between Father and Son about what makes a bully and how you can use your creativity to avoid them. Fighting fire with fire, Galvin is using this same technology, teamed with smarts, to arm children against their tormentors.

The story follows Benjamin Brewster as he navigates his way around ‘The School for the Misguided’ and its resident bullies. With no one to turn to, a patch of Dandelions appear beside Benjamin which allow him to conjure creations from his imagination and use them to fend off the antagonists.
The moral of the story is that “Bullying is for people with no imagination”.
The story encourages children to embrace creativity to deal with bullying. Dandelion encourages discussion between parents and children that are dealing with this terrible social problem.
Using new super dooper, wizz-bang technology, you can actually blow the dandelion across your iPad making it an great interactive app for kids.

You can ‘pledge’ to the project to help it reach its goal for completion funding.
In return, you will recieve amazing rewards such as signed copies of the book, the iPad App with your name in the credits, decals, anti-bullying wristbands, limited-edition signed prints and more.

You can visit the link below to view a video of the amazing and original ‘Dandelion’ experience. Check it out. This link will also get you through to the Kickstarter site (Kickstarter is the creative crowd-funding website, subject of many recent online success stories) :
We will never eradicate bullying, but by supporting projects like The Dandelion Project we can give out children the tools required to cope, should the need arise.

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  • Reply Sleeping Should Be Easy July 2, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Wow… thank you for your honest story.

    The closest I came to being a potential bully victim was when a girl who was part of my group in fourth grade decided that we weren’t friends anymore. Thankfully I stood my ground and basically didn’t give a s*** what she thought, and I guess others thought that was cool of me to actually stand up to her. Others banded around me and that girl had no choice but to befriend me again.

    Another incident was in 6th grade when a boy was making fun of me during recess at a baseball game. He was saying he was going to beat me up and was even walking towards me but again I stood my ground, and he backed off claiming he doesn’t hit girls.

    Thankfully these were in hindsight minor incidents and not an extended period of time (although that fourth grade girl did make me want to switch schools). I can’t bear to think that kids go through this on a daily basis, and the sad thing is that it happens all the time.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

      It can be terrible for some kids……I guess some adults too. Bullying doesn’t always stop at school. Definitely something to keep an eye out for. Also, imagine if your child was a bully????
      Then we’d really spank them 😉

  • Reply Little Gumnut July 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Your experience is heart-breaking and I can’t imagine what it would be like for kids who have years and years of bullying. The Dandelion Project sounds really interesting!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 3, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Hey Gumnut, Yeah, I agree. I think prolonged bullying would have a profound effect of kids lives, at the time and in the future. Definitely something we should all be aware of.
      Check out Dandelion. The imagery is beautiful.

  • Reply NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad) July 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    That is such a great idea! As a young teenager who never fitted into the school groups that were at my highschool, i so can feel for you. It must have been very scary, yet you were so brave!
    My two older boys were bullied at school and its not nice 🙁 Now days the bully goes on but its not effective with how much our schools can and cant do. Be good to see a program that can help the children that are being picked on, and to show the bullies what damage they are doing!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      It’s a massive topic, and must have been heartbreaking to see your boys go through it. Do check Dandelion out. It’s worth supporting.

  • Reply WASIA J&L Simon July 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    We are so happy there was nothing in the bathroom for you to use, thrilled you gained a friend in the end and happy you are here! Bullying is horrible and scary for any kid. Love the dandelion project. Will definitely look into it …thank you for the introduction of it!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s definitely a worthy project. I’m thrilled to be supporting them.

  • Reply Kelly July 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This looks fantastic Danielle! I’ll share now. Thanks for sharing your story.

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