‘Chatty’ Hornchurch boy whose world came apart at hands of bullies
- Credit: Archant
Looking back on his school days with a glimmer of sadness, a freelance writer is determined to help children stop bullying by passing on his experiences.
Aaron Kumar, 30, of Hornchurch, has been putting pen to paper for the past three years and is releasing his novel, Having The Last Laugh, which is based on his own experiences, to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week.
He said: “It is something that has been in the making for quite a while now so I am relieved that it is finally going to come out.”
Aaron was described by his teachers as a very “chatty and confident” child, but when he went to senior school, his confidence came crashing down as he began to be bullied by his classmates.
He said: “It was a horrible time for me because I didn’t know what to do.
“My parents knew something was going on, but they didn’t really know the full extent of it.”
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has reported that almost 45,000 children contacted ChildLine about bullying last year and more than 16,000 young people are absent from school due to the effects of bullying.
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A ChildLine spokesman said: “We must ensure young people have the confidence to speak out against bullying, so that they don’t feel isolated and without anywhere to turn.
“Bullying can happen to anyone at any age and it can be extremely distressing for children and young people.
“No one has the right to hurt someone else or make them feel bad.
“Bullying isn’t simply a part of growing up and it shouldn’t be accepted as such.”
After he left school, Aaron wrote short stories in his spare time, but it was only when he came across his childhood diaries that he got the idea for the book.
He said: “I was just flicking through all of the things that were going through my head at the time and it kind of brought it all back to me.
“I knew it wasn’t right at the time, but reliving it made me convinced that I needed to do something to try and help others.”
He spent the next three years working on his novel, which is aimed at helping children aged 11 to 16.
He said: “I’m writing for children that are the same age that I was when I was bullied, because I feel like I can relate to them and the emotions they are feeling.”
As well as sharing his experiences in the book there are advice and tips on how to put a stop to bullying.
He said: “Getting help and admitting that there is something is wrong is the worst part of the whole situation.
“No one can help you until you help yourself and the only way this can happen is telling someone what is happening.”
When Aaron is not coming up with ideas of how to help the children of today, he is holding fundraising events for the Brighton-based anti-bullying charity, Ditch the Label.
Aaron has set himself the challenge of playing a 12-hour singles tennis match for the cause.
He said: “The charity does some amazing work both in terms of supporting victims of bullying and spreading a very genuine and profound message of equality.
“I feel very proud and humbled to be representing such a worthy cause.”
Havering Council has put together its anti-bullying strategy this year, and has teamed up with the Havering Local Safeguarding Children Board, transport providers as well as the police in a bid to help children across the borough.
Aaron said: “Bullying is not something we should just ignore – it is something we need to focus on.
“We can’t let children just suffer in silence.”
Cllr Meg Davis, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “We always welcome anything which aims to tackle bullying in schools, particularly in this modern age when bullying can exist in many different forms, including online.”