Anti-Bullying Week: 'I became a high school bully after being tormented for being gay'
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While being bullied at school is sadly a common occurrence, not many people would admit to being the bully themselves. But 24-year-old Matthew Dodwell has spoken out about the self-reinforcing, vicious circle that drives childhood bullying. The marketing executive from Birmingham admits: “I preyed on people weaker than myself.” His experience is actually quite typical though, because before that he was the one who was picked on. A huge survey by leading anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label found a quarter of those tormented turned into tormentors themselves. It also found one in five children was bullied every day with around one in eight admitting to being perpetrators. Matthew said being picked on “changes your character” and makes you “lose faith” in the essential goodness of people. He said: “I thought it was just the nature of the high school food chain. I’ll never forget this one art class when I targeted this girl who was from a really poor family. “We were doing this papier mache project and a big headline on one of the newspapers read ‘Poverty’ so I cut it out and stuck it on her back for everyone to see. She was clearly so upset, mortified. “But it gave me a heightened feeling, you know, to hear people laughing with me, at something I’d done. “There was another boy with severe eczema who I was horrible to in front of a popular group. I was really really awful to him, he took a lot of abuse.”
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