Australian teen takes to Twitter to fight bullying

UPDATE: 5 June 2012 Dylan Raven has been nominated for the Child of Courage Medal in this year’s Pride of Australia Awards. He now has over 1500 followers on Twitter.

16-year-old Dylan Raven is working his way towards becoming a Twitter superstar. Not for personal fame and glory, like you might expect from a more typical Gen Z kid, but to draw attention to the issue of bullying.

Dylan has been bullied for more than four years. After an enjoyable and uneventful time at his primary school near the NSW/South Australia border, Dylan became the target of high school bullies from the start of year 7.

“It started with name calling and throwing pencil sharpeners, erasers, anything they could get their hands on,” says Dylan. “Then when I started year 8 it turned into physical violence.”

Dylan reports that one student grabbed him and rammed his head into a brick wall, resulting in bruises to his face, and another tied a cable around his throat and tightened it during class. The teacher had not witnessed this incident but Dylan showed him the cable, now in pieces because it had to be cut off when he had trouble breathing. Dylan says the teacher, who was a casual, did not believe his story. The 13-year-old left the room and went next door to his twin sister’s classroom – where he says her teacher told him to go away. He then went to the Principal’s office, who recorded Dylan’s complaint and said he would follow it up, but Dylan says he did not.

“One student grabbed Dylan and rammed his head into a brick wall, and another tied a cable around his throat and tightened it”

After a year and a half of torment, Dylan was suffering anxiety attacks, was scared to go to school and had contemplated suicide. His psychologist recommended he not return until he was feeling better. Dylan completed just two terms out of four in year 8. He was still planning on returning to the same school in year 9, when he found that one of the bullies had thrown another student into a wall. “I thought, I’m not going back there,” says Dylan. “I don’t want that happening to me.”

Dylan and his twin sister Shelby moved to the other local high school together, at the start of year 9. Shelby has never been bullied, and she always stuck up for Dylan. He says the bullies never did anything when she was around.

Dylan and twin sister Shelby before year 10 prom

Dylan with his twin sister Shelby, before their year 10 prom last year

Dylan and Shelby both settled well into their new school. Dylan says he still gets bullied but he doesn’t feel the same physical threat.

“If I’m walking down stairs people will try to trip my legs and make me fall down the stairs, or if I’m walking with my folder they’ll try to pull it out of my arms and send my papers flying everywhere. But I feel a lot safer at my new school.”

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Comments

  1. Well done to Dylan for taking a stand against bullying. It is so important for our schools to take these matters seriously and protect the children in their care. We also need to devote more attention to why kids become bullies in the first place and work out a way to stop children feeling the need or the right to persecute others.

    • Asian Mum says:

      My kids were bullied in school too, until I sent them to learn Martial Arts, it trains reflex and it gives kids confidence just with that air, the bullies stay away from him.

      • Hi Asian Mum, I can see how martial arts would help give a child an air of confidence, which might help put off the bullies. It would be nice to not feel fear – but also to not have to use those skils.

    • Janine I think you are spot on about needing to better understand the motivations for bullying.

  2. Wow well done Dylan, your story has given me motivation. Everyone has suffered from bullying but not everyone has the courage to do something about it!

  3. I am so glad to see this article on your site! I first saw it this week as a highlight on the news when I logged on to the MSN homepage. I read the news article and went straight to Twitter to follow Dylan and show my support for his campaign. I wish him success with his future journalism career – it’s off to a great start!

  4. I am so glad to see such a brave person. My brother was bullied that badly during high school, that he could not leave his room or the house without having a panic attack. The bullying occurred everyday in front of other students and teachers. It got that bad that a student put his hand on a drill press and other students pinned him down. Why a student drilled a hole in his hand, and nothing happened to the bullies. It is people like you Dylan who give the helpless a voice, showing them that there is still hope. It has know been over 10 years and he still panics when he thinks about high school.
    Recently my nephew (has Autism) who is a prep was bullied by a grade 6 boy which the school protected. This occurred while a teacher was watching and refused to stop it. It is sad to think that the schools are more concerned with their reputation and the protection of a bully rather than the victims.

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