I’ve been bullied.
I was bullied at primary school, secondary school, college, university and work.
It has happened so often that there have been times when I have thought that I was to blame. I was the common factor throughout each of these environments; therefore it must have been something I was doing that caused these people to bully me.
However, the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realised that bullying behaviour is the responsibility of the bully, regardless of the reasons they might try to give to justify their behaviour, it is them who are choosing to treat another human being poorly.
Now I’ve gotten my mini-rant out of the way, here’s how I’m going to relate this topic to bullying.
I have never been bullied for being autistic.
If you were to ask each of my bullies if they treated me the way they did because I was autistic, they would vehemently deny it.
Autism is a disability and it is wrong to bully someone because of a disability.
I have been bullied because I am clumsy.
I have been bullied because I have used language in an odd way from time to time.
I have been bullied because I have worn a jumper ‘the wrong way’.
I have been bullied because I am organised.
I have been bullied because I follow the rules.
I have been bullied because I do what I’m told.
I have been bullied because of the vocabulary I use.
Each of the things that have made me a target for bullies is a direct result of me being autistic. Because of a lack of understanding about autism, the people that have bullied me have done so for the things they have deemed ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’; they would (possibly) be horrified to learn that what they were actually doing was bullying an autistic person for being autistic.
It would be great if I could just say ‘so don’t bully anyone’ and have everyone do so, but I’m a realist (some might say cynic), so instead I just ask that before you bully or tease someone for something, take a moment to think; you wouldn’t want to be picking on someone because of a disability, hidden or otherwise.