TV presenter Ruby Rose has opened up about being severely bullied as a schoolgirl, and even being hospitalised after a particularly serious bashing.
“I absolutely hated school,” Ruby told News.com.au in a revealing story on Sunday. “My life began when high school ended. There were five girls and one boy who picked on me badly… Sometimes they would just come up and punch me in the head, but there was a lot of intimidation.”
Rose attended University High in Melbourne, and when she was 16 ended up in hospital after a particularly nasty bullying incident. “The whole school knew I was going to be beaten up that day, apparently, except me,” said Ruby. “I was at the University Cafe, across the road from school, with three friends. There were about 50 other students there. The gang started by just being rude to me and yelling the usual high-school stuff.”
One of the girls then picked up a metal chair and hit her in the head. “I didn’t see it coming. She was just smashing it against the back of my head. My mates tried to stop her but she kept going until management ran over and said ‘Enough!’. Security arrived and the police. It was a big deal. My head was bleeding. I had to go to hospital.”
Five girls and one boy were suspended from school over the incident. “I was scarily depressed,” she said. “But I got help. I was lucky, had counselling and was on anti-depressants for a time. I could have turned into an alcoholic, a drug addict or anything at all, but there was always something in me that made me go, ‘I’ll show them.’ I needed to push on – survive them, I suppose.”
Rose believes her sexuality contributed to the abuse, but was not a major factor. “I never knew why. I guess I was just a bit different,” she said. “My mum used to say success is the best revenge, and you know what? It really is.”
Indeed. Recently, during her acceptance speech at the Astra Awards, Ruby hit back at the bullies, saying, “To all those girls who bullied me in high school, where are you now?”
According to ‘Writing Themselves In Again’, the 2005 report into the health and well-being of same sex attracted young Australians, 44% of respondents said that they’d suffered verbal homophobia and 16% reported homophobic physical assault. Verbal abuse included name-calling, insults, threats and rumours, while physical abuse ranged from having clothes and possessions damaged to rape and hospitalisation for injuries.
Unsurprisingly, the most dangerous place for gay youth is school – 74% of all the reported abuse happened there.