Bullying effects last a lifetime for victim
The faces of bullying in NZ
My name is Kane Pohio and during my secondary schooling at St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton, I suffered bullying. I was the target of physical and mental abuse during my time as a boarder.
I had a tumour on my pituitary gland removed when I was three, it was about the size of a golf ball when they operated. They had to remove my pituitary gland during the operation. I have to take medication for the rest of my life. I had a growth hormone to get me to my height of 179cm and testosterone injections.
As a result of having my operation, I could not play contact sports like rugby. Not being able to play the sport that the majority of the school played made me an outcast right from the start. My energy levels were no where near a normal human being without a medical condition. I found it difficult in compulsory running or any exercise for that matter. I played sports like tennis, badminton, and squash, which were considered sissy sports.
The sorts of bullying I would receive included being called names and general verbal abuse, usually started by one boy and then the whole dorm would join in. I was punched or hit. I had the contents of my locker regularly thrown everywhere. I had the gears of my bike destroyed. After watching the movie Full Metal Jacket my whole dormitory thought it would be fun to punish me for my snoring. They held a sheet over me while I was in bed after the lights went out so I couldn't escape. They had blocks of soap in their pillow cases and proceeded to beat me with them until they felt satisfied that I had been beaten enough. The height of my physical bullying was one morning when we were having a shower in a large communal shower, I was pushed from behind by the perpetrator of my bullying. My feet slipped on the concrete floor and I fell flat on my back, hitting my head on the hard floor. I was knocked out for five minutes and when I came to all the guys were standing around as if nothing had happened. I was probably in the sick bay more than any boy there.
The verbal bullying was the worst and had the greatest effect on me, and because I didn't retaliate, I was an easy target. I tried to put on a brave face and make out it wasn't having an effect on me, but deep down I was being tormented.
When the bullies could see they were not having an effect on me with their words, they would sometimes resort to physical abuse. I would regularly come home with bruises but I never let on to my parents the extent of what was going on.
You simply can't get away from it when you are in a boarding house. You learn right from the start at that if you nark, it only gets worse.
The effects that bullying has had on me include mood swings; I would take my anger, frustration and fury out on my family for sending me to that school. I left at the end of sixth form with no desire to continue being a Christian, after all, it's an Anglican school. As far as I was concerned, God had failed me with the abuse I had received there.
I went through a dark period in my life after leaving the school where I would listen to heavy metal music which added fuel to my already burning anger and fury.
I never went to any of the school balls with our sister school. My self esteem was zero and I simply didn't have the confidence to ask a girl there to go with me. It's a big part of a boy's development into becoming a man to be able to communicate and relate with girls. I missed out on that because of bullying. I guess that is a reason why I am single at the age of 40.
The other effect is that once I left school it took me 10 years of my life to work out what I wanted to do for a career. I jumped from job to job with no direction in my life.
For 20-plus years I have had the effects of bullying hanging around my neck. In 2012 I received counselling and was able to forgive the people responsible, so that I could move on with my life. The effects of bullying don't end when you leave the school gate at the end of the day, they continue well on into your life.
Now when I read stories about bullying it gets the fury up in me because some young boy or girl is being bullied. It could be your son or daughter. Think of the effect on their lives it's going to have. The students responsible for bullying and their parents need to be punished by the school in such a way that they never bully anyone in their life again, because the parents are just as much to blame as the kids are.
The schools need to have a policy with zero acceptance of bullying, where students are expelled if they are found responsible of bullying. It's not good enough for schools to turn a blind eye to it anymore, take some serious action to stomp out bullying.
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