A school student from Azerbaijan, 16-year-old Ali Malikov, exposes schools for bullying the students on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Ali Malikov posted a statement on Facebook on November 23, saying he had been subjected to violence by teenagers for years, and that the bullies were students of his and a neighboring school.
“For years I have been bullied in school on the grounds of my sexual orientation. Despite talking about my experience, no action has been taken. The bullies found out about my sexuality and started talking to me with derogatory language, to which I responded and everything got only worse. Children from a neighboring school also participated in this. During one of the instances, one of the kids even had a knife, and I can’t even imagine how things would’ve gone if I wasn’t with my friends” – can be read in the statement.
According to Ali, his photo went viral and people were encouraged to engage in acts of violence if they saw him. In 9th grade he was a victim of abusive treatment from one of his teachers, who till this day works in that school.
“Until 9th grade I was scared to even walk in the hallway. PE teacher tore up my book in front of my classmates, broke my pen and addressed me with offensive terms because I was wearing a scarf”, -says Ali as he recalls how in 10th grade his transgender friend was stoned in the street. –
“During the Coronavirus Pandemic, when the school switched to online learning, my transgender friend was stoned in the street and told that him and I were embarrassing them all. As a result of the incident, my friend received a head injury, he was also a victim of sexual abuse in the school bathroom several times, although he does not want to talk about the incident at this time.
According to Ali, despite the complaints to the school principal nothing is being done to change the situation. This situation intensifies the violence; the abusers use insulting terms even in the presence of school representatives. Even those people that try to provide support for them end up getting bullied. Ali Malikov tells us that despite homophobic sentiments, family members support him in this situation.
“My family members are homophobic; however, they support me in this situation because they realize that I am a victim of discrimination. And my friends are supporters or members of the LGBTQ+ community. I also met the school principal, Yahya Abasov, several times, and my parents came to the school several times, however, he has done nothing. I have clearly stated my concerns and noted that I am not the only one who has to endure the violence. In response, Abasov told my parents that if they get 10 complaints from students’ parents about me, they might expel me from school. I have to endure constant humiliation and threats, and I’m still going to be the one that’s punished?!” – says Ali.
Ali also recalls talking to the school’s assistant manager, as the assistant told him: “Bullies will always cause conflict and never change”. And The school psychologist told the 16-year-old to “stop the propaganda, you can’t change them”.
“I’ve spoken to so many people and the only response I get is to stop talking and writing about the violence. For them the only thing that matters is the school reputation. The principal even told me that I was damaging the school’s reputation” – says Ali.
16-year-old teenager also recalls a recent event, when a student had a knife on the school grounds. According to Ali, if such instances continue, he will stop going to school.
“If you are reading this, I want you to know, that I am refusing to go to school for my safety. This situation is extremely damaging to my mental health” – says Ali and notes, that a Gender Equality Resource Center, which is a LGBTQ+ organization that has existed for over a year, is providing psychosocial and legal support for him.
Ali told us that he expects the current process to be covered by neighboring countries and hopes that fewer teenagers will have to endure bullying in the future.
“I would like to ask the neighboring countries to spread the information on the current process more broadly. Bullying happens everywhere. Many teenagers are victims of constant violence. The biggest targets are queer people and women. I want to incite a discussion and change the situation for the better. Now is not the time for silence, we need to speak even louder so that we can put an end to the problems around us. I look forward to solving my problem and continuing my studies and hopefully the state agencies will also have a reaction… There are many students in educational institutions, lots of queer people are in the education system and they should not have to endure bullying.”
Author: Giorgi Baskhajauri