I just finished watching 13 Reasons Why. Every one seemed to be raving about it. I’m not usually one who is interested in what every one else is watching. I usually go for more sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural type of shows. How ever I had trouble finding something to watch, so I thought I’d give Thirteen Reasons Why a go. To be honest, at first I didn’t know what all the fuss was about at first. I can really resonate with Hannah’s story. At first it seems a bit to high schoolish for me and initially her reasons may even seem petty but they are not petty at all. Each time she is treated with disrespect it contributes to her loss in self confidence and loss of hope. The snowball effect of bullying in high school is real, it keeps accumulating until the person can’t bear it any more. I know because I’ve been there. Hannah and I have a lot in common. We were both bullied at school and had false rumours spread around about us. We were both treated badly by guys and also girls who were so-called friends. We both had experienced sexual assault and attempted suicide. However Hannah was successful in committing suicide and obviously I wasn’t because I am still here and now glad to be here.
The sexual assault I experienced was by a family friend. It started when I was four and the last time was when I was twelve. There was a gap between eight and twelve years old because we moved away and we didn’t see them until we went back for a visit when I was twelve.
At the beginning of year seven I had my first kiss and the boy spread rumours around the whole school that I bit him on the lip. He also said I was a slut. I had become known around the whole school for being a lip biter. That was the beginning of my reputation as a slut. It was my first kiss, so I thought well maybe I did bite him on the lip. It wasn’t until a year later that I found out from another girl who that boy had done the same thing to her the year before in primary school.
My friends kicked me out of their group and said I could no longer sit with them. It was partly because of the snowball effect of the lip biting rumour and also because I talked to a girl named Rebecca who they thought I shouldn’t be talking to. She wasn’t so-called popular, however Rebecca was a far nicer person than they were and I’m glad I spoke to her because she has now been my best friend for twenty-four years. If I had been successful in committing suicide I would never have experienced good friends.
At school girls would walk behind me chanting ‘slut, slut, slut’ or ‘cow.’ When I went into classrooms ‘Kym is a slut’ was written on the desks. The slut shaming happened at the same time I was going through the court hearing for the sexual assault I had experienced. Some how the sexual assault became known around the school which added to the slut shaming. I had one girl call me a slut and I said ‘how can I be a slut if I’m still a virgin’? She said ‘I know your not a virgin because you’ve been raped’. I don’t know how she knew that but she had the details wrong. I was sexually assaulted multiple times and he did attempt to rape me when I was four years old but I was still a virgin. I saw the school counsellor a couple of times, she had a word to some of the girls who were also former friends but it didn’t seem to do much, I think it made it worse. The last time I went to see the school counsellor she seemed uninterested, quickly cut our time short and sent me back to class.
Later in the year I was sent on a school camp for kids who were having trouble. There were kids at the camp from years 7, 8 and 9. A girl from year 8 had asked me if I’d have sex with one of the year nine boys. I said ‘No’ but then when we went back to school he told every one that it was me that asked him to have sex with me. This further contributed to my reputation as a slut. I am just so thankful there were no smart phones or social media back then, it would have been even more horrific if there was. Sadly a lot of kids who are bullied don’t get to escape when they go home from school because social media is a 24/7 thing.
During this time my Mum had a huge argument with my Dad which resulted in him yelling ‘She’s not my real daughter, go and find her real father. Mum says she told me he wasn’t my real father but I can’t remember. She may have told me when I was younger but I must have been too young to understand or remember. Sleep paralysis was another thing that began while all these things were happening. Of course I didn’t know it was sleep paralysis at the time. It was very frightening to wake with a loud ringing in my ears, not able to move or speak. I also had hallucinations with the sleep paralysis and the things I saw weren’t very nice things at all. I thought I was dying or that I was being attacked by demons. I don’t seem to get the sleep paralysis any more.
I began self harming, in some weird way the self harming felt like a release, it felt good. When I was fourteen I actually did write a suicide note and drank some Betadine from the medicine cabinet. I didn’t do anything though, I didn’t die. So what happens after you unsuccessfully try to commit suicide? Well I ended up changing schools and I was no longer bullied. If I had been successful in attempting suicide then I never would have changed schools and made new friends. I was still damaged though, experienced depression and also was binge drinking. Although the drinking is not highly unusual for teenagers. I did up end hospital once from drinking too much. Smoking pot was also a big social thing for a lot of kids at my high school. I acknowledge that marijuana has medicinal benefits however it can be quite damaging to those who have anxiety or other mental health issues. Pot made me extremely paranoid, gasp for air, twitch and once I even saw weird, distorted faces everywhere. The other kids made fun of me because I couldn’t hack it. As much as every one else enjoyed smoking pot, It was something that was very damaging for me. I now realise that my anxiety is the reason why marijuana affected me so badly.
I left home just before I turned eighteen and moved to Sydney. Whilst working in a café in Sydney I was stalked by an older man, so I left that job. I had a couple of relationships that didn’t turn out. I was so insecure and had such a big need to be loved and accepted that it resulted in poor relationship choices. I was searching for something and went through a born again Christian phase in my early twenties. At twenty-four I married some one who could be quite controlling at times. I also experienced physical and emotional domestic violence in that marriage. The one time I called the police on him, they took him away in the paddy wagon and released him straight away. That was before all the recent domestic violence awareness. When I left my marriage, I left with nothing except my personal belongings. I didn’t get anything from the house and also left the pets behind. At the time I was very upset about losing my cat and dog.
I’ve now re-married, we have four beautiful children, I have good friends, hobbies and feel a lot better about myself. I won’t lie, my marriage is far from perfect, we are having a lot of issues at the moment but he is a good person, a great father and I will never regret getting married. I never would have experienced these things or would have seen the good in life if I was successful in committing suicide. I have had many good experiences including working at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, working as an extra in the move Moulin Rouge, studying and travelling overseas. This is why I’m passionate about awareness and being involved with issues such as mental health, domestic violence, changing attitudes and empowering women. I know what it’s like to be hurt and alone, I also know that it doesn’t last forever. I still do struggle but every day I remind myself I am good enough and I am doing my best.
If you are struggling, I want you to know that your difficulties won’t last for ever. Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before life gets better. Life is worth living, it won’t be easy but all the difficulties in my life have helped me to grow, learn and become an even better person. If you are struggling I want you to know you are important and the world needs you. We are all beautiful in our own way and have something unique to offer this world. As long as your doing your best, then that is enough. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Other people being arseholes is a reflection of them, it isn’t a reflection of you. You deserve to be treated with respect, you deserve to be loved and you deserve to live a good life. Please never forget this, even in your darkest moments always remember that all the love is with in you, all the strength is with in and all the happiness is already with in you. You won’t find it outside of you, all the power is already with in you. Don’t ever let any one else dim your light or take your power away.
#saynotobullying #suicideprevention #mentalhealthawareness #believeinyourself #13reasonswhy