Bullying can blight lives, leading to trauma and isolation. During this, Anti-bullying Week, we hear from one local woman who beat her tormentors and a principal tells us why the issue is of upmost importance to her school
Life for 26-year-old Kathryn Wilson couldn’t be better. Over the past few years she has risen to be one of the most respected DJs in Northern Ireland, playing in venues around the world.
As well as being a part of the weekday breakfast show (6am – 10am) across the Q Radio Network, she has residencies in top bars and clubs across Ireland and the UK.
Kathryn’s love of music and her enthusiasm for sharing her passion with her listeners has earned her an army of fans. However, Kathryn’s voice wasn’t always so powerful.
During this, Anti-Bullying Week, the south Belfast woman is using the opportunity to speak out about the bullying she experienced at school.
She says: “It started when I was about 11, when I went up to secondary school. At primary school I was very quiet, I didn’t say much to anyone. So, I remember deciding that when I went to secondary school I was going to be loud. I really liked to talk, I still do!”
“The bullying I experienced was teasing and name-calling. The others used to call me Squeak- I hated that. It was all about my voice, something I had only just started to use,” Kathryn continues.
The bullying lasted for some time before Kathryn spoke out and told her parents about what was happening to her. They talked to her teachers at the school and together they resolved the situation.
“You know, I think some of them didn’t realise what they were doing. They didn’t realise how it was making me feel, how much their names and taunts were hurting me,” she says.
Today, one of the girls that bullied Kathryn in school is now a close friend.
“We were talking about what happened and she asked “Was that bullying?”. Yes, it was. And it made me feel terrible for a long time.”
Kathryn is proud to be supporting this year’s Anti-Bullying Week campaign, which focuses on that very question – What is bullying? She hopes that by talking more openly about what bullying is, how it can happen and how it can make a young person feel, that more pupils in our schools will be empowered to take a stand.
“Bullying has had a lasting impact on my life and, while I would never wish it on anyone, it has made me stronger. I look back on it now and think how strange it is that the thing I was teased about, my voice, has allowed me to get to where I am today.”
After completing her A Levels, Kathryn spent a couple of years travelling before returning to Northern Ireland and focusing on building a career in the media industry. She started behind the scenes, working as a producer and building her skills.
She had stints on Cool FM and Blast 106 before joining the weekday breakfast show team at the Q Radio Network, broadcast across the whole of Northern Ireland.
Engaging with her audience is everything to Kathryn, and she has built up a strong social media following, with more than 1,500 Twitter followers and over 3,000 fans on Facebook. She is a regular blogger, discussing everything from love and life through to her big passion, music. Kathryn has come a long way from the bullying she experienced almost 15 years ago and hopes her speaking out will encourage others to do the same.
“Bullying is never ok and it’s something no one should ever have to put up with.
“If you’re in the same situation as I was, then you need to use your voice too. It’s the most powerful weapon we have.”