March 2002
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From Victim to Survivor
By: Nira Diamant, Grade 10, Tec Voc High School, Winnipeg, MB

Have you ever been picked on in school, either elementary, junior high or high school? If you answer yes to this question, you are not alone.

When I walk down the halls at school, I happen to notice the same people being constantly harassed and I see people pushing each other. What does this prove? Does it prove that the people harassing others are stronger than the people getting teased? The answer is no. People who harass others usually take their anger out on people, which in reality makes the people harassing others weaker as individuals, not stronger.

When I see people getting harassed, it makes me want to do something to stop them. Almost everyone has gotten teased in their childhood and understands how it feels to get teased every day. School is supposed to be a peaceful atmosphere. You shouldn't feel threatened. I know people at school who are constantly picked on, not physically but mentally. They try to ignore it but it's hard to come to school and face the same stuff and the same people every day.

I can relate to this. In junior high I tried my hardest to fit in, but didn't make it. I was constantly harassed. I was called everything from "squints" to "dummy" and that lowered my self-esteem. The effects of that harassment are still with me as I still have low self-esteem.

Today, when people say stuff to me, it goes through one ear out the other. However, a lot of kids get really offended when people call them names. Just as I was in junior high. After facing so many years of being harassed, all of a sudden it stopped and people wanted to be friends with me. I still keep on asking myself why? I'm the same person now as I was in junior high. The only thing that has changed is my tolerance. I think after being harassed, I can tolerate more now as I've learned to ignore the comments others make about me.

My advice to people getting harassed - learn to stand up for yourself. The more you stand up for yourself, the less you will get teased. Life is too short to live in fear, so make the best out of it and be the most that you can be.