All of this discussion about bullying (see, for example, the It Gets Better Project) has had me thinking about what it takes to feel bullied, and when is a behavior--or in the case I'm going to describe, a non-behavior--bullying?
I started thinking about a girl in my high school, a girl in the same grade as me. She was a head taller though (and I was never short), which makes me think that she might have been held back at some point. She had long curly hair, and a tough-looking jean jacket. (We all wore jean jackets, but hers--to me--looked tougher.) DM, as I shall call her, fought with other girls--especially another girl with the same first name! Cat Fight!
DM used to proclaim, loudly, to teachers, that her boyfriend Frank was in jail, but when he got out...
DM used to walk home the same way as me, through the same graveyard shortcut. To be honest I never had any idea where she lived (though obviously near me). I never looked behind me if I knew she was there. I was terrified that she would notice me there, and threaten me or beat me up. If she was ahead of me, I would slow down so I could put some distance between us.
I'm not sure she ever noticed me, and strictly speaking, it wasn't bullying. At least, she wasn't directing any bullying attention at me. But I felt terrified when she was in the same hall as me.
When does it cross the line?
P.S. And since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I will note that child witnesses to domestic violence have some of those same issues, sometimes feeling that they have personally experienced the domestic violence. It didn't physically touch them, but they felt it anyway.