It Won’t Last Forever

It started in 5th grade, where a viscous rumor spread that I was a lesbian. Despite it’s complete absence of truth, my female peers (10-11 years old) started bullying me by making rude remarks about my clothing and hair, calling me every insult like “homo, freak, lesbo, carpet muncher” and worse, and sending me harassing emails with threats and statements such as “Do you know why you’re a nasty lesbo? Because you’re so ugly and gross that no guys like you so you had to become one” and “Lesbians are evil and don’t deserve to live like the rest of us. Please save us all and go kill yourself.” (This was back with AOL and you could add a background to your email – the favorited was rainbow stripped with the female gender symbol with two identical, interlocking circles.)

My mother eventually discovered them and reported this to my school, bringing in copies of the disturbing, graphic emails. A “mediation” was held with the two girls who sent the most emails, although proved pointless because there were no repercussions for their actions, which only led to more, much worse abuse.

I anticipated high school for it’s possibilities of new friends and a fresh start. Unfortunately, my clean slate was very short-lived, and the torment and rumor mill picked up right where it left off. But the middle school bullying did not even compare to the pain, humiliation, and emotional damage I experienced because of the bullying in high school. My freshman and sophomore year I dealt with similar incidents and comments as middle school. Junior year until my graduation, the torture was unlike any other, and that nobody should ever have to face.

I had been dating somebody since the completion of my sophomore year. In mid october of my junior year, homecoming weekend, I decided to attend a party after the dance, where I was a victim of sexual assault. I was distraught, confused, scared, and overwhelmed. It was absolutely devastating; you would think people would turn and support the person in need, but unfortunately in my situation, instead of being supported, I was further mocked, ridiculed, and harassed.

For the next three months, the torture was unlike anything I’d seen or experienced. My peers spread rumors, the most common being “I lied and said I was raped so I wouldn’t admit I was cheating on my boyfriend.” Pornographic images were drawn of me in the bathrooms, specifically me giving a blow job. In addition, in one of the bathrooms, taking up the entire length of the stall door, it read in all caps “ANDIE MANGOLD IS A SLUT”, with other comments around it like “whore”, “she has herpes too”, and “lesbo”. My house was egged. I received many prank calls, where people said, “you’re such a slut”, “you’re nothing but a liar, you weren’t raped, you really wanted it and you liked it,” and much, much worse. My phone number was changed, but somehow people still managed to get a hold of it and prank call. 5 times I went to my high school administration and asked that they remove the writing of me being a slut. They said they tried to scrub it off, but since the door is hard plastic they can’t just paint over it, and there isn’t enough money to replace it. That message was left on the door for 4 years, 2 years after I graduated, where my sisters were responsible for dealing with comments from their peers about it. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. People then started calling me anorexic.

5 days after turning 17 in early January, I was committed to a hospital because the abuse in school was so bad that I was going to attempt to commit suicide. I stayed there for the remainder of my junior year, struggling to finish my schoolwork for my honors and ap classes. Once again, instead of being supported, the rumor mill continued, as people said things like, “She killed herself”, “She got pregnant and that’s why she had to leave school”, etc. Not only was this destroying my life, but also the lives of my sisters and friends, who had to deal with this while I was away.

I returned to school for my senior year. The administration was going to hold me back a year because of all the schoolwork I missed. I insisted that this was not an option, and their compromise was that I no longer take honors classes and take college prep instead. I struggled to complete my work from my junior year as well as complete my senior year work simultaneously. I couldn’t apply to any colleges until it was all finished, and it severely hurt my GPA and transcripts. Somehow I managed to get it all done, and applied to Rowan University on the last day they were accepting applications. Although my grades were not quite where they should’ve been to be accepted, the deciding factor in my acceptance was my essay, which was about my painful experiences and fight to survive my high school years.

The bullying continued throughout the year until my graduation in 2009. The one thing I really remember thinking that day was, “I’m finally free, and against all odds, I survived.”

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2 Responses to “It Won’t Last Forever”

  1. Sarah Barlow | November 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Listen, i know how this feels. My friend (whom is very close to me) and i were through the same situations together growing up in middle school and through to high school. i was harassed by people i didn’t even know and they barely even knew my name. i have been cheated on, lied to and tormented by the people who supposedly cared for me and were supposed to be my friends.

    I was in the 11th grade (which was last year for me). i had been recently dumped by a close friend and we had been friends ever since. i walked up to my locker at the end of school one day with a note slid through the slots. i opened it up and i nearly passed out becuase of the horror it brought me. the note said stuff like “you should just save us all the touble and kill yourself anyway…” and “i would hate to be as ugly as you” and even “why don’t you just go cry to your daddy!”.

    The reason why i felt bad in the first place was not because of the harsh words they said to me but th mention of my dad. My father has Hepatitis C, he got it from a bad blood transfusion. it was enirely unfair for them to say things like that. Not just about me but about someone who is dying of an illness that is untreatable and relentlessly painful. it was unfair and i am still shocked from this day. i was so upset that i threw that note away and never wanted to see it again. i was ashamed and a few times even considered suicide but i could never even think about brining myself to it. i was in shock and from that day forward i wanted to be in my school’s prevention club to stop things like this from happening.

    it is now my senior year and i am gad that i never made that decision! stories like this make me think about life anf it brings me joy when people make it out of these situations with shoulders to cry on!

    Stay strong! we’ll make it though together!

  2. Sarah Spading | November 13, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    I am so sorry for what you went through. That is something that no one should have to experience. I was bullied back in middle school and i remember thinking to myself, “how could anyone be so cruel”. I was ready to quit. I hated everything and everyone, i remember shutting everyone out and my parents began to notice. I transferred schools and now i am a senior in high school with honors. I wish you the best. You are the perfect example to me to prove that you can survive. Thank you for not giving up and pushing through. You did it! I want to congratulate you for that. Your story is amazing and it touched my heart so dearly. Thank you for sharing. :)

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