A victim of horrendous bullying as a teenager has spoken out about his experiences as part of a national campaigning week and has told other victims: “You are not alone.”
Peter Glover, aged 20, from Leigh, was bullied for being gay as a teenager at his secondary school after he came out aged 14.
He experienced verbal and physical bullying from fellow pupils which have had a lasting effect on him.
It was only through joining a local support group that he felt able to be himself without fear of bullying.
Peter has spoken out as part of Anti-bullying Week supported by Wigan Council who are offering helpful advice and support to people across the borough as part of their #BelieveImOnlyHuman campaign.
The Believe campaign aims to generate a sense of pride and cohesion in the borough so that everyone feels welcome and safe.
Bullying, and the rise of cyber-bullying, is a huge issue in all parts of the country with one in five young people in the North West having experienced bullying in the past year.
The council has supported pupils in school who are bullied with the successful roll-out of an app called toot toot to help make reporting of bullying easier and confidential and has also earmarked resources to help young people and parents cope with the issues of bullying and cyber bullying.
However, for Peter as a youngster there was little support and he felt very isolated when he came out as gay and the bullying started. Peter said: “That’s when everything changed. People made fun of me and I wasn’t allowed in the boy’s changing rooms for PE and I had to get changed in the boy’s cubicles.
“It was very traumatic and I had stones chucked at me. I felt very isolated and it changed me. I have depression and anxiety as a result of being bullied.”
Peter was helped through joining the BYOU Plus group an adult community group offering support for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
“BYOU changed my life completely,” he said. “Before I was a scared little boy who wouldn’t socialise with people. I joined BYOU and I ended up realising I could be myself with other people.”
Peter’s confidence is also shown through his drag identity Lunaa Rose. “Lunaa is me as a confident me. She boosts my confidence and shows people who I can be,” he said.
Peter is now passionate about making other young people who are being bullied feel able to speak to someone about what is happening.
“Through the BYOU groups in Wigan borough there is always someone to speak to. You are not alone.”
If you are aged 13 to 19 you can contact BYOU on: firstname.lastname@example.org
For 18+ visit www.byoupluswigan.com or email email@example.com
For more information on bullying visit: www.linc2.gov.uk
To pledge your support to the #BelieveImOnlyHuman campaign visit www.wigan.gov.uk/believe