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My name is Jelena, I was attacked just like this girl, on the same wall, in the same school. They used to call me "snaggletoothed" and "Scarface", and here's what I have to say

"Come on, now, get up in front of everybody and say that I am a rabbit". His "crew" already laughed at the "genius" idea of their "leader", my friends were confused and they looked at them. He then stood up and ordered even louder "Hey snaggletoothed, can you hear me, come, get up"

A Teenager has beaten a girl last Wednesday around 19 h in elementary school in "Ljuba Nenadovic" in Zarkovo because she is older than her, and she just had the need to "bully the younger girls". So they say. This is just one in the ocean of examples, the peer violence is becoming a growing problem and terrible things are happening. To make something clear, there has been violence before, just not this much. But there weren't so many social networks and phones before.

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It is terrible that the officials react only when terrible videos appear on social networks and they disturb the citizens. There weren't so many phones and internet before. However, there wasn't as much peer violence, nor it was this brutal, but there were other problems in those times.

24 years ago, on the same wall in "Ljuba", I was sitting with my friends during recess, nine-year-old Jelena, an excellent pupil, born by accident with cleft palate and a split lip, also known as a bunny lip. But no one was bothered with that who is mature and well educated, but there, there were those individuals who liked calling me "bunny" or "snaggletoothed face" or "Scarface". They perhaps felt better when they said that. They used to make fun of other children who had some deficiency or flaws: "look at this fatty", "look at the blind one", "Look at the one who can't walk" - for crooked legs or similar.

I would lie if I said that it didn't bother me, in the beginning, and then I realized that I have wonderful friends who don't even notice that. I had a wonderful childhood and very good school days thanks to the lovely children I was surrounded with, and there were a lot of them. Besides those few moments that were problematic when certain individuals tried to insult me and to show that they are better and more powerful, I think that we were too little to comprehend that that was something stronger or some bigger, more sinister and more severe need.

I was sitting on that same wall, in 1993, and a problematic boy from another class approached me. He comes with his "stud" attitude, just like those "mean" kids liked to walk, with his three friends, because that is the only way he is fearless and strong, and he said: "Come on, now, get up in front of everybody and say that I am a rabbit". His "crew" already laughed at the "genius" idea of their "leader", my friends were confused and they looked at them. He then stood up and ordered even louder "Hey snaggletoothed, can you hear me, come, get up". Of course, I was afraid, my legs didn't work, the boys are stronger, who knows what they can do to us. There were no school police officers at the time.

Printskrin: Jutjub

However, the "crazy" as I am, chaotic and I won't let anyone stand against me, I realized that I can't allow him to see my fear. I don't know how, nor where, from the deepest and most suppressed parts of my tiny soul, I gathered all possible atoms of strength and spite, that only "special" children have - I got up. I told him the loudest as I could "No! Why are you looking at me? Are you deaf? No! And what are we gonna do now? What will you do to me?"

He didn't expect the answer like that. He was expecting me to get scared, just like other children he liked to harass. He expected me to cry, to show that it struck me, whatever... he didn't expect resistance. He just left, from the shock.

The kid never again harassed me, imagine that. Guess I wasn't interesting to him anymore, because I am not afraid of him. The fact that I was crying in the toilet after that and that I was frozen out of fear is less important. The important thing is that he didn't see that.

And really - what could he do to me? In the worst case, he would hit me (and he really didn't), to hurt me physically, there are institutions for that where you report it. And he wouldn't do it of course, because the bullies are strong only when they harass others. "And while they are in a "crew". They are the weakest on their own. Especially when they need to answer for their actions, then they are the smallest in the world.

Foto: Profimedia

Since that "kid" harassed various children, he used to go to the principal of school psychologist for a talk many times. He would freeze in fear every time, and you could see the great panic in his eyes, so large that you wouldn't believe that it is the same person. He even cried once when they took him to the principal. Really brave boy and he is such a stud when he harasses others, no tears then?

This recent story is the proof for that: a teenager found out that the video appeared on social networks and she is terrified of the consequences. She actually went from one extreme to the other: she tried to take her own life, which is the most terrifying part. Fortunately, it all ended with no tragedy and she was provided with necessary medical help.

I just hope that she realized that no one has the right to harass anybody in any way and that it is perfectly fine to be afraid and insecure, but also that you don't solve anything with violence. That "leaders of the gangs" and "tough girls and boys" are far away somewhere in the past. That love and tolerance make the world go around.

The question emerges where is the school police officer in these kinds of situations and why wasn't he there... They couldn't comment on the event in the school "Ljuba Nenadovic" because the investigation is still ongoing. I found out from the parents of the children who go to this school that the school policeman is not here all the time, he comes from time to time, every second or the third day.

The school has security, but allegedly, they saw nothing and they heard nothing. I am asking around: Who is to blame and who "failed"? What would happen if there was some sharp item, or even more dangerous, a weapon? Does some scandal have to occur for the authorities to react and to take the problem of school violence seriously?

It is known that this isn't the first case that a school policeman "fails". On the other hand, "in my time", there weren't any school policemen and we somehow managed to function without them. You have to work with children a lot, to recognize the aggressive and problematic ones and to work with them more, to talk with their parents and guardians. Something has to be done. To punish them, if that is really necessary. 

My example 24 years ago is a real proof of peer violence - both verbal and physical, it has always been like that and it will continue to be like that, but the level of aggression is changing with the time we live in, unfortunately. Those are children and they are just learning to be good people. Those are children who need our help to fight with similar demons, dissatisfaction, fears. We are not all the same and we don't express uncertainty in the same way. Violence can't be anyone "release valve". 

But, we have to stand up against violence. Not to run from it and don't turn your head. Ask for help, escape from the bullies, anything. We mustn't just stand and watch someone hit us, insult us! Of course, it is not alright to respond in the same way. No way. There is always a way we can use to stand up against the bully. There was always one. We chose our own path and how to deal with our problems. It is difficult, but it isn't impossible. 

I am just one in the ocean of examples and my "case" is pretty harmless. I got over that a long time ago and I live with a normal life, but I am firmly committed to all forms of equality. We all have the right to freedom and happiness and no one is supposed to be the victim of any kind of violence. You always have to have that in mind and teach your children to be good and honest people and never to laugh at anybody!!!

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(Telegraf.co.uk / Jelena Odabasic Dzordan)

Tags: Balkan news, Child, Children, Daily news, East Europe, elementary school, Fight, Girl fight, Girls, Ljuba Nenadović, Peer violence, Serbia, Trauma, Violence, Žarkovo