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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

I Did Nothing But Watch

This a a true account from a girl who at one time befriended a boy who lived in an orphanage. I met Billy in 1st grade and we went through the ranks of the public school system in South Carolina. He was a quiet boy but as cute as he could be with big brown eyes and brown hair.

My earliest memory of him was seeing him sit alone in the cafeteria at lunch time as was the case during recess. After school he had no mother picking him up.

By the time we entered 3rd grade he was a target for every bully there was. At the time I literally protected him. He was so very polite and when my parents finally met him they came close to adopting him.

I was the oldest of three girls so more kids in the house wasn't in the cards but my parents would pick him up on occasion and bring him over. He was just happy to be around a family. He loved helping my dad in the yard.

I always thought I was a good person but as I grew up I became self centered and I soon forgot about the little boy who had become my very good friend. I ended up being a very pretty and popular girl.

My dad ended up making a very good living so we had a big house and cars and all sorts of materialistic things. As we entered junior high I began to catch some grief for being friends with him and it didn't take long for me to start shutting him out of my life.

Billy existed in a world that many will never know. The orphanage he lived in was far different then what you have now. It was so institutional. Almost prison like. He never complained... even when he was wearing used worn out clothes.

The non-stop taunting he endured in grade school became violent as we entered junior high. Whereas at one time I would get him away from a bad situation I now turned my back on him and soon would do something far worse.

One of the last times he attempted to speak to me was around Thanksgiving 1978. I had been ignoring him for months which in turn caused even more people to harass him. Every week he was pushed down, kicked or just verbally abused and I stood back and did nothing.

He gave up trying to talk to me as my family had shut him out too as I lied about him to them, said he was a drug addict which was so untrue and made up so many stories that I can't even remember. Anything to keep him away as I had my all important social life. The empty look he now carried on his face was my doing but I didn't care.

Right before the Christmas Holidays of the same year I heard a knock on the door and I heard my mom answer it. It was Billy and he had a Christmas Card for me. She came to get me and I know he heard me say "tell him I'm not here"... Mom told me later that he in fact had heard me and his eyes filled with tears as he stood there.

I looked out the window as he walked away. I knew what I was doing was wrong as the brown eyed boy walked off but I was consumed in my own selfish world.

Several days later school would be out for two weeks as the holidays were here. I had made jokes that Billy had tried to give me a Christmas card having no idea what that statement would turn into.

I was walking to the parking lot where I heard a lot of commotion. Billy was surrounded by several much bigger boys... His shirt was ripped almost off his body. His lip was bleeding, his cheeks were bruised. The crowd was laughing and egging it on. "what a dork...you gave her a Christmas Card...SHE HATES YOU >>FU$%ING CREEP" My heart sank as I had told everybody about it.

He was so bruised up and he truly looked petrified. I stood there and did nothing as he was brutalized. I don't know who did it but a soda bottle shattered against his head as he fell face first to the parking lot. Blood poured from his nose as they kicked him several times in the face and stomach. His thick brown hair was covered in blood from the gash the bottle left... His cries for help wake me even now from my sleep. I stood by and did nothing.

I'll never forget the look on his face as he rolled over and those big brown eyes made contact with mine. He looked to be in shock as his faint voice said "why was i ever born" sobbing as he spoke...

A piece of me died right then as I had watched for years now as this sweet gentle boy was beaten to a pulp and all at once my self consuming life ended as I had so let him down.

One by one everyone walked away as I attempted to help him up. He never looked at me nor said a word. He limped off never looking back.

I walked behind him begging him to stop but I was as guilty as everyone for what they did to him. I realized that Billy was just alone. He had no one...

Christmas 1978 will be one to remember... An unmarked police car pulled into the driveway as my father walked rather fast to the door as the bell rang.

We listened from behind the wall and I can repeat verbatim what was said. "Sorry to bother you sir and no one here is in any trouble but do you know this young man?" He had Billy's school ID and the bottom line was they had found my address in his jacket pocket and were trying to find his next of kin.

Of course there were no next of kin and after much prodding by my father and Billy being an orphan he said "This young man was found dead in the park a few blocks from here... it was a suicide:

Billy had hung himself and he left a note saying he was just tired of being hated. My dad went down to identify the body. Dad passed away a few years ago and he too carried the guilt that I do.

There was no real funeral. My family and a few people from the orphanage and the principal of the school... 9 people paid their respects as he is buried in a grave with a small headstone... It's like he never existed.

I am 47 now and I believe in God. I deserve his wrath... I have talked to my pastor about this and he says God will forgive me... I don't deserve to be forgiven.

I hope it was ok to share this. I don't have any children but I felt this should be told... Doing nothing cost this boy his life...

Comments for I Did Nothing But Watch

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I did nothing...
by: Anonymous

What a powerful letter. So sad but honest. In our small town there has been a bullying incident two weeks ago that has caused a young boy to go on a rampage and do destructive things to property... next, it will be another's life, or his, if this horrendous bullying isn't stopped.

Your story says so well what I have tried to explain that if we do nothing while watching a bully attack, the damage to another's soul is enormous... I know only too well the pain of standing alone while others watch the bullying and do nothing.

by: Anonymous

All he had to give was his heart. How do you live after that rejection? Breaks my own heart. May he rest in peace.

You are already forgiven ... make amends forgive yourself
by: Lisa

God has already forgiven you. You need to forgive yourself. Instead of beating yourself up, take some concrete action. You've already started in the right direction by sharing your story. May I suggest:

** volunteering to speak at grade/high schools - you might save a life - dedicate it to your friend. Let his life and death mean something.

** volunteer at a suicide crisis line

** make this experience count for something more

God Bless!


by: Anonymous

That is the saddest story I have read in my life? I'm close to the same age as the author and as guilty as you feel... teenagers including me did some really stupid things... that poor little guy... so sad?

I can't help but wonder if anyone else remembers him the way you do??? I agree? you're going to be forgiven... I wonder what the cannibals that brutalized this young man think now years later.

I wonder if they ever feel guilty?? I'm sure many of them went on to be success's in whatever field they chose.

I wonder if they ever think back to a young life they helped snuff out...

You need.
by: Anonymous

To be locked in a small room with no food or water, left to starve. If there is an after life, this boy will never forgive you. Horrible person.

Forgive Yourself - I Do
by: Susan

I was blown away from your story. I too knew a boy in school named Billy. Everyone was unkind to him - even the teacher. I had been nice to him because I felt sorry for him. But soon i started to catch a little grief for being nice.

One day in the 5th grade we had a dress up day - almost any costume was acceptable. Weird clothes, whatever. Billy put on a dress. He was cruelly teased all day worse than he had ever been teased before. He begged the teachers to let him go home and change and they would not. They seemed to take a certain pleasure in letting his tormentors continue.

Finally, at the lunch hour he approached me, hoping for one kind word from someone. I wish i could say that I was kind or at least neutral, but no- i failed miserably and made fun of him like all the other kids had done. He ran out crying.

All these years later I have begged God to forgive my cruelty and most of all my cowardice. And to make matters worse - I have been bullied, not only in school, but later in the work place through the years.

All I can say is that we must forgive our own weakness, as we must forgive others. When i have tried to forgive others for bullying me and cannot, then I remind myself of how I failed Billy. I can only pray that God watches over him.

Please forgive yourself - God does not hate you - He is in you and understands. He knows the strong desire of a young girl that wants to fit in and be accepted.He knows you regret it . He knows. You were just a young girl at the time. Think of the story of Peter, who denied even knowing Christ when he was being crucified. God understood his fear and not only forgave him, but made him the rock of the church.

Bullied Daughter
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your story. My teen daughter is going through the same right now being the bullied party. I am crying now at all the pain she has endured for so many years and everyone turns it around to make it look like it is her fault. Because of a false rumor about her she has had to endure indescribable years of pain and suffering and still is today! God Bless you for your remorse. HE does love you and does forgive you!

Anonymous Mom

by: Anonymous

I lived what this young boy lived and almost went the way he did. I'm a middle aged man now and the pain from my younger years has never left me. I managed to get out of high school. Finished college but I have never had a life outside of my career.

It's my fault from not getting passed it but I was shy then and the target I became forever changed my life. The lady that wrote this story answered a question for me as I often wondered what people think years later after being so cruel. I believe her when she says she carries so much grief over this boys tragic death. Just reading this makes me so very sad...

I lived it all. Hearing of a party you know you wouldn't be invited to. Sitting alone during lunch only to be hunted down and beaten up. When I finally graduated from high school it was like being paroled.

My parents finally understood that graduation day as my name was called and the most ugly comments were yelled out and they heard them. What should have been a happy day was so hurtful. I felt so ashamed as I just wanted my parents to be proud of me. I had hidden so much from them and that day they saw it first hand. That was a big stage to be onn

Nobody came over to say good luck to me.
My mom watched as other students posed for pictures with their friends as I had no friends.

They have both passed away now. I will never forget that day as it was awful. I live completely off the radar. I go to work and I come home. People think I'm just weird but I'm very normal.

It is so obvious that some things never change but get worse. Phoebe Prince is all the sad proof I need to know things don't change.

God rest her soul also...


by: Anonymous

omg!! are you serious?! i was bullied horribly by a guy with a knife and his friends,his girl friend tormented and tortured me outside of school from ages 8-16 and in school kids would beat me up and no one did nothing or said nothing to help me either! i could never get away from bullying so when i was 17 i left school and now i stay inside cause all my friends haved on. in school friends and out of school friends.. but this is just insane whats a matter with you?!

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