Blog
featured image

Being Bullied Informs My Animal Advocacy


Being bullied has lasting effects. I’ve never forgotten my experience, but it also informs my work for animals on a daily basis. Listen to today’s commentary for KQED Radio

Supporters make this work possible. Thank you.

 

Listen to this KQED Radio Commentary


Read The Transcript

I was 16 years old when a classmate began threatening to kick my…well…butt. I had done nothing to provoke her, but for weeks, she terrorized and terrified me until finally she named the day — the day she was going to find me and hurt me.

Friends warned me not to go to the promenade that Friday; she would be waiting for me; but that’s where I went every day, and I figured getting beaten up was better than living in fear of getting beaten up.

That was 30 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday, because it was the day I learned what I — and the world — was made of.

A crowd had already gathered by the time she arrived to find me sitting on a bench. She approached aggressively. A few friends who had been sitting next to me got up and left me by myself. She cussed and screamed at me to get up and fight. With a shaking voice, I told her I wasn’t going to. She hit me hard across the face. Another friend walked away.

Tears welled up in my eyes from the pain — and from feeling utterly alone.

Voices from the gathering crowd yelled out for me to hit her back. I wouldn’t.

Before I knew it, she hit me hard across the other side of my face. At this, the crowd began turning away; fights aren’t fun when they’re one-sided. At that point, it’s just blatant cruelty.

She left me alone after that ”because,” she said, I “wasn’t going to play.” I saw it differently. I saw a coward whose cruelty became clear to her that day — and to everyone else who bore witness.

I also saw cowardice in those who didn’t stay with me, and I vowed never to be passive in the face of violence. Two years later, I became an advocate for animals after learning about the violence perpetrated against them on a daily basis — unprovoked and unwarranted. Ever since, I’ve been sitting next to them on the proverbial bench holding up a mirror to the one-sided fight they endure every day, and I’m proud to be their witness and their defender.  

.

Listen to Past KQED Radio Editorials of Mine


Listen to Animalogy Podcast

The new Animalogy Podcast is about the animal-related words and expressions we use every day and how they reflect and affect our relationship with animals. Learn more, subscribe, and listen!

  • I love this, Colleen. Thank you for sharing your story, your strength, and for using your voice to help all who are oppressed. xoxo

  • Dee Sunstrom

    Dear Colleen you turned poison into medicine and here you are living your lovely vision of respect and love for animals and humans thank you for sharing your gifts. Blessing Dee

START YOUR JOURNEY WITH A FREE STARTER GUIDE + RECIPES!
as seen on
Feedback