“I ran into my stalker at a barbecue and he apologized. “He was also a victim of bullying.”

Brian Giner (Barcelona, ​​1999) suffered bullying at school for 12 years. After two suicide attempts, he healed by “talking to my parents” and making “a group of friends” that helped him “resurface.” Now, at 24 years old, he works as a social educator in a school in Terrasa doing “accompaniment” when a child is very overwhelmed or “a round table if there is a fight.” The association founded by Brian, Trencats, publishes this Thursday, International Day Against Bullying, a video with many victims from different places raising their voices.

You went to three schools, what were they like? that you remember?

The first school I went to is a school called Pompeu Fabra. I was there until the end of 4th grade. There I began to suffer bullying when I was 6 years old. It was not a harassment of hitting, of aggression. I was the notable one, the weird one because I had an eye patch. So it was a bit of the law of survival. In Primary there were only insults of squint, fat… they never called me by my name. They did everything they could do with my physical appearance, they harassed me with mockery and insults. There was no protocol. Although the protocols that exist today do not work either.

And you change schools

Yes, then I did 5th and 6th grade in Primary at a school in Villanova del Vallès, Mestres Munget. There I suffered one of the first physical attacks. They threw me and a classmate down the stairs, we were 10-11 years old. And when I went to the Ramón Cases i Carbò institute, where I did 1st to 4th ESO, everything started at once: physical and verbal attacks, harassment and cyberbullying.

In 2nd year of ESO I had my first suicide attempt. The attacks and threats were mainly in the bathrooms because it was the point where the teachers could not enter or could not see it. For example, make a circle of four or five and beat me up.

It was a specific group of people who harassed you repeatedly. Or was it a little bit almost everyone? What was that like?

It was a pretty prominent group. I was bullied at school for 12 years. But everyone was a bit of an executioner because the observers didn't act either. And sometimes some would join the regular bullies so as not to be the ones to be harassed.

Out of fear, right? Some of you noticed that they joined the harassment to enter into that dynamic and not be the one being harassed.

I think so. But I'm telling you that it still happens today. And it's happening more and more.

Then you had a second suicide attempt, what happened?

It happened that you reached the limit. You end up believing that you are the problem and you don't know how to get out. The decision I made was medications and cuts. Cuts a little deeper each time. Rather than attempting suicide, I had suicidal behaviors for quite some time.

Since that second time when you were 13 you never tried it again, what changed?

My parents, as always, supported me. And I also met people from my town who helped me. I made a group that helped me resurface, to move forward. When they bullied me, some of them helped me, they put themselves in the way… but of course only in the playground because between classes we didn't see each other. They were friends from other classes.

And what made you continue to improve?

I remember when I mentioned it to my mother again. The suicidal thoughts she had were taken away very quickly by simply talking. Putting everything on the table. I healed by talking to my parents, directly. I understood the things I shouldn't do and why.

Then a report was filed with the police, we talked to the school… that didn't help much because the school principal told me that if they hit me, I should hit them. Nor was any protocol activated because the management center had to implement it. He swept for his land and they did not open it.

Now you work as a social educator at the Abat Marcet school in Terrasa. What is your role there?

My job is to help a child who is paralyzed from the waist down as a health worker. And then provide support to all the Primary teachers. If a child is very overwhelmed, take him out of class, provide accompaniment. If there is a fight, have a round table, see what happened.

You have more than 9,000 followers on Instagram, what are your goals when using this account and how to reach them?

I would love to make content 100% dedicated to this, but people don't stay on an account just for social things. I try to share part of my life, I create a community and in the meantime I post messages about bullying.

Do you think they could now be telling a bullied child the things they gave you like “if they hit you, hit them”?

Well luckily he's retired now. But it is true that there are many people working in education who, perhaps, do not have an education about how society is today… you cannot say to a child “defend yourself.” A child does not have to defend himself. He has to be protected by the adult, who is working in an educational center for that reason.

Why can the bully also become a victim?

I'm going to speak from my own experience. There is a boy who bullied me at school. I ran into him at a barbecue by chance. First I collapsed. We talk later. He asked me for forgiveness because he himself was a victim of bullying. So the way to get out of that, to not be seen as weak… was by bullying. And what was a misfortune ended up being a great experience because today we talk to each other, he writes to me, he supports me, he sees everything I do… and he was my stalker.

Was it difficult for you to forgive him?

Yes. In the end you have it as if in your mind. It depends on the moment you are in. At that moment I understood that where you are affects a lot. You are not going to behave at home like you do at school because in the end people see you, your eyes do a lot of damage. Who watches you, who laughs, who is constantly controlling your movements… school is a very complicated place. And high school even more so if you don't have a very strong armor. So it is a reflection of society in a tiny way.

I understood that the school put very strong pressure on him and he had to act that way. I did not accept everything he did to me nor am I saying that I forgive him everything he did because of the condition he had. But it is true that today I see it differently. I have seen that he is not a person who wants to do harm. In a way he was suffering the same thing as me. Only I said it and he didn't. In the end we were both victims. We were victims in different ways and we have dealt with it differently. But we are both victims, that is the reality.

How do you see the influence of Instagram on young people? How has harassment changed compared to your time now that you have internet on your cell phone?

We are at a point where social networks are the greatest psychologically destructive weapon that exists. If you don't have a very good head, they destroy you. There is a world of hate. There is a hate society.

What would you say to a boy, girl or teenager who was being bullied now and who perhaps was experiencing those suicidal thoughts that you had before that talk with your parents when you were 12 years old?

The first thing I would tell them is to have complete confidence and try to talk to any adult they have next to them. Not just parents anymore, which is logical. But sometimes there are families that are not structured or do not have that trust. Let them speak, let them express themselves. Because sometimes silence kills. And because sometimes the person who harasses is also a victim.

There are many factors that must be taken into account. And I think that talking can solve many of them. I think it's the healthiest advice I could give. Because I could tell you a thousand things. But if you don't start by talking, you can't go to a psychologist. If you don't start by talking, you can't start healing. If you don't start by talking, you can't help the silence go away.

What would you say to the parents of a boy or girl who is being bullied?

It is more complicated for parents because there are times when they cannot be with the children due to work or other reasons. But I would tell them to listen to their children. I have done talks for parents to come and talk and listen. And sometimes two or three families of 28 or less have shown up that there is a classroom. It suggests that many people are not interested. This it is the sad reality. In Preschool all the families come, in Primary they begin to fail and in ESO practically none come. By listening and sometimes letting yourself be understood by young people who have different points of view and have lived it, I believe it could open up a world of possibilities for them.

And listen to your son or daughter. Sometimes they're not just kids. He has thoughts and even the smallest gesture that you don't realize is sometimes the turning point to know if it could be a beginning of bullying.

In your work as a social educator, is there any case that has particularly impacted you?

Yes, quite a few. I couldn't tell you just one in particular. Every time I finish a talk, a boy or girl comes to me and tells me: “Look, I was embarrassed to say it in front of the class, but I had to tell you.” And they tell me that they suffer from it or have suffered from it, they open up and explain it to you.

Then there are mothers who write to me on social networks and tell me “look, my son or daughter is suffering from bullying. “I am very overwhelmed, help me.” So nothing. I follow your son or daughter and write to them on Instagram. They see that there is very good feedback, I respond to the stories… they see that there is someone who supports them. In the end I continue making an accompaniment. And let them see that there is someone behind them who encourages them. It is a public profile that is helping them. So that part is very positive.

You talk about “the need for joint work against bullying from schools, institutions, police…” What measures have you seen that have been useful?

I don't think any of them are working. Obviously some will work punctually. If you open a bullying protocol, there is monitoring of the minor, the family… you will be able to do things. But there is nothing today that is working.

Recently they wanted to introduce a figure against bullying in schools. This figure should be put in place by the school's management team. Obviously they are not going to put it on. And if a case of bullying comes up, they will sweep their field again. Bullying protocols are activated only if the management team wants and everyone agrees. It's another mistake that's happening.

I see many tools on the table, but none of them work correctly. The first thing we should do is a law that prohibits a school from deciding for itself whether to open a bullying protocol. The law should stipulate when to open it. And let the management team not be in charge. At the time a protocol is opened, follow-up must be done other than by the center's management.

And what other measures do you propose to combat bullying?

Any center, whether highly complex or minimally complex, must have a social integrator. I think it is essential today. Children need to talk. They spend many hours in a center. They need to be people, talk, explain how they feel. Is essential. And even more so today in the society we are in. And that minors under 14 years of age are liable. It's something that I don't quite understand. I don't understand that they can do whatever they want and not have any type of retaliation. I can't imagine why a minor under 14 years of age, if he kills another person or makes his life miserable, doesn't have any weight under the law? That shouldn't be like that.

Do you think that bullying is not taken seriously in politics?

I think their mentality is that there are bigger problems. They believe that they are children and that they are still children's problems. They don't want to get involved, they don't want to make a new law… I don't know exactly why they don't want to lend a hand.