Help for the bullied

The Southerner

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My sister’s journey through losing her hair

By Camille Williams

For the past few decades bullying has become a major issue. News channels and papers all over the world have been covering stories of children who have been so affected by bullying that they can’t deal with life anymore.  Over the past three decades bullying related suicide has increased more than 50 percent. As a student going to school, I have witnessed this behavior a lot. If a student wears the same pairs of pants three days in a row or can’t afford but a few shirts then suddenly they become the butt of everyone’s jokes. I see things like this every day. It never happens to me, but it happens to someone I care about almost every time she goes out in public.

From the summer before first grade my sister began losing her hair. First it was a dime sized circle on her right temple. Then the patches spread. She began losing hair in dime sized patches all over her head. My mother would apply various creams and sprays every morning and night but they never helped.  By the time 75 percent of her hair was gone and she felt really down about it my mom would always look at her and say, “Look at my sweet little girl. She’s beautiful with or without hair.” This made he feel good and she stayed happy for the rest of the summer.

However, the summer had to end and the first day back to school was possibly the hardest one. Every little girl’s hair is her security blanket. They learn from a young age how important their hair is. They look to moms and older sister who toss their hair around and are always obsessing over how gorgeous someone else’s is. It makes girls feel safe and beautiful and girly. They can style it however they want to and gets complimented all the time. My sister didn’t have that security and the minute she walked in the doors of the school building the teasing began. Kids stared and pointed and sometimes laughed. My sister cried every night for the first few weeks to a month. She walked in school every day with a hoodie on and her head low. She was dying inside and everyone could see it.

It took a while for my sister to grow from this. For the first couple of years in elementary school she had to learn to be strong and not affected by what people say. People would say she looked like a boy or they would just laugh at her with their friends. She became one of the toughest strongest kids I knew just because she had to be.

My sister is now in fourth grade. She is happy and strong. She refuses to wear a wig because it just isn’t truly her.  She has a reliable group of friends and the teachers and staff all care about her and want to help her out. Besides a few stupid remarks from mean inconsiderate people, my sister hardly ever gets picked on. She feels comfortable enough to be herself and I wish the same could be said for other kids.

The sad reality is that a lot of kids being bullied don’t have as great of a support system. Teachers send bullies away with a tap on the wrist and the bullied become even more of a target. All these students want is a way out. They want a voice there for them to say the things that they are too scared to. I wish one day that all students can be heard. I also hope that they can hear me when I say- It gets easier.

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