According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice, around 20% or more students experience bullying. These students often go unnoticed or overlooked. Growing up, when I was in the 7th grade, I was about six-feet tall, and no one would have ever imagined that I would be the one bullied. Everyone ignored all the signs. From sleeping difficulty, my grades declining, feelings of helplessness, and destructive behaviors.
No one knew, at age 12, I attempted suicide. The pressures I battled consumed my thoughts, my heart, my mind. So I tried a permanent solution. One that God graced me to fail. Now although studies do not show a specific correlation to suicide and bullying, there is an increased risk factor included.
My story, like many students today, can be easily recognized. I wasn’t necessarily a loner or an outcast. Interestingly enough, I was bullied in crowds. I was an athlete that stood out, and many people knew. Most people saw my experiences first hand and remained silent. Like those around me, others, too, have ignored their opportunity to take a stand. In fact, 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools. An even more interesting truth is that 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying.
All these eyes and only 25% of bullying cases are reported. All these eyes and somehow, I was supposed to survive alone–somehow they all are supposed to survive. Carrying the trauma, depression, anxiety, and defeat even into my adulthood, how does overcoming become a reality?
There is a story in the Bible of a man named Joseph, who was bullied. He stood out amongst those closest to him. They would isolate him, shame him, attack him, and even threw him in a pit and he was unable to get out on his own. He was stuck in the pain of the situation, jailed to lies and constant defamation. Yet, there was something peculiar about his story. He had a vision of who he truly was. He had an insight into his true God-given identity and refused to let go. He began to show his true self until who he used to be, was no longer recognized.
Like Joseph, I was not able to overcome until I recognized the value of who I was, and until I understood that my life was intentional and had a purpose. It was necessary for me to come out so others can learn to come out as well. I had to recognize how valuable God saw me.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me…” Psalms 139:13-16 NLT
Today If you are asking yourself, how do I come to the resolve to overcome and see myself getting past the pain of bullying?
- Find promises and affirmations from God the Father.
- Build a resolve that what He says weighs higher than what anyone else may have ever said.
- Seek a safe community, including peer accountability, spiritual leadership, and even counseling.
- Always remember that: THERE ARE MORE WITH YOU THAN ARE AGAINST YOU!
For more information on practical steps for bullying, you can visit stopbullying.gov.
Written By: Brandon Allen
IN MEMORY OF DIEGO
No one will ever see the tears that led most of this writing. And no one can take the freedom gained!