“I grew up in a small town, with very few options for dance schools. When I was in year 11, my dance teacher had to sell the school due to some health reasons. She decided to sell to some school alumni who had spent time dancing in Europe. The siblings (male and female) started out really kind and brought new energy to the school which was great to learn from. But within weeks the male teacher’s attitude towards me and a few other students shifted from friendly to abusive.
His particular hate towards me was shocking and frequently noticed by other students and my parents. He would often single me out and bully me in front of large groups of other students, and make me repeat movements over and over, for hours, even when I would explain that they were doing physical harm to my body; he simply didn’t care. The abuse and trauma became so bad I started to have nightmares and panic attacks before class. I was terrified to be alone in private lessons with him.
I wasn’t a child who got upset over harsh feedback, as my previous teacher had been exceedingly firm. Eventually, my parents had no choice but to intervene. I was asked to leave the school. After a few days, the school contacted us and requested I come back, stating that I was not allowed to take private classes with the male teacher if I chose to rerun. With little choice of schools and a few months off graduating I decided to return.
The behavior didn’t improve. The emotional trauma and psychological damage this has left me with are at times unbearable. It’s been 8 years and I still get anxious when I pass the building. I think the most difficult part is that I was made to believe that it was my fault, that I had hurt him by having my parents step in, and that HE couldn’t be alone with me because I was the issue.”