I don’t “fit” in the group
Juventud Rebelde shares the testimony of a Camagüeyan teenager who suffered harassment and abuse in her school and needed the specialized accompaniment of the psychologist to overcome the complex situation.
By Olga LIlia Vilató de Varona
Published: Thursday 18 April 2019 | 09:05:39 am.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
CAMAGÜEY: It is usually very pleasant to talk with a little girl; however, I confess that on this occasion it was not. The subject of bullying (bullying, no matter the term) hurts. I promised her and her grandfather, who accompanied her, that I would not publish her name for various reasons. I asked her to call me, nothing about you.
Daniela, that’s what I’ll call her, when she’s only 13 years old and in 8th grade. She’s lived through undesirable moments for anyone, especially at an age when illusions abound, but they can even fall into anguish. I came to her story because she had gone through a therapy group for teenagers, led by José Eduardo Vázquez Benítez, a graduate in Psychology and Defectology.
-Tell me how the discomfort began, how did you get to such a hard trial?
-I started to suffer from this problem in the 7th grade, because I was the one who didn’t fit into the group. Another thing was that another little girl was considered the best and from that moment on, I surpassed her in Chemistry and Physics and everything began. Now I think it was because I was a student, I got good grades and I never “blew” on others in exams.
“They called me crazy, scared and a lesbian, the latter because I didn’t have a boyfriend. Especially the “scared” and also the “punctualita”, for that TV series.
-Did you tell the teacher and the director? Did they take action?
-Yes, the teacher scolded them sometimes, but they didn’t change. The principal found out, but she didn’t do anything and, luckily, she’s gone. Now we have a director who has taken care of me; he’s the one who changed my group.
-Did you tell your parents?
-Of course, they began to realize that something was happening to me, I told them and then they went to school.
-But you stayed in the same school…
-Yes, although I wanted to go to another one, my mother and my grandparents advised me that I should face problems and not run away, because it was something that could happen to me somewhere else and I wasn’t always going to [be able to] escape.
-How did the family support you in the face of this unpleasant event, besides taking you to the psychologist?
-They helped me a lot. In fact, they gave me affectionate advice and accompanied me to group therapies, where we talked about our problems, we opened up, we all did it. It gave me the strength to continue.
-Did your academic performance drop as a result of these difficulties?
No, because I have continued to study and make an effort, and I plan to do my pre-university studies in the Vocational [program].
-How would you describe the suffering caused by the rejecting attitudes you received?
-Like something big, I suffered a lot; I wasn’t used to mistreatment, I cried every day, and I was terrified to go back to the classroom. In my home, they love me very much. I have three brothers and thanks to their advice and that of my whole family we asked for help from the specialist.
-Are you doing well in the new group?
-Better. There is more discipline, I have more girlfriends and so far I have not been treated badly. My teacher keeps order and the first day I arrived in that classroom she asked her students to treat me as if we had been together since the first day of school.
-How do you feel now?
-Well, it’s all happening now.
-In this classroom, there are probably other smart students like you…
-Of course. That’s good, what I don’t like is that they brag about it and make fun of those who aren’t so good.
-Have you ever been in love with a boy?
-I’ve been told “I love you” and things like that, but I’m a child and I want to study, and I’d like to have a boyfriend when I’m in love.
-What subjects do you prefer?
-Biology, Geography… almost all of them, except Mathematics.
-What do you plan to study?
-Medicine. I don’t have a clear specialty; I’ll see in due course.
-Did you ever think you didn’t want to live?
-I don’t know if it was that way, but I had no motivation whatsoever, either to go to school, or to go out. It was as if I was worthless. I locked myself in my room, stayed in my bed and didn’t even want to eat. I became very depressed. I tried to isolate myself from everyone who hurt me, and then they kept saying things to me. It was terrible.
-You must never not want to live, life is always divine and there are more people who love you, at least in quality, no matter the quantity. Have you thought about that?
-I know, and especially my family.
-How would you face another similar situation if it happened?
-Without violence, because I am not aggressive, but with intelligence. I learned that now. Besides, my behavior has been described as excellent and I want to keep it [that way].
-Would you dare to give advice to boys your age?
-Of course. First of all, don’t let them be bothered. They must be strong, face everything, and if they don’t get it, then they must communicate with their parents, teachers, and a specialist to help them.
-You have to love yourself and yours. Don’t stop studying, or pursuing your dreams…
-Of course, I must tell myself that I am pretty, intelligent and always think positive.
It’s good to know that school bullying is a worldwide problem, and has physical, emotional, verbal and cyberbullying nuances.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE WEB
(unedited machine translation, but easy enough to grasp.)
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 10:00:31 am.
The bullyin is something so unpleasant and unfortunately so common that it is embarrassing but in my experience never affect me because I really care about a face…… what other people think of me the only opinion that matters is mine, and I faced the mockery or criticism in two ways the first thought of the thought of our apostle Jose Marti if sad is not to have a sad friend but sad is not to have enemies because he who has no enemies has no talent or anything that is envied, the other way to face the mockery and bad criticism and the one that caused me more pleasure was to break their faces and make them bleed to those who mocked me after that I took so much fear that I surrendered or guataqueaban, because they knew what I am capable of doing with my intelligence and my violent and aggressive character.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 10:13:17 am.
Olga Lilia: the school is a melting pot that shapes the personality of new generations. A good teaching staff not only teaches the content of the different subjects; it is not only prepared to combat bullying, but it also knows how to sculpt the souls of its students so that they may be good people, and practice solidarity, love and justice. Well-educated children cultivate responsibility, discipline, good feelings, respect, good manners and shame. Hence the importance of educators being academically and professionally trained and mastering the art of teaching, taking into account necessary tools such as pedagogy, methodology, means of teaching, psychology etc. The financial investment that gives better fruits, greater profits and very valuable results is the one related to the sphere of education. A well-educated people translates into well-being, savings, prosperity; it translates into culture, hygiene, public service, competition, functionality; it translates into ethics, morality, efficiency, patriotism, decorum and human quality. A well-educated people will always commune with beauty, honesty, hope, harmony and happiness.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 10:52:28 am.
As a former teacher and as a member of the LGBTI community, I believe that bullying is a phenomenon that we have to put an end to, especially in schools. I never allowed any kind of rejection in my classroom for any reason. I always encouraged respect for the human being and acceptance in all my students. It is unheard-of to see that this kind of behaviour is going on in our country and the worst thing is that there is no institution to which you can go to denounce and that measures are taken in this regard, including imprisonment for violation of Article 42 of the Constitution in force. I have been a victim during my time as a student because I am a homosexual and I have not yet been able to forget it. But I imposed myself and I was able to overcome all obstacles and today I am a happy and fulfilled person and of course the support of my family was vital.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 02:01:10 pm.
Alejandro, thank you for your comment and also for being such a Master, that’s how it should be. Your experience? although you never forget it, surely made it stronger and that’s why it’s the happy you are today.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 01:20:29 pm.
Excellent article I also suffered from that problem in high school and I had to choose to apply brutal methods of physical violence to eliminate choteo, as time goes by I do not feel well at all to think of the damage I caused.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:54:03 pm.
Palax , thank you for your opinion. He weighs his own attitude because it is not violent by nature, perhaps if he had been guided by a professional would have resolved the same without getting to do what does not go with his personality. I’m glad he served you.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 01:31:13 pm.
The best advice comes from the house: Mom, Dad, grandparents and other relatives. There are single mothers who raise their children very well on the basis of “respect, love” and then understand those around you. It is a subject of centuries this is not new nor it appeared now in this epoch. There are those who physically can be said to be full of defects however they have a strong self-esteem capable of knocking down “stones” just with the look. And how do you do that? It occurs to me that the most self-confident person is the one who has finally understood what “beauty” means.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:56:34 pm.
Thank you for your comment. I understand your criteria, only in this case is a girl of 13 years and at that age not infrequently requires the help of a professional, fortunately your family is very well harmonized and your support was great.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 01:57:47 pm.
Olga Lilia: self-esteem is a human need; it is basic and essential in the magical and complex process of life; it is indispensable for normal and healthy development. It has survival value. Not having a balanced self-esteem impedes our spiritual growth. If it is adequate, it acts as the immune system of the consciousness, giving it strength and regeneration capacity. When it is low, our resistance to the adversities of the time decreases. If we encourage (as politics) mediocrity, marginalism, servitude and dependence, we will obtain individuals with feelings of inferiority, insecure, prone to isolation, shy, introverted and incapable of conquering successes and much less of incorporating altruism, trust and decorum into their personality. People who really reject each other, underestimate each other and misunderstand each other, are not usually happy. Self-esteem allows the individual to face reality with greater decision and optimism, and therefore more easily achieve their goals and achieve, through work and merit, their self-realization. To understand this is fundamental and it is in benefit of the human relations, because the development of the positive self-esteem, increases the capacity to treat the others with respect and gentleness, favoring this way the enriching interpersonal relations and avoiding the destructive ones. Love for others and love for ourselves are not opposites. Quite the opposite. An attitude of love towards oneself is found in all those who are capable of loving others. Paradoxically, most people seek self-confidence and self-respect outside their heart, which is why they are doomed to failure. Self-esteem is best understood as a kind of spiritual or mental achievement, that is, as a victory in the evolution of wisdom that provides spiritual serenity, favoring, in turn, the enjoyment of existence. The state of a person who is not at war with himself or others is one of the most significant characteristics of healthy self-esteem. True self-esteem is not expressed through self-glorification at the expense of others, or through the eagerness to be superior to others or to lower them to elevate oneself. Arrogance, banality, celopathy, machismo and the overvaluation of one’s own capacities reveal a mistaken self-esteem, and not an excess of self-esteem. Let us say no to the obtuse manipulation that hinders the culture of respect for diversity and the full dignity of all human beings. Let us say no to the senseless, violent and patriarchal philosophy that sows revenge, hatred and resentment in the collective conscience. Let us say no to the ideology that imposes dogmas, absurdities and cravings to the detriment of love and happiness. Let’s say no, to the recycling of prejudices and conventionalisms that murder self-esteem, virtue and hope.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 02:56:45 pm.
Olga Lilia: fighting bullying with violence is like putting ourselves at the same level as bullying. Intelligence is having a good heart; intelligence is looking for alternatives, where humanism, humour, respect and good will are manifested. Intelligence is to populate our foreheads with stars so that they illuminate the path that passes through the temple of altruism and culminates in the summit of perfectibility.
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:51:48 pm.
In effect Mártivarela, and that has been the goal of the help group with this purpose, which also includes children with addiction to technology or cyberaddiction, is also known as Internet addiction disorder (IAD), and with very good results, the girl in this testimony has a family that has helped her and with the vision to take her to the specialist. She was already another at the time of the interview, without a doubt, her intelligence and the support received were more than unpleasant events. Thank you for your comment and I hope it is not the last…
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 04:51:56 pm.
Of course, the subject of self-esteem can not only be commented through the so-called “choteo”. There are many ways to “isolate” a human being, to harass him until he “alienates” himself. Abuse goes beyond classroommate to peer. From co-worker to boss and from this to subordinate. In my particular case to avoid what the first forista writes I prefer, in occasions, to isolate myself. Sincerely I despise the arrogance but…it has been the tracer bullet, you forgive me. You don’t have to do it the way I do and you don’t have to agree. I simply think that each one reacts and acts according to his heart…it still beats me ? …yes ? It means I can still survive. Thank you.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 |
Friday 19 April 2019 | 08:32:30 am.
Is that there are no laws that bring parents and students who bullying before a judge?
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:50:12 pm.
Hello, I appreciate the kindness of Juventud Rebelde for this publication, and to readers who have used some of their precious time in leaving their comments, Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona.