IN Magazine, 25th July 2011

By Claire Leong, IN Crowder

At the risk of sounding like the school outcast, I was once the object of girl-on-girl aggression – a form of bullying.
As its name suggests, it’s done by girls to girls. It is different because the bullying is not physical but mental. 
It often stems from jealousy or insecurity, and all the feminine traits you hear of often come into play – gossip, rumour-mongering, and exclusion from a group. 
In front of the adults, the bully becomes the “good girl”.
In fact, my bully was my best friend – now ex-best friend, of course. 
It started with a stinging slap to my cheek in front of everyone else during recess. Humiliated and utterly taken aback, I ran away crying. I went back to class after recess and returned to my seat beside her, eyes sore and red from crying. She behaved like nothing had happened. I was so confused – did I imagine the whole incident?
My mum complained to the discipline master, who asked the girl to apologise to me over a handshake. She smiled sweetly and asked the teacher: “Can I hug her instead?” I was daft enough to believe that she was truly sorry.
Despite the hug, the next few months were torture. 
Rumours about me, such as me committing theft and stealing someone’s boyfriend spread like wildfire, nasty notes criticising me and insulting my personality or appearance were left on my desk, and I was constantly spammed with hate messages over Facebook and on my blog.
I spent my recesses alone in the girls’ toilet, reading a storybook while I waited for the bell to sound so I could go back to class. 
I found any excuse I could just to miss school. I was simply too much of a weakling to stand up for myself.
The ordeal was finally over when I was posted to a different class from my bully this year. 
However, the bullying had already done its damage. I’m distrustful of girls and whenever I see two people whispering nearby, the first thing that comes to my mind is “Oh my gosh, what did I do? What are they saying about me?”.
I tell you this – girl aggression is more hurtful than regular bullying because it is all mind games. Authorities brush it off as “just a phase” or, like some school counsellors, think that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. It’s not true for me – words can smart and become festering wounds.
Please, will adults realise that girl aggression is a big deal?

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2 thoughts on “IN Magazine, 25th July 2011

  1. I can relate to your situation. Even though I am 23 now and a working adult, the memories of being bullied during secondary school days still haunt me sometimes, and like you mentioned, whenever there are people whispering in the corner of a room, I get suspicious and think that they are talking about me.The worst thing about girl-on-girl bullying is that unlike the boys, we do not have the scars or bruises like the boys do. The damage done is invisible to the eyes of adults and sometimes they might even brush off the incident as "kids being kids" and think that we are exaggerating.I do hope that your article might bring awareness to this very serious issue we have in schools today. And my own little piece of advice is for you, and all the bullied girls out there, is to stand firm and refuse to be apologetic for who you are. As much as it seems that school is everything to you, it is not. And I do hope that this experience made you stronger as a person.Be well.

  2. Yeah most adults brush it off as ‘just a phase’… Even my school counsellor! Thank you for the advice! I didn’t know that you used to be a victim of bullying too.

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