Jeremy Vine has penned a heartfelt letter to the 15-year-old boy in Essex who was “savagely” attacked by bullies in a park, after video of the disturbing incident surfaced online.
The veteran BBC presenter said the victim’s attackers were “worse than” bullies and offered his sympathies and advice as someone who suffered a similar experience in his teenage years.
Vine wrote the open letter to say how he too had felt “humiliated” when punched for speaking to a girl at a party who was “the girlfriend of someone important”.
“Dear Romford 15-year-old ― who I’ll call Ben,” Vine said. “I don’t know your name, and it’s good that I don’t, because I am sure you do not want to be associated with that video of the bullies savagely punching you to the ground.
“Bullies? They are worse than that. I was really shocked by what I saw. Loads of people were disgusted.”
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“You are just fifteen. The lads who attacked you without warning are apparently seventeen. Grown men.
“Ben, something similar happened to me. I was a sensitive young teen, always trying and failing to be cool … never athletic enough, never hip enough, a late developer.”
Vine revealed that when he watched the video of the unnamed victim being brutally assaulted, he saw himself.
“That guy who distracted me in 1980 could be the thug who hit you from behind in 2016 ― such a coward,” Vine wrote.
The Radio 2 broadcaster offered his advice to the teenage victim, saying he should not react to the bullies’ attack by thinking “you have to be hard like them”.
“I tried to be a tough teenager afterwards and closed myself off like a drum. I reacted to nothing and felt nothing. I especially struggled to tell anyone I loved them because I thought it was a sign of weakness.”
Vine revealed that his life was changed when a lecturer helped him understand “the power of poetry”, saying he came to realise “you don’t need to hit people to succeed in your life”.
He added that while the bullies would likely go on to lead miserable lives, the likes of Vine and the Essex boy would be more fulfilled if they rejected violence.
“You and I can read poetry and listen to our favourite bands, and if we sometimes cry, there is no shame in that. To cry is to live. The people who attacked you are the walking dead.”
He ended the letter by extending an invite to the bullied teen to visit him at the BBC: “Come into Radio 2 sometime and I’d be happy to show you around.”
Read the full letter to ‘Ben’ below:
Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the assault on their victim in Romford Park, Essex.
Both have been bailed to attend an east London police station in November.