Bullies Compelled by Weakness, Fear

Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

Bullies tend to be people that are close to us. You don’t recognize it at first, and maybe it just starts off as teasing or weird behavior but at the end of the day, you can’t ignore the fact that it is bullying.

When my sister, Meghan Ginley, attended Campolindo, it was her so-called friends that turned against her. I’ll admit, Meghan could have hung out with better people.

Meghan was harassed both mentally and physically. Though the incidents were reported, the culprit was, in a way, shielded from consequences because of her home situation, which was apparently quite difficult. Nevertheless, hurting another human being is unacceptable. While I appreciate that many bullies exhibit this behavior in response to problems at home, such circumstances should not be used as an excuse to ignore the rights of their victims.

Meghan eventually transferred to Miramonte. With the support of family and friends, and a safe school environment, she was free to pursue her scholastic interests and find success. Meghan eventually attended the University of San Francisco and was selected for an internship working for Parliament in England. She graduated from college in just 3 years.

I too have been betrayed by those I thought were my friends. When I was found crying in my room, my mom solicited an avalanche of supportive texts from family and friends.

One such text read: “Kate, I heard girls are being mean at school. Don’t listen to their [expletive]. Be the person you want to be and don’t let anyone stop you they are just jealous of you…”

Another positive note read: “Hi miss Kate! Just wanted to say you are a rock star. Beautiful, kind, and incredibly intelligent! Good luck on your exams today – you’ll be great. I love you and I’m always here for you! Xoxo.”

These messages from people who truly care about me helped raise my spirits and remind me that the people I encounter who try to pull me down are probably the same people that don’t have such a powerful network of support.  The very reason they look to inflict harm is so that they can feel better about their own sad situation.

In middle school, I was actually an SSA (Safe School Ambassador) who worked to reduce bullying. I learned early on that there are so many people going through so much pain. What they need is a ally, someone to let them know they matter, someone to show them they are recognized. Someone to help them stand up to bullies.

Now, when I encounter those who would wish to tear me down, I recall one of my favorite quotes from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I imagine saying this to my bully: “You’re the weak one. And you’ll never know love,or friendship. And I feel sorry for you.”

At the end of the day, I know that the actions of bullies comes from a place of weakness and fear.  I am the one with the true power.