Willing To Be

I was bullied at school too ¶ March 14

CBBC presenter Gemma Hunt

Bullying can affect anyone - CBBC presenter Gemma used to get picked on when she was at school.

And then she made friends with someone else who was being bullied.

She told Newsround her story:

"When I was in Year 8 I started to get bullied by a girl in my year.

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My tutor group twinned with hers for some lessons, so I saw her quite a few times in the week but she mostly chose the Spanish lessons to pick on me.

She would say sarcastic comments about me doing well in class and mutter horrible names under her breath.

And then, strangely, she also managed to turn a few of my so-called friends against me.

They also started to join in with the jeering, which was odd as in other lessons when she wasn't around, they would be fine towards me.

Saying mean things

In PE lessons she would also get other girls in her class to say mean things behind my back - but so that I could hear, or try and trip me up or hurt me during the games.

It used to make me feel sad, especially as I thought I was getting picked on just because I was enthusiastic and enjoyed school.

Gemma comes out of the TV to share her story with Jack

Gemma comes out of the TV to share her story with Jack

I thought that the girl who was ring-leading the bullying felt threatened by me, so she was attacking me to make herself feel better.

I also realised that some friendships can be false, especially with the girls in my class who were usually my friends. Some people just go along with the crowd to fit in.

But I never retaliated or did anything back to them - I didn't see the point in sinking down to their level.

I suppose I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of seeing that she had got to me.

Telling someone

Now, I think it would have been wise to have told my Spanish or PE teacher, so that if they caught her doing anything towards me, they could have picked her up on it.

The same girl that bullied me was part of a group of girls in my year who also bullied someone I knew.

But like me, she didn't seem to tell anyone about it.

Gemma and Jack in the Newsround special programme about bullying

Gemma tells Jack her bullying experiences in the Newsround special

I would hear the girls call her names behind her back and to her face. They would mock her clothes, her religious upbringing and her appearance.

They wouldn't chose her to be on their team in PE or sit by her in assemblies.

At the time, I didn't know her well enough to encourage her to tell someone about it and didn't feel strong enough to stand up for her for fear of being bullied again myself.


I knew that was cowardly, so I thought the only thing I could do was to befriend her instead.

We found a common interest (including sharing the same birthday!) and slowly became friends.

As time went by the bullying seemed to lessen so I never had to directly talk to her about it. Instead I became more confident and I would stand up for her by teaming up with her in lessons or for homework.

I think that someone, maybe even the girl being bullied DID tell teachers in the end.

I do feel ashamed that I didn't say or do something sooner than I did, but I will always admire the girl for the way she dealt with such mean bullies.

In fact, going through this with her has made me really strong willed today, when it comes to standing up for people, I really don't hold back now!

Gemma, CBBC

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