Bullying, Writing, and Hope:
Why I’m Supporting Dolly’s Dream

Today, I want to delve into a topic that’s deeply personal and has significantly influenced my writing. It’s a subject that’s often difficult to discuss, yet it’s something that many of us have experienced at some point in our lives. I’m talking about my experiences with bullying, specifically childhood bullying. I’ve written about this before previously, but today I want to talk about something I’m intending to do about it.

 

My Personal Experience

Growing up, I was no stranger to the harsh realities of bullying. Primary school is where I think I copped it the most; threats of violence from boneheaded bullies were common. And there wasn’t really anything to be done about it: unless you’d been physically attacked, the school didn’t care, and even if you tried to tell an adult about the problem, that was considered “dobbing” and worthy of social pariahdom (more so than actually bullying people, interestingly).

By the time I reached high school, I’d learned that showing happiness was just asking to be taken down a few pegs. Bullies were always on the lookout for someone to bring down, thriving on the misery of others, and a smile was an invitation for them to strike. Whether through threats of violence or cutting remarks, they found ways to turn happiness into pain. And for the longest time many teachers thought I was unintelligent because I tried as hard as possible not to show emotions (I must have looked like a gormless moron).

These experiences shaped who I am as an adult, and not always in positive ways. The trauma of bullying in my childhood has left its mark, manifesting in negative traits that I still grapple with today.

 

The Impact on My Writing

These experiences have found their way into the pages of my upcoming book, Ethereal Malignance, influencing the characters and the challenges they’ve faced. My protagonist, John Wedgewood, is a 19-year-old black man living in the early 1990s and has experienced a great deal of bullying and systemic racism throughout his life. I empathise with his struggles despite the fact his childhood was far more difficult than anything I’ve ever experienced.

While bullying is a significant theme in the book, it’s not the main plot. The story is a supernatural thriller, after all, with John’s experiences forming the backdrop to a tale of suspense, mystery, and danger, and not just from human threats.

 

Supporting Dolly’s Dream

In light of my experiences, I’ve decided to support Dolly’s Dream, a charity dedicated to creating positive change and a safer environment for children. Dolly’s Dream was set up in memory of Dolly Everett, a 14-year-old Australian girl who took her own life after an extended period of bullying.

The charity was established by Dolly’s parents and aims to raise awareness about bullying and the potentially devastating effects it can have on children and teenagers. They work to create a world where children are safe, and where bullying is a thing of the past. More specifically, they work with schools, parents, and children, and run a free 24/7 support line. Their mission resonates with me deeply, and I am proud to support their cause. You can learn more about their work here.

 

Donation from Book Sales

In an effort to contribute to this cause, I’ve decided that for every sale of my upcoming book that produces at least $1 in profit*, I will be donating $1 to Dolly’s Dream. This decision is not just about charity, it’s about taking a stand, and about making a difference. It’s about using what small platform I have to raise awareness and contribute to a cause I believe in. (*This “at least $1 in profit” comment is to cover me in case something goes weird, and, for an exaggerated example, a retailer somehow sells 1000 copies of my book for 1 cent each!).

 

Conclusion

Bullying is a universal problem, and it’s something that we, as a society, need to address. It’s not enough to acknowledge its existence; we need to actively work towards eradicating it. I believe there’s a lot more awareness and recognition of the problem than back during my childhood, but with newer technologies, there are new, more insidious forms of bullying like cyberbullying. Through my writing and my support for Dolly’s Dream, I hope to contribute to this effort in my own small way.

In sharing my experiences and the themes of my book, I hope to encourage people to think more and talk more about bullying and its effects. I hope to inspire empathy, understanding, and ultimately, change.