It is no secret that those of us within the LGBT community are unfortunately more likely to be victims of bullying, with studies reporting that at least 45% of all LGBT people are bullied at school (Stonewall 2017, The School Report). I was once one of those people who faced bullying at school and know all too well the despair and hopelessness that comes along with it. That is why along with Kidscape, I have put together these ten tips to help you cope with bullying and hopefully, to make you feel a little stronger in what can feel like an unbearable experience.
1. Remind yourself and truly accept that this is not your fault
People bully others for many reasons reflecting issues within their own lives, not because you are weird, rude, boring, embarrassing, too different or anything else that they try to tell you.
2. Talk about it with someone you trust
I know how difficult it is to trust anyone when you’re being bullied, but if there is anyone you trust, begin to tell them in a way that is most comfortable to you. This could even start with telling your dog in order to build confidence in talking about it out loud and then telling a teacher or parent.
3. Reach out for help
Getting support often sounds daunting but it comes in all different forms like resources (like this), therapy and much more. Kidscape can help you decide the best support for you if it’s all a bit daunting! Your parents can call Kidscape's Parent Advice Line for advice and support on how to help you: 020 7823 5430.
4. Leave the situation if you can
Whilst if you are as stubborn as I am, you probably want to show that you’re strong and will not be pushed to do anything by bullies, I am here to tell you that most often the best thing you can do (if possible) is to leave the situation and stop those bullying you from having the access that they desperately want. This could be leaving a physical space, a group chat, changing privacy on social media and much more. Take a look at our advice on dealing with cyberbullying.
5. Consider and quit the ways in which you bully yourself
When being bulled, many of us internalize the insults and rejection and continue the bullying within ourselves. This self-bullying may not always be obvious,. Try journaling on ways in which you are unkind to yourself and set actions to be kind to yourself instead.
6. Keep evidence
This is a tip that I wish I didn’t have to write and one that is challenging as we often want to forget about the awful things that happen to us when being bullied. However, in order to access support and show others what we are going through, it is really helpful to have evidence. This could be through screenshots, written accounts of events, photos of any damage to property and so on. A good idea to prevent you from retraumatizing yourself by looking over this evidence could be to have a really trusted person keep it safe for you to access if you need to.
7. Find ways not to feel so alone
Spend time each day doing things that make you feel less alone, whether that is talking with friends and family, or watching your favourite Youtubers or TV show.
8. Don’t compromise your standards
It is normal to want to have people around you at such a scary time but it is vital to know that it is better to be alone than with people who treat you wrong. As people step into your life, be careful not to invest in them simply because you think you have no other option.
9. Know that this can and will end
I spent countless nights despairing that I couldn’t cope with the bullying forever and this was true, it was draining and took all the courage I had. I didn’t have to do it forever and nor will you. With the right support, you will be able to create a life that takes you away from the situation involving the bullying (however all encompassing it feels) and towards a life full of love and acceptance.
10. You are not what they say you are
People may throw names, insults or rumours at you but this does not make them true. You are who you choose to be, not what they say you are. No matter how loud their shouts get, remember that they can never have more power over your identity than you do.
Written by Lauren (Kidscape Volunteer)