When I was eleven-years-old I was “pantsed” by kids I thought were my friends or the kids I pretended were my friends so I would feel accepted and therefore better about myself. Having my pants pulled down and torn by my peers was the most humiliating experience of my young life.
While we were walking home with these classmates, they started making fun of my shiny gold disco pants and how tight they were on my fat body. My older brother, my role model, my friend had given them to me. My gold, satin disco pants were special for that reason. One kid yanked them down over my underwear and tore them off me. The others joined in ripping my gold disco pants into rags that were thrown into the street. They laughed at me and taunted me about having to walk the mile home on a busy street in my underwear. I gathered up the remaining shreds that were displayed in the street. I tried to cover myself up for the walk home that, at that point, seemed like a cross-country trek of shame. I cried tears of humiliation on that long walk home as many drivers passed and gawked, but no one stopped to help me. The message was loud and clear.
My classmates viewed me as the fat kid who needed a bra. Although some may think the incident was a funny rite of high school passage, I was never able to move past the experience. It was classic bullying in the prehistoric age before the Internet. I did not feel I had a safe place to turn to to tell anyone what happened. I had also been made fun of by some of my teachers. This was long before bullying became a social phenomenon. Now there are anti-bullying awareness campaigns, in-school programs on bullying. Teachers are instructed in how to deal with it. Parents are more aware of it. It is still a huge problem. One that will never go away completely because kids are kids.
We however can do our part to educate our children and make them aware of the damage that can be inflicted by cruel words. Rascal The Raccoon is a great tool to make that happen.
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