Guest Blogger; Ruth from "let's be splendid about this..." shares some of her experiences with us!
So, I have a younger sister, she's 16 now. I'm the first to admit we argue and fight as much as any other pair of siblings. I'm not proud of it and whenever we argue, I feel horribly guilty afterwards. But she is my little sister, and as such, I love her, whether we are racing each other in the pool, playing the PlayStation's or watching The Simpsons; her favorite show. I am protective of her.
Now, she is mildly autistic. She finds it difficult to adjust to new routines, she doesn't like loud noises, she gets easily freaked out and socially, she finds it difficult to fit in. However, she is able to go to a mainstream school. This mean's she faces mainstream problems- like bullying for example. It'd be difficult to find someone who hasn't been subjected to it. But my sister is not able to defend herself, like most kids. She doesn't understand but she knows she is being made fun of. I couldn't protect her; I was in a different school. She went to one with better integration facilities. But the amount of times she came home in tears, because of some stupid little bitch or group of dickhead boys had been teasing her made me want to march myself right up to them and yell until I was hoarse.
It probably wouldn't do much good. For all I know, they would laugh at me and make fun of her more. My solution to dealing with little shits like that is to simply walk away. I have never felt the urge to bully someone or make his or her life miserable like that. And to pick on someone who is more vulnerable that most, is the most cowardly act I can think of.
One time, I had to pick my sister up from school and bring her home on the train (she won't go by herself, she is unsure of public transport). So I did and as we were sitting there, a group of boys walked past from her school. She stiffened. They pointed and laughed, knowing that this is all it would take to stir her. I felt like saying "You think you're so funny! I'd like to see where you are in five years time; sniffing paint and on the dole I bet!" Or something along those lines. Even just to say "Fuck off!" would have been bliss. Not a very witty retort, is it? That's why I sat down again. All I could do intone to my sister was "Ignore them, they're not worth it." And she looked at me and said "I know, I just ignore them now".
This year has been much better. She talks about her friends she sits with at lunch, and there have been much less teary days. She's a lot stronger than some people think. But what makes me sad is that people like these boys will always exist. And not everyone is as strong as my sister.
I want to thank you, Ruth, for sharing your sisters story. I am well aware of the affects of autism and know how difficult it can be on the child and their life. And children like those you describe in your post come from home where I wish I could beat the living shit out of the parents. Because, let's face it, it all starts at home. You are right; little shits like that will always exist and I am so glad to hear that your sister has the ability to rise above them, know it has nothing to do with her and everything to do with their own self esteem (or lack of it). And it also saddens me to know that there aren't other suffering as she or the effects of bullying that cannot see past the assholes the bullies are. It's one of my biggest peeves. My son is five and already suffering the effects of being bullied. They start younger every year. And while a good "FUCK YOU!" might feel good, it does nothing but make matters worse. So kudos to you, your sister, your family. You have grace, class and poise that will win this battle.