‘They pushed me in the corridor, threw random things at me across the room. The bullying went on for five years and it impacted me a lot.’
18-year-old Nathan McCard is sharing his personal experiences of being bullied in the hope that it encourages others to speak up and get help.
Along with 19-year-old Kurtis Doney, he is campaigning with Fixers to encourage young people who are being bullied to speak out.
Their story was broadcast on UTV Live on July 6th.
Nathan, from Lisburn in County Antrim, says the bullying started in primary school.
‘It was more verbal abuse at the beginning and then when I went to secondary school it became physically abusive,' he says.
‘It impacted me a lot, my confidence went down, I wouldn’t talk to people. I’d be at the back of the classroom, head down, not listening or speaking up.’
Kurtis was aged seven when the bullying started, shortly after he moved to Northern Ireland from England.
‘I came from a different country and had a different accent which some people didn’t like,' he says.
'They said I shouldn’t be living here, I should go back to where I’m from and if I didn’t they threatened to kill me.
‘There were a couple of occasions where they physically hurt me.’
Marie Wright, service manager at Start360 - a charity that supports young people in Northern Ireland - explains the different forms of bullying and the impact it can have.
‘Bullying can happen on all sorts of levels from one-off incidents to consistently over a period of time,' she says.
'The different types of bullying include verbal, physical, emotional and cyber bullying.
‘If young people keep things pent up and don't talk about it, it may come out in frustration, anger or sometimes in extreme ends; violence. Other young people become depressed and withdrawn.’
She praised Nathan and Kurtis’s campaign.
‘Nathan and Kurtis’s project is really, really useful. When young people hear about experiences of bullying and how they were dealt with, they are more willing to listen.
'Getting the confidence to talk to someone who may be able to get you help is the most important thing.’
Nathan explains why he didn’t tell anyone about the bullying for so long.
‘I was afraid of the bullies coming back even more. It was more fear than anything. I thought it would get worse,' he says.
'But one day I told a friend and he encouraged me to tell my parents. They involved the school and after a week or two the bullying stopped.’
Kurtis appeals to young people not to waste their lives hiding because of bullies.
‘Talk to someone. It will set you free. My life has changed so much since the bullying stopped.
'I’ve loads of confidence; I can talk to people without feeling nervous. I want to help others who are going through what I went through and tell them, it will get better.'
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.