BEATING THE BULLIE: A young Donna Jones was the victim of brutal, relentless bullying. She shares her powerful, disturbing story with us today.
BEATING THE BULLIE: A young Donna Jones was the victim of brutal, relentless bullying. She shares her powerful, disturbing story with us today. Contributed

'They spat, punched, blew snot in my hair, then it got worse'

This friday is National Day of Action Against Bullying - share your stories and together we can help stop the bullies. contributed

WHAT would drive a 12-year-old to attempt suicide?

The same thing that drove a 15-year-old to attempt to end her life 30 years ago.


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In Year 8 at my high school I became the target of relentless bullying.

It started as taunts and jibes. Boys mainly, calling me ugly and fat, but soon everyone was joining in.

The words hurt but I tried my hardest to ignore them, thinking if I didn't react, eventually they would get tired of it.

It didn't work.

Instead, they started physically abusing me and humiliating me.

Everything from flicking my bra strap to spitting at me, to deliberately hitting me in the corridors with their school bags, to pinching and punching me.

Boys would hold me down on the playground and "hack loogies" on my face.

Some would blow their noses on me and wipe it in my hair.

The worst humiliation though, happened in a hot summer's maths class right before the end of Year 9.

One of my tormentors squirted a "popper" down the back of my plastic chair and then told everyone I had wet myself.

The entire class laughed and jeered and as a teen, filled with hormones and desperate for the approval of my peers, I was devastated.

Looking back, it seems like such a small thing.

But at that moment, my whole world collapsed.

Donna Jones. Living in Style feature writer, Gympie. Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times
The Gympie Times feature writer Donna Jones. Patrick Woods

I couldn't face the thought of going back to school at the end of the summer school holidays, where I would have to face those people once more, where I knew I would be tirelessly tormented, ostracised and made to feel worthless.

So I did something stupid and then went to bed praying never to wake up.

But I did wake up and the first thing I did was throw up the toxic combination of pills I had consumed the night before, washed down with half a bottle of ouzo.

That's probably why I am still alive today.

But boy, oh boy, was I sick. Mum took me up to the hospital when I started to throw up my black stomach lining and they monitored me all day, before announcing that the toxin levels in my blood had sufficiently dropped and I was able to go home.

My mum never said a word about it. She never asked me why.

But there was such a profound sorrow in her eyes and I knew I had devastated her.

I lied and told her I had been sleep walking - that I didn't remember doing it - but I know she knew.

And that look of grief on her face is what got me through the rest of my schooling.

When it got so bad and I wanted to give it up because it felt like the torment would go on and on, I would see my mum's face, that look of devastation, and that would stay my hand, and make me realise I would only be passing the hurt onto my family.

I never knew why I was a target.

I never knew why the bullies chose me.

But the psychological scars have stayed with me and I still have issues with self-worth, confidence and insecurity.

I'm pretty sure, I have some form of psychosis as a result of the torment that was visited upon me during my formative years.

But that has also given me the strength to stand up for those who are being down-trodden.

It has given me the fortitude to fight for those who are at the mercy of bullies.

It has helped to forge me into the person I am today - one who will not stand by while those who are insecure tread on others to feel powerful.

I know the change starts with me and everyday I try to be the change I want to see.

I hope others will see my example and follow it.

If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 1114 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or visit