Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist

Psychology News & Resources

Teen Bullying: Tori’s Story & Trouble on ‘Planet Girl’

As I was writing yesterdays post on internet safety, I was again reminded of the rise and rise of adolescent bullying, which is of course aided by the increase in “cyber” bullying. Of particular concern, certainly in Australia and many other Western countries, is the increase in intensity and severity of bullying amongst teenage girls.9414a2c008a005ea72e5b010.L

This is an issue which all of us who work and live with teenage girls (and indeed even young adult women) are aware of, and as well as dealing with cyber bullying in my posts, I want to also provide some insight and direction for parents of young people who may be exposed to these issues within their social environment.

In April this year, Australian television current affairs program 4 Corners ran a story on this issue, and a young woman named Tori Matthews-Osman was prompted to write a story and to give her opinions in response to the show. who had written a story about bullying was invited to be a part of the show.

I have reproduced Tori’s story (with original spelling)  about a girl named Morgan, as well as her reflections of her own experiences with bullying, as a way of providing first hand insight into the world in which some of our daughters and their friends survive on a daily basis. More on this topic soon.

Tori’s Story

At this very moment there’s a girl, sitting alone in a cubical in the girls toilets. She’s sitting there with her lunch on her lap, with tears pouring down her cheeks.

Her long black hair has fallen gracelessly around her face. Her sea green eyes stearing at the door. Her make-up is slowly starting to run and she just sits there. She sits there stearing into space, zoned out of the things happening in her surroundings. Slowly, she pulls out her compass that’s sitting on her lap, in her pencil case. She starts to trace a small design on the top of her upper-leg, hidden to everyone else by her school dress, where no-one will ever see. At first she traces the design lightly but slowly she presses hard and harder, suddenly placing enough force that she’s actually cut the design in her leg. Her eyes drift down to her leg because she saw a red spot in the corner of her eye; it’s blood. It’s her blood and yet she can’t feel the pain. You can’t feel pain when it’s all that you’ve ever felt.

She’s sitting there cutting herself, hiding and crying because of a different kind of pain. It’s the pain of humiliation. The humiliation of being attacked by bullies.
The students, she goes to school with, either ignores her or they bully her, mentally or physically. Her name’s Morgan.

As you know, Morgan is sitting there, crying and cutting, because of the bullying. Her attackers are the so called ”it” people, also known as the ”poplars”’. Morgan is always thinking to herself ”What the hell did I ever do to you? Why won’t you all just leave me alone?” She sometimes wants to seek revenge on her attackers and see how they like the humiliation. But she never does because somewhere deep inside her, she knows that she’s a better person than them and that what comes around, go’s around.

You may have noticed that I’m using the words ”attack” and ”attackers”, this is simply because the bulling is a form of attack against her and the thousands of others that go through the same thing.

Anyway, she hides in the toilets at recess and lunch, hoping to avoid being attacked for just 1 day, but sometimes those same girls come into the toilets. They talk about things like boys, clothes, they talk about friends behind their backs and, they tease anyone that looks different or because they don’t like the same stuff as them. Morgan knows that those girls talk about her, because she’s herd them on a number of times. They say things like, ”Oh, my, god, did you see what she wears?” or ”she is such a freak” or also ”what a loser. I can’t wait till she’s out of our lives for good. People will dance on her grave, they’ll be so happy.” Some people also call her emo, goth, Chopper (because she has cuts on her wrists and legs) and a lot of other, equally rude things. Some of really bitchy girls will make up rumors about her. A few examples are: she’s addicted to drugs, she’s an alcoholic, she’s sick of life and is going to end hers and also she has a bad reputation with all the boys. As you can probably guess, all these rumors9780143004660-crop-325x325 are far from the truth.

The girls at Morgan’s school are the worst. Some of the boys are just as bad because they egg the girls on and cheer when they hurt Morgan. The girls do some really horrible things like throwing food and bottles at her, and then as it all happens, the boys will film it all and post it on YouTube for the world to see and laugh at. This is the humiliation she goes through, and what I was talking about at the start.

The reason why Morgan goes through all of this, is because she has black hair, listen’s to rock/heavy metal music, likes the color black along with others, sometimes she comes to school with a few cuts or burses’ on her and she also likes to be by herself. She doesn’t understand why this is happening to her. She does have a reason as to why she is the way she is. The reason is this: her mother and farther are no longer together, her dad lives 4 hours away from her, her dad has a new life with new kids and a wife, her mum’s constantly meeting new guys and has a new one each week, she has no friends, all of the teasing is getting so bad and she’s always depressed. All of these things add up and she just wants it all to stop, that’s the reason she hurts herself; it’s a way for her to release some of the plain and hurt. Some pretty scary thoughts go through Morgan’s head at times, things that others don’t understand, like, what if I ended all this now?, will anyone even care?, would anyone notice if I just left this hell hole? Or I don’t want this to keep going on, I’m scared that one of these days they’ll hurt me so bad that i get put in hospital and they’ll get away with it. Morgan hates these thoughts but she can’t help but think them, there is no way to stop them, but she hates them anyway.

The first bell has just gone, signaling the end of lunch. Reluctantly, with a sigh, Morgan get’s up and wipes her face to try and hide the evidence that she was crying and wipes away all the blood from her leg. On her way out, she catches a glimpse of her reflection: red and puffy eyes, black streaks of mascara running down her cheeks and a very pale face. Morgan walks over to the taps and tries to clean herself up a bit. Slowly her face gains some color and the black streaks are gone but her eyes are still a little red and puffy. Slowly at first, she makes her way to her last class of the day, its English Morgan’s favorite subject and the only one that she does well in.

English is over now and Morgan rushes to her locker, grabs her bag and her guitar and heads off at a fast walk, home. As soon as she gets inside the front door, she calls out to make sure that her so-called family is still out, all clear, so she locks herself in her bedroom and, slowly, quite sobs arise from deep within her chest. Soon Morgan is sobbing so hard that she can no longer control herself and her whole body starts to shake. After maybe 30 minutes of body-shaking tears, she hears voices: her mum and older brother are home from shopping. Slowly she hides all evidence of crying and heads to greet her family and help them. She forces a smile onto her lips, but it comes out very crooked, yet somehow no one seems to notice it.

After dinner, cleaning up and doing a little bit of homework, Morgan escapes to her bedroom, the one place that she can be alone and do what she wants without someone barging in on her. She starts to trace a design on her wrist and starts to think those scary thoughts again. This time they really scare her, so much so, that she starts sobbing again but they’re so quiet that only she can hear them. All of a sudden she has the urge to hurt herself, but, with some false positive thought’s, she doesn’t. To distract herself, Morgan gets up and turns on her favorite CD, music that tends to help her get through the toughest problems. Still quietly sobbing, she lies down under the covers of her nice, warm bed and cries herself to sleep.

This is the same thing that happens every day of every week of every month. Sometimes she does have those thoughts about ending her life and sometimes she thinks that she’s going to have a brake-down. Morgan is sick and tired of her mother being self-absorbed, of her farther not giving a damn about her or who he hurts, but mostly, she’s sick of being treated like she’s nothing, like she’s a piece of garbage being kicked around, because somewhere deep down inside, she knows that she’s not a piece of garbage and that she doesn’t deserve to be treated the way she is. One day she knows that she will do something about it all and she also knows that one day she will change her life for the good of things, because she has the will to do it and she believes in herself. She feels like she has to, since no one else does.

This is the way Morgan’s life is, every, single day and she’s very strong, a very strong 14 year old. Not a lot of people could go through this and hide it the way Morgan has and is. Especially no one she knows. No one should go through anything like this but people do.
What’s written above is part of a story that I have written about bullying and I hope that it opens up someones eyes.

This sort of thing happens in the real world. You may not want to believe it, but it’s the cold hard truth, and, the sad thing is that it will never stop. People say that they wish for world peace or for the famine over in Africa to end, but what I wish for is this: I wish that people, girls in particular, would stop being so bitchy towards one another. I wish that no-one goes through this, but I know that it’s kind of an un-realistic wish, because it will never happen. But even if it did, it wouldn’t last long at all, people would go back to the way they are now. It would be too hard a habit to brake, well for the bullies anyway.

I myself have gone through bullying and I’m still being bullied. I have friends that have been through it and are still going through it to this very day, and let me tell you this: it’s horrible to think at times that there must be something wrong with you to be picked on all the time, whether it’s because of the way you look or your weight or because you like really different things. It’s probably one of the worst feelings ever. Some of you may be thinking that what I’m going through is really bad, and at the times when it happens, it does feel really bad, but I know that it’s not that bad compared to what others go through.

I have been a victom of bullying since I first started school, in 2000. I have been teased because of my weight, because I wear reading glasses and a few other reasons. I have been called so many names, such as emo and goth plus a lot of other names that are too rude to say. I’m sick of being bullied when there’s no need for it. I’m bullied by one of my so-called friends, he calls me some really rude names and then when he asks why am I mad at him, I just look at him and say something like ”you can’t be serious! You know exaclly what you’ve done to get me mad!” He acts as if nothing has happened and expects me to ”give him another chance.”

Back in 2006 I would never have written to you or stood up for myself, but since starting high school, I have gained more confidence. In saying that I wil give you an example: Last year I entered your Short Story Compition and instead of winning, I was asked to be interviewed on my veiws on this isue. If I was asked that same question in ‘06 there is no way that I would have said yes.

This is something that I’m very passionate about. Someone asked me last month what my goal is and my answer was this: ”My goal is to go around to different places, whether it’s schools or other places, and tell people about what I go through and tell parents what the can do to spot the signs if your child is being bullied or how they can help their child get through it. Kind of like a spokes person against bullies.” I told my counciler about my goal and she told me that she needs someone that has been through it, to talk to a group of about 20 parents. I said yes and now I am waiting to find out when it will be.

There is no way that I would be able to get through all of this without the support from my mum. We are so close, we’re kind of like best friends. She’s always there for me when times get tough and I know that I can trust her with anything. It’s also thanks to my counciler, Chiara, that I can get through these things, because I know that I can talk to her any time at school, about anything and I know that I can trust her too.

After reading your artical and hearing about the boy, Elija I think his name was (sorry if it’s not), got me upset because he can’t help the way that he is. So what? He has something wronge with him, get over it! He seems like a pretty nice kid, and it’s not his fault that he makes faces sometimes. Everyone has flaws, no-one is perfect. The poor boy has no friends because people are turning others against him, and thats not fair!

Thanks for reading my what I have to say and my story,
Tori Matthews-Osman


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July 31, 2009 - Posted by | Adolescence, Bullying, Girls, Parenting | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hello, my name is Tori, I’m 14 and I’m actually the author of Morgan’s Story. Thank you (I think) for publishing my story on here when you really didn’t need to. I’d just like to clear something up first though; I wrote Morgan’s Story at the start of 2007, as an entry in a short story comp. I didn’t win but I was interviewed about bullying. From there, I added a fair amount to what eventually became the final copy of Morgan’s Story. After a number of articles in The Geelong Advertiser and giving speeches around Geelong, Four Corners contacted me and it went from there.
    Just thought I’d clear that up abit. Didn’t really want any confusion.
    Thanks.

    Comment by Tori Matthews-Osman | October 13, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Tori, thanks so much for your comment. I have amended the post so it is now accurate. Thanks for the story and all the best for the future!

      Peter

      Comment by peterhbrown | March 11, 2010 | Reply


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