Greetings everyone. As we all know, Bullying can have devastating effects in the lives of victims and sadly, school officials, parents and even law enforcement have yet to realize the daily horrors that victims endure. And bullies are slick! They are experts at deceiving authority and making their victims looks like the guilty party.
It takes more than simply reporting incidences of bullying to school staff and authorities because in most cases, the victim is either rebuffed or blamed for the torment. These are only a few reasons why it is so important that you keep a daily journal if you are ever targeted by bullies.
Write down what happened in full detail, the names of those who are present when the attack takes place…the names of bullies, bystanders, teachers, EVERYONE! Also jot down the time, date and place the altercation occurred. Do this with every incident that takes place. Leave nothing out! Even if the attacks are minor, you must still record it in your journal. I can’t stress this enough- keep very detailed records of any taunts, threats and altercations no matter how small they may seem.
Journals are the best way for victims to protect themselves and have a record to present to a judge in the event that the bullying escalates and you are forced to take legal action.
When I was in school, I kept a journal many times of the bullying I suffered and I still have some of the material today, which helped me to write my book, “From Victim to Victor” and tell the story of how I was bullied by my classmates. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 11 about how I kept my own journal during a time when bullying was accepted as a normal part of growing up.
“…Before school had started I had decided that this year, I would keep a journal of each school day. I wanted some sort of record in case we needed evidence for a possible future lawsuit. This had been suggested by three different people who were friends of my aunt and grandmother.
“Write down EVERYTHING!” Grandma’s friends advised, “What, when, why, where and who. You need some sort of record in case one of them hurt you so bad that you have to go to the hospital…or worse.”
Grandma gasped before speaking up.
“Or WORSE??? Surely, they wouldn’t kill her!” She said in shock.
“You never know, Francesca. Kids get killed at school in Memphis. Don’t think that just because this is a small town, it couldn’t happen here too.” Little Mama, one of her friends, warned.
“God, forbid it!” Grandma sighed before turning back to me.
“That’s right, baby. You like to write stories? Well, darling write about how they treat you at school. Treat it like a story. Record. Everything.” She urged.
Even though I was sure that neither of my bullies had the nerve, nor the stomach to kill anyone, I did not think that keeping a journal was necessarily a bad idea. It might even be a safety precaution. How I wished I had been told this a year before…”
I would advise writing everything down just as soon as the altercation is over and it is still fresh in your mind, but do it covertly, if possible. This should go without saying, you certainly wouldn’t want anyone to see your journal as bullies are known to destroy property and rummage through their target’s belongings. Keep your journal in a very safe place. Here are a few excerpts from my book, which tells what happened to me after my journal was accidentally discovered:
“…Therefore, that afternoon in last period Math, I decided to write about it in my journal since we were in the last thirty minutes of the school day and had completed all assignments.
Before I knew it, Mrs. Caraway, whose teaching schedule had been changed to eighth grade math, swiped my journal from under my nose without a word. She took it to her desk, and read it. Once she had read the first ten pages, she called Mr. Willard on the intercom.
When he arrived, I sat there and watched her hand my journal over to him as my stomach sank. Mr. Willard stood in front of the entire class, turning each page to give it a quick look over, and paused to glare at me. He then walked out of the classroom, flipping the pages.
The following weekend, when I told Grandma and Aunt Vicky about it, they became furious.
“That fat BASTARD!” Aunt Vicky chided. “How could he? How DARE he?”
“Looks to me like they have something to hide, don’t it?” Grandma asked.
“Why else would he have taken it from her, Mom? That was wrong! That journal was like a DIARY and she kept it to herself, for God’s sake! But somebody just had to be nosey, didn’t they? How dare they??? Those sorry pieces of crap!” Aunt Vicky thundered.
I never saw that journal again…”
“…It was politics. Mr. Willard was only furthering his own interests, protecting the school’s reputation and that of the entire school system as well. The last thing he wanted was for Oakley Junior High to be shown in a bad light while on his watch. I also believe this was the reason my journal had been taken away.
I now know that these people considered me to be a major threat. Even thirty years ago, when this occurred, all I had to have was the right evidence and enough of it. My journal, which had been taken from me by the principal, was the evidence I would have needed. These people were scared! I could just see Mr. Willard’s eyes widen upon finding that I actually had enough good sense to keep my own record of the bullying and that is why he took it from me. He knew that with that journal, I could have possibly had the proof needed to sue the living hell out of him, the school and the entire school system…”
Although keeping a journal may be risky, I still urge victims of bullying to keep one. If you risk being caught with it or the wrong person snooping through it, I would suggest keeping it at home and writing the days events in it just as soon as you get home, while your memory of the days events are still fresh. The sooner you record, the better.
Have a wonderful day!