Bullying is something which most of us experience at some point in our lives. Usually it happens when we’re young, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Some people never grow out of the need to bully and the reasons behind such behaviour can be incredibly diverse.
Sometimes spotting adult bullying is easy. Perhaps it’s in the workplace, when one colleague may constantly undermine or belittle another in order to improve or strengthen their own position. But identifying bullying behaviour isn’t always easy. It might not be consistent, or it might take place over distance, time or the internet. It doesn’t help that there’s no legal definition in the UK of what bullying actually is. But one thing which all types of bullying have in common is that they involve “repeated, aggressive behaviour intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally”.
I have personal experience with adult bullying. Mine has taken place over a long period of time. A girl I used to be friends with – Jemima ‘Jem’ Henderson, who fell out with me after I was accepted to university, has for the past seven years been conducting a campaign of hatred towards me that I’ve been trying my best to ignore. The fact that I’ve spent much of that time living in different locations to her makes it even more surprising that she has chosen to keep up her behaviour, as I’m no longer directly connected to her life and almost never see her socially. However the full force of her obsessive behaviour has steadily become more apparent, not only due to its having continued for so long, but because every now and then I will experience direct verbal aggression – and on one occasion, the threat of physical violence.
Why I made this post – the most recent attack
The reason I made this post is because last night I experienced another episode of Jemima’s ridiculous and disgusting behaviour. And even though I refuse to respond to her directly, I have, quite frankly, had enough, and feel like the time is right for me to speak openly about this.
The episode went as follows:
Last night I got a notification about a FB post by a person on my friends list – Nicola Radford.
Nicola was not someone I knew particularly well, but I had met her in person and thought she was nice. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. It turns out that, having recently grown close to each other, Nicola and Jemima decided to get drunk and attack me. And since I had already blocked Jemima’s FB account, they used Nicola’s instead.
Jemima and Nicola evidently thought it would be funny to post a disgusting sexual comment about me to her Facebook wall. The post was public, so all of her friends could see it as well as anyone else who cared to look. The reason I got a notification was because they had tagged my username in it, so all of their friends could see exactly who they were talking about.
The original post was pretty explicit so I’m not going to reshare it here. I was embarrassed, but decided to respond politely to see if I could find out what was going on. ‘Nicola’s’ response confirmed my suspicions that Jemima was involved. I decided not to let this go on any further, so removed Nicola from my friends list and blocked her as well.
Why is the screenshot censored?
After I published this blog post, Nicola emailed me more disgusting things and tried to blackmail me into taking the post down. I initially agreed to censor her name in the picture but refused to remove this post. However, after giving it some more thought, I have decided to name both her and Jemima directly.
My reasoning is this: first, Nicola and Jemima had no qualms about making a public post about me, and second, had one of their friends shared the Facebook post with their friends, I doubt they would have asked them to remove it. In fact, they probably would have found it amusing that their abusive words were entertaining others.
So, if Nicola believes in her right to share nasty posts about me on social media, and to name me explicitly in those posts, then I expect her to respect my right to reply and to name her in kind.
How does Jem Henderson’s behaviour constitute bullying?
The reason I consider Jemima’s behaviour to be bullying is because it is persistent, unwarranted and aggressive. She’s been nasty to my face and behind my back. She spreads lies about me. She has actively encouraged people to form negative opinions of me. She has been verbally aggressive to my sister. She has threatened to punch me in the face if I attend the same social events as her. Her behaviour impacts upon my life, both directly and indirectly. And the fact that she is dragging other people into this stupidity makes it even worse.
I’m not so foolish that I believe we all have to like each other, but not liking someone is not a valid reason for attacking them either directly or indirectly. If I’d done something to hurt her I would agree that she’d have grounds for being pissed off. But I’ve asked for nothing from Jemima but to be left alone, and have made sure not to respond to her hurtful remarks and mockery. Neither have I done anything to hurt Nicola, who seems to be nothing more than an immature and angry individual who is more concerned with impressing a friend than behaving like an adult.
A direct message to Jemima ‘Jem’ Henderson
I know you don’t like me. That’s fine. I don’t like you either. You make fun of disabled people, use the N word and other offensive language, make jokes about the Holocaust, slander me to everyone you meet, threatened to punch me, accosted my sister, and even made fun of me after my cat died.
These things are not hearsay or rumour. I have screenshots as evidence of your foul behaviour and language, and I will provide them to anyone who asks.
I don’t know why you fell out with me all those years ago. I truly don’t. You’ve never given me a reason and I don’t know why you feel the need to keep perpetuating this obsessive negativity, year after year. But as long as you keep attacking me, talking about me and trying to leave a mark on my life then all you are doing is demonstrating that you want to have something to do with me. But I don’t want to have anything to do with you. I certainly don’t want to fight with you. I have never wanted to fight with you. The only thing I have ever asked of you is to leave me alone. It’s time to stop this narcissistic behaviour, grow up and move the fuck on.
As for you Nicola – people know you by the friends you keep, as well as by your actions. Strong people refuse to participate in wrongdoing. Weak people simply go along with the crowd.
Get help and fight back against bullying
I believe very strongly that it is wrong to hurt people, it is wrong to intimidate people, it is wrong to try to blackmail people, and it is wrong to take pleasure in someone else’s misery. If you or someone you know is experiencing adult bullying, Band Back Together have some great resources for learning more about how to identify a bully and cope with their behaviour.