Stop bullying, how I did it, and it took courage and action

When I didn’t stop bullying

At the end of 1977, having just completed year seven at Payneham Primary School, I was looking forward to joining Marden High School.  The school had a good reputation, and it was just down the road from my home.  It wasn’t long until I faced bullying from two students, Tony and Frank.  They were much bigger than me, and mother nature delayed puberty for me, and this made me smaller and an easy target for bullies.  Their IQ levels appeared to be lower than average, and that made me a bigger target. I performed well as a student and got better grades than them.  The bullies would regularly verbally and physically abuse me, and it affected my mental health significantly. I didn’t stop bullying, and I believe it affected me for the rest of my life.

Definition of Bullying

The Bullyingnoway site gives a definition…

“Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).  Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.  Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.”

At school, I did nothing to stop bullying. Within a few months puberty kicked in. I grew taller, and the bullies moved on to other targets which were less powerful than them.  I wish I had taken a stance against them, whether it was by talking to a teacher, or my parents, or facing up to the bullies themselves.  From that point on, I decided to stop bullying, and I did this in my working career and personal life.

The bullying I faced after my disability

While I was still in rehabilitation following my accident, a nurse commenced a relationship with my wife. This was another bully misusing power against me.  I was in a vulnerable situation, and the nurse took advantage of this.  When a bully gets help from another person to bully someone, then the helper is also a bully.  So once again I faced two bullies. The nurse was reported to SA Health and AHPRA.  I took action to stop bullying.

The AHPRA tribunal handed down their decision. They found the nurse to be guilty of professional misconduct and disqualified him for two years. They suggested he shouldn’t reapply.  His actions were a grave departure from the standards expected of a nurse.  The judgement included details of the lies by the bullies.  The nurse gave an unqualified apology for his behaviour. However, this occurred after seven years of bullying and lies. The apology wasn’t given to me.  It was a case of too little, too late. It was only given to AHPRA in an attempt to lessen the penalty handed out.

The bullies tried to lie to the professional body of medical practitioners in Australia, and they failed.  I am sure the lies continue about me (and others). Given their track record, who is going to believe them? Most people take responsibility for their behaviours.

Another bully I faced is SA Health, as they found the nurse had acted appropriately!  How could SA Health get things so wrong and think their nurses can perform this way?

Further reading about the Bully

Visit the following sites to continue reading about this topic

  • South Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal – Tribunal cancels nurse’s registration for improper relationship with a patient’s spouse
  • Adelaide Now “SA male nurse caring for man paralysed by freak accident seduced his patient’s wife, is struck off register”
  • Adelaide Now “John Duthie became a paraplegic, then his wife left him for his nurse. Now he has found a new sense of purpose — with the ex-wife of the nurse who betrayed him”

p.s. have you ever wondered about how a person with paraplegia sleeps – click here to find out.

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