Bullying in high school is real, and it hurts.
It happens to gay (and perceived gay) youth. It happens to ordinary guys and girls. It happens and most adults don’t see it, or don’t want to.
It happened to me.
I’m prompted to write this as my family and friends back home tell me this story of the young Marjorie Raymond who killed herself on Monday after years of suffering from bullying.
Marjorie was 15 years old. She seems to have been a happy, normal girl. Like all girls her age she had dreams and projects and ideas and could have done so much with her life.
* * *
Most adults just say, “they’re teenagers, everyone does it, it goes away, it gets better. They are immature, jealous, just looking to be part of the gang. Just be strong, ignore them.” Yes, it does get better, but while you’re suffering, while every day you have to listen to jeers and giggles and nasty nicknames hissed in a corner or screamed out loud in the corridor as you walk to class, it feels like eternity. When you dread every minute of free time between classes, when your worst nightmares involve oral presentations because now you can see them laugh at you, in your face, it feels like eternity. And I can’t say that the thought of killing myself, ending it, never crossed my mind.
I told my mother–she said to be strong, that it would pass. That it couldn’t possibly be as bad as I said. (Maman, je t’aime de tout mon coeur et je ne t’en veux pas le moins du monde!) I told teachers–they told me to make a complaint. I made complaints, many of them–the direction finally had me confront my bullies and they apologized and started again the next day. They never had any sanctions.
I never wanted to go to school. By the end, I started thinking how I could just read the textbooks, write my homework and the final exams and stay at home for the last few months of high school. I never got involved in any projects or extracurricular groups because it would mean having more contact with schoolmates (I don’t think they even deserve that name).
At the worst of the worst of times, there was one single idea in my head: “If I died, they’d probably throw a party”. When I read stuff like this:
Two people who go by the names Angel Mythe Reck and Gentil Dauphin Triste have created a Facebook page mocking Marjorie’s suicide, posting a photo of a blood-spattered young woman and pledging to post more photos of Marjorie’s death.
then I think that I wasn’t too far off.
* * *
Yes, I survived. But I put as much distance as I possibly could between this hell and me. I moved to Montréal at the first opportunity. I now live in Vancouver, and even Australia wouldn’t be far enough. Because in the end, it’s not the people who hurt you that you’re really trying to get away from. It’s the scars, the inability to trust, the fear of social groups, this feeling of suffering alone, unheard and dismissed by those you trust. It’s been 11 years and it hasn’t been long enough to heal. I live 5000 kilometers away and yet, when I read this this morning, all the pain and all the suffering came back, as if it was yesterday, next door.
Yes, it gets better. I have wonderful, welcoming friends, the most amazing boyfriend in the world and a promising career. But when the only end in sight in the one that, literally, ends everything, “It gets better” just doesn’t help.
My deepest condolences to the Raymond family. Another life lost too soon, way too soon, because of the actions of children who do not understand the basic human concept of respect.