ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS TO 'BULLSEYE'
The wonderful contributors who have been good enough to share their stories are mainly from Australia, with one from the United Kingdom. I understand that writing their experiences down has been very therapeutic for most, if not all, of them. One even mentioning that it has given her a huge boost in self confidence that she never thought possible and she is now looking at further education (something she would never have considered previously), also looking at things she might be able to do to get the message out about bullying. Most of the others have also mentioned that a lot has changed, for the positive, since they have written it all down. I have had some excellent feedback from those who have read at least some of the book. One called it 'amazing', another said she cried from start to finish, others said they could not put it down.
Since 'Bullseye' has been released and made available to the public, I have also been receiving feedback from other victims of bullying not in the book, confirming one of my first goals for the book; reassuring those other victims that they are not alone, which is something I would have given almost anything for during my own experience many years ago. Some of the feedback and other comments which I am now constantly receiving are very positive. I am also being asked about the possibility of doing a sequel to 'Bullseye', as in a 'Bullseye II' or similar. This is a possibility and I would consider it if I receive enough submissions. Included in such a book would be stories from the contributors from the current book bringing us up to date with what is now happening in their lives. This has also been requested from both some of the current contributors and members of the general public as the book becomes known and gains momentum.
THE INTRODUCTION TO
'BULLSEYE' THE BOOK
Bully - described in the Concise English Dictionary:
'a browbeating person, esp someone who is habitually cruel to other weaker people;
'intimidate with persistently aggressive or violent behaviour, or by using threats of violence.'
These two descriptions are certainly true, but to the people who have so generously submitted their stories for inclusion in this book, 'Bullseye' they would barely be adequate. I have been one such person as have both my daughters and at least one niece, all at different schools. But our tales of woe are NOTHING compared with the humiliation, embarrassment, degradation and so much more that many of the people featured in this book have suffered, many still suffering.
The suggestion of writing a book about bullying was put to me some years ago - I cannot actually recall who did suggest it, or when, but it certainly planted a seed in my mind. Research through those years has suggested that many have written books on bullying before me but no-one seems to have actually devoted a book almost entirely to stories of victims - this then was part of my goal. In communicating with these and other victims, both current and past, I found that they all appeared to have the same message ... just how therapeutic it was to be able to ... just talk about it ... get it off their chests. Of course there are always exceptions. Sadly, one particular victims has been so badly scarred that he found it too difficult to write his experiences at all. And writing their stories will never change the fact that these people have been bullied. Many have had counselling, many have not, some are still undergoing this. Some cases are far more serious than others - some have undee the court process, others are still going through this.....
The stories with the pages of 'Bullseye' vary hugely; from supposedly minor cases through to some which are far more serious. But irrespective of the severity of them, the effects on the victims have been horrendous. Many have made my blood boil.
Doing this has given me a very small idea of just how mammoth this problem is and that it is EVERYWHERE. No-one is immune, nor is any institution, any situation. It takes place at any age, any gender, any faith, anywhere, any time.
Many of the victims were bullied in their teens and/or childhood, and some of these people were raised in the years prior to bullying being recognized and/or acknowledged. For some victims it is past tense, for others a very current and continuing nightmare. Some stories have come from various work places. There are even a couple written by people who have been bullied and have been bullies themselves.
What has disturbed and infuriated me throughout (and believe me, I would NOT have wanted to have my blood pressure nor stress levels taken while doing this), something that does appear to be a common thread, particularly with the stories taken from schools - in seeking help, justice and compensation through the appropriate channels, the education and legal systems, in almost every case it appears that the perpetrator/s is/are the ones who have been supported - NOT the victims. Indeed it has almost appeared that the perpetrator/s have been rewarded and the victims punished. Most if not all schools maintain that they have a 'bullying policy' in place ... but given all that is covered in these stories in 'Bullseye' I do have to question ... just how effective are these policies and who are they aiming to help?????
In one particular case the victim lost her father, which was tragic enough in itself, but then....from what I can see, she was bullied...partly for this reason? WHY???? What is the MENTALITY of bullies?????
A few of the case histories in 'Bullseye' are quite long and as previously mentioned, some victims continue their fight for compensation and/or justice. I have and do feel so much for the parents, families of the victims and for the victims themselves. Overall from what I have learned, the attitudes of the schools leave me cold and much needs to be done. I am not saying this applies in all cases world wide ... goodness knows those in the book are only the smallest drop in the ocean compared with the amount of bullying that continues 24/7. But from what I have read through these and dozens of other cases as well ... sadly that does appear to be true of many schools. Please bear in mind as you read through 'Bullseye' that all these cases are direct quotes from victims or a loved one and all have been reproduced with the original spelling, grammar, punctuation etc in place. All case histories have been reproduced as closely as possible to the original texts written by the victims. However, all names of both humans and institutions, towns etc have been changed to protect the innocent. I know bullying is a widespread and horrible problem and sadly, seems to be increasing and it is everywhere. When I first decided to write 'Bullseye' I was mainly using it as a therapeutic tool for my own experiences. But then, as mentioned, others heard about this and contacted me ... thus my book was born.