Riyadh revealed that he was bullied "pretty much the whole way through school" and that it mainly consisted of homophobic name-calling and being humiliated for the way he spoke or dressed, with occasions of physical abuse when his head was pushed into his locker.
"I hated every minute of my childhood at school," he said. "I thought I would be a guinea pig for you — to show that after time passes, your bullies just end up being normal people, they're not evil, it's not some scar that should remain there forever."
He then called one of the men who bullied him when they were kids, someone he hadn't spoken to for years.
Watch the full video below:
When you're being bullied it can feel like the end of the world. So it may be surprising to hear that a bully has a very different recollection of what was, ultimately, a shared experience. As the man who bullied Riyadh said, often bullies have no real reason to pick on someone. They simply look for a difference, be it the clothes someone wears or the colour of their hair. And, crucially, they may have no idea just how hurtful the abuse can be.
Riyadh says towards the end of the video clip that the experience has been extremely therapeutic and cathartic and that he hadn't realised the effect the bullying still had on him as an adult. Children who are being bullied may well find the video comforting. It helps to know that you're not alone and that dark times will pass.
But I think bullies themselves are the ones who could really benefit from watching this video. If they realised now just how huge an effect their words and actions are having on those they pick on they might just stop, saving many children from years of abuse.
If you, your child or someone you know is being bullied contact the Diana Award anti-bullying campaign Anti-Bullying Pro for advice and support.
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