It's scary how easy it is to become a bully yourself.
Singapore has the third highest rate of bullying globally. With almost one in five students reporting that they experience some form of bullying a few times a month, bullying has become a common experience blighting the growing up years of many Singaporeans.
When Youth.SG asked for submissions of stories of bullying, we were surprised to find stories shared not only by victims of bullying, but by bullies themselves.
Here are some stories that show not only the painful effects of bullying, but also how surprisingly easy it is to become a bully.
I thought I was protecting myself and my friend
"When I was in lower secondary, I bullied someone unintentionally. My friend was confiding with me about her conflict with this person, and the unhappy memories I also had with that person came back to me.
In the heat of the moment, I went on social media and started ranting and scolding her publicly, pouring out all my unhappiness online. A friend of hers told me to stop as she was crying as she read the posts but I ignored her.
After posting, I slowly started to regret as I realised how harsh I was to her with my words. Until this day, I still regret it. From then on, I realised how much of an effect words can bring to a person." – Chanel Ho
"After that incident, I understood how words can heal and also hurt."
POSED PHOTO CREDIT: AMANDA KOH
Befriending the bully
"A classmate spread untrue rumours and accused me of something I didn't do. Half the class turned against me, excluded me from various discussions and lost faith in my ability. I lost faith in my own ability as well, and cried every night for two weeks. I hated her.
The next year, we were in the same class again but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and gave her the chance to explain herself. I realised that her acts were a result of her insecurities.
"I felt sorry for her and tried to help her overcome her insecurities."
PHOTO CREDIT: ONG WEI LIN
We're friends now and I try my best to support her in everything she does." – Ong Wei Lin
"That was the username of an account that someone created to hate on one of my friends, a relatively popular person in my school. I don't know exactly what Jane felt about the whole thing, but she disappeared from social media after that.
The person who created the account was never found out and what struck me the most from this incident was how easy it is to anonymously bully someone else in today's age of social media." – Amanda Koh
I used to be a bully back in nursery
"This girl was being bullied in my class because she had autism, and in an attempt to fit in, I joined in ostracising her.
I remember very clearly one incident where I insisted I was using all the shared crayons (though I clearly wasn't) during an art lesson. She didn't have any stationery to do her artwork and ended up handing up a blank piece of paper. The other kids were proud of me for what I had done, but I felt guilty and cried when I got home.
"She never did offend me, but was a very nice person."
POSED PHOTO CREDIT: ONG WEI LIN
Perhaps I was lucky to have gotten a second chance to redeem myself, because we ended up in the same primary school. I don't think she remembered me, or how horrible I was to her, but was just as friendly and nice as before.
I hope I've been a good enough friend these six years to make up for all the terrible things I did. And I hope one day I'll find it in myself to apologise to her straight up, and hope that she will forgive me." – @twxrls4ndsp4rkl3s
TEASER AND BANNER PHOTO CREDIT: ONG WEI LIN