I joined KEGS as a girl in the sixth form some years ago. It’s been so heart-breaking reading through other people’s experiences and seeing that so little has changed since my time there.
When I rejected one of the boys in my cohort, he and 2 of his friends set out to make my life miserable, and they succeeded. I was a larger girl – a source of great insecurity for me – and this was primarily what they used to ridicule me, highlighting just how undesirable I was whenever they could. Things were said about me behind my back (which, as we all know, at school, is never really behind your back), on Facebook, to my face, once even shouted at me across the common room.
Though the abuse only came from a handful of people, the laughter, likes on Facebook, and deafening silence of the rest of my cohort was just as disgusting.
My school attendance plummeted, as I just couldn’t face not knowing what was coming each day, and my education suffered as a result.
When my mother finally convinced me to let her speak to the staff about what was going on, she was really pleased with their response and felt as though I was in good hands. As far as I’m aware, these boys were not punished or even spoken to at all regarding their actions. An assembly was conducted to our year group where it was painfully obvious that it was my situation being discussed, as became apparent when people came up to me afterwards asking if it had been about me; the assembly did not address the overarching issues at play and simply expressed disappointment in bullying behaviour. Unsurprisingly, the torment only got worse after this.
On one occasion I confronted the ringleader of the abuse at a party and asked him why he insisted on treating me like this. He simply laughed and told me it was because I was ugly, that I reacted, and that it was funny to him; and, therefore, he would not be stopping.
This was the beginning of years of cripplingly low self-esteem, disordered eating, and body image obsession that I am still working through today.