Fiona Scott-Norman
Bullying Survivor
Female | Sydney, New South Wales   Australia
"Most unpopular kid"
Bullying Type: Emotional
Posted By: DrSpin
1/23/13 8:18 AM
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Fiona Scott-Norman, also a bullying victim - ''the most unpopular kid at the largest mixed boarding school in Europe''.
Scott-Norman suggests her subjects drew strength from being bullied and it helped them to become what and who they are. ''I think if you're a creative, the chances are you were bullied,'' she says.

''I think it's how artists are made. You have to turn in on yourself to keep yourself occupied and safe, you read, you play an instrument, you write … you do your own kooky thing. Once you've left school that becomes a huge asset.''

But it's tough. Around one in six Australian students report being bullied at least once a week.

Bullying takes a range of forms, with verbal tormenting the most common and physical assault the least. It has been happening forever but, as Scott-Norman notes, cyber-bullying has added another level of complexity, although its levels and effects are yet to be well researched.

Bullying most often occurs in the last years of primary school and first years of secondary, as the tall Scott-Norman well knows.

At primary school a teacher gave her the affectionate nickname Spider, for her braids and gangly limbs. On her first day at a grammar school in England she made the mistake of revealing her unflattering moniker.

''The second I said the word I knew deep in my marrow that I'd f---ed up really badly. I was Spider for the rest of my time at school … People I didn't even know were mean to me. I was bullied by random strangers.''

Scott-Norman's father was also a shouting bully and she spent most of her teenage years walking on egg shells. She was very lonely and says the repercussions lingered into adult life.

When she learnt that so many Australian children experience bullying, Scott-Norman began thinking about how some former victims had emerged from their school-yard hell to become not only successful and talented but popular.

Her subjects jumped at the chance to tell their stories - but others she approached still found it too hard to discuss. Nevertheless, she says, the message she wants kids to take from the book is that there's no shame in being bullied, it's happened to the best; that you don't have to fail just because you're bullied; and that there's life after high school.

''I think a large part of the despair that comes from that ostracism and dislike when you're younger is your sense that this is going to be your life forever. Afterwards I kept waiting for people to realise I was unpopular … it took ages for me to realise, hey, school's over,'' Scott-Norman says.

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Posted By: MrMonroe | 1/23/13 1:58 PM
I am well into my 40's and I still dont like bringing up stories about my bullying circumstances. Each person deals with it in a different way so it doesnt surprise me that some people turned down her offer to share their story.We spend our entire lives trying to escape it and if we bring it up again we are reminded of the haunted times.
Posted By: yodannysams | 1/24/13 11:09 AM
school a teacher gave her the affectionate nickname Spider? Thats messed up! If my scool teacher nick named me after a creepy-crawly i'd be offended!
Story Details

Name: Fiona Scott-Norman
Age: N/A
Country: Australia
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Gender: Female
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Maiden Name: N/A
Relationship Status: N/A
Profession: Other
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