A RATHFRILAND mother has spoken out about her teenage son’s torment at the hands of bullies.
Amy, who did not want to include her surname to protect her son’s identity, said her 15-year-old son has broken out in eczema and suffers from severe stomach pains as a result of the verbal and sometimes physical abuse he has endured for the past three years.
The teen’s mother said her son has become withdrawn and quiet because of the constant bullying he has been the victim of for most of his secondary school life. And the childhood abdominal migraines he had almost recovered from have now returned amid the stress. Amy said her son can sometimes pass out with pain.
Speaking ahead of next month’s anti-bullying week, Amy told the Leader, “My eldest son has had a horrible time with bullying. He can barely open his mouth to speak, he doesn’t want to make eye contact - it has really affected him.”
The mother-of-four is appealing for people to take the issue seriously and to show their support for The String Movement, a global anti-bullying organisation.
“People can dismiss bullying very easily,” said Amy. “But they need to realise it is not just a mother being over-protective. It is something that deeply affects a child and they can carry that right through into adulthood. Bullying tears people apart.”
Amy, who said her son’s school principal has been very supportive since she contacted him in recent weeks, admitted she has found it difficult and frustrating to see the effect her son’s bullies are having on him.
“I’ve just been watching him deteriorate over the last few years,” she said. “It’s very difficult. People always say that when someone is bullied they have no voice and I never really understood before what that meant. But now I know. Someone who is badly bullied cannot physically speak out against it.”
As part of the Hillsong Church’s String Movement Amy, who is a member of the local branch of the Hillsong Church, said she hoped to raise awareness of the issue locally by speaking in schools.
“Im hoping to raise awareness in the area and maybe get a chance to go into schools to speak,” she said. “I am just a mother in Northern Ireland who wants to support this by raising awareness and sayng well done to the guys in Hillsong for taking a massive step and speaking out and supporting those hurting.
“This is more than just raising awareness, it’s holding out a hand to those who have been affected and saying ‘I’m here to support you and be your friend.’”