What Teenaged Bullying Has to Do With Cross Examination

by | Aug 13, 2013 | Abuse, Newsletter, Trial, Trial Testimony, Wendy Hernandez Blog

What Teenaged Bullying Has to Do With Cross Examination

Today, I’m going to tell you about the time I got beaten to a bloody pulp. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life.  It changed me forever.

Before I go into that, though, in case you don’t already know me, I want you to understand more about who I REALLY am:  I’m a lover, not a fighter.

I grew up in a home where everyone pretty much got along.  My mom and dad hardly ever argued, and my brothers and I rarely fought.  We were encouraged to express our love for each other, and we did.

Us kids hugged and kissed our parents before going to bed every night and every time we left the house, even if we were just going to the store or to the post office.

Teenaged Bullying is a Real Life Problem

Even today, when we are with my parents, all three of us STILL do those things.  Some people think it’s weird when they see my grown up, very manly and extremely tough brothers hugging and kissing on my dad, but to my dad and brothers, there is nothing better.

In a lot of a ways, I lived the “Leave it to Beaver” life as a child. Please don’t misunderstand me, though.  My family definitely has our dysfunction.

We have drama during the holidays.  We disagree with each other over stupid things.  We have gotten into family blowouts at the dinner table.  And, as adults, some of us have gone months without talking to each other after an argument.

I hate the dysfunction.

No matter what, though, we do love each other. We would defend each other to the death.  But…I digress…

BECAUSE I am a lover and not a fighter, one time I got beat into oblivion.  I didn’t know how to defend myself. Because of that experience, I breathe, eat and sleep about how to defend against bullying during cross-examination and in the courtroom.

This is how the royal butt whooping happened:

I was 13.  I was being raised in a small, tight-knit copper mining town in northern Arizona where I would have the same high school English teacher both my mom and dad had. There was one grocery store, one gas station, no stoplights, and everyone knew everyone.

My mom and dad had lots of friends and hobbies.  Between the two of them, they had their hands into virtually everything.  Bowhunting, softball, jogging, church, woodworking, leatherworking, Weight Watchers, sewing classes, catechism AND bible study.

I used to love going with my mom to her bible study group because one of her buddies had a girl my age. I remember my mom and dad talking about how spoiled that girl was. She was an only child.  She had horses.  She had one of those little girl kitchens that looked just like a real kitchen.  And, like any kid, at times, she could be a major brat.


Whether she was spoiled or not, that girl and I became friends.  We played kitchen together.  We played softball together.  We went swimming together.  We played at recess together.  We told each other secrets.  We had fun.  We were tight.

As we started to get older, though, something bad happened.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around WHAT that was.  In retrospect, I think that mostly, our competitive natures started coming out, leading us to having competing interests in certain key areas: Boys. Academics. Who would make the cheerleading team. Who would be more “popular.”

You get it.

As we got up into eighth grade or so, one day, I woke up, and my friend wasn’t my friend anymore.  It seemed to happen overnight.  I didn’t really care, though, to be honest.  I just wanted to be better than everyone at school, sports, and…everything.  That’s probably where I went wrong.

I can’t say what she wanted.  I can say that she was hurting inside, though.  Because of that, she wanted to hurt me.

When I first started hearing the whispers around school she wanted to “kick my butt,”  I got sort of worried.  For what seemed like an eternity, I lived in constant fear, waiting for the proverbial “shoe to drop.”  A few weeks after the buzz started, one day, that girl (and a large group of people) followed me home after the last bell rang.  I knew the day of the butt-kicking had finally come.

I walked as fast as I could without running.  My heart was pounding so hard, I thought my chest was going to explode.  I was shaking inside, and I had a lump in my throat from wanting to cry, but I held it together.  As I made my way through the back trails and shortcuts towards my parents’ house, that girl and her group caught up with me.

I can’t remember what she or what anyone said.  I remember them surrounding me in a circle.  I remember someone shoving me.  Shoving me right into that girl.  That’s how it started.

Her fist landed hard and square on my face.  Then again.  And again.

What was that cracking noise?

My face in the ground.  Kicks to my stomach.  Dirt in my eyes.  Rocks in my mouth.

Who is laughing at me?

Sobbing.  I can’t stand up.  Mouth bleeding.  Slobber.  Nose bleeding.


Lots of blood.  My ears are ringing.  I see red everywhere.

Please. Someone. Help.

I see black.  I can’t see anymore.  Where am I?

Who is calling my name?  Why can’t I open my eyes?  Why can’t I move?


My mom was pissed as hell.  She called the police.  Her relationship with her bible study buddy was over.

I missed school for a week.  Looking back, I think this was when my nose got broken, leading to the deviated septum, leading to the ridiculous nose surgery I just had. (See Skinning a Cat and Settling Your Case.) Because of this butt kicking, for many years, I lived in fear.

I didn’t know how to fight back.  I still don’t know how to throw a punch.  I’m sure if I were put in the same situation today, the same thing would happen.

I’m a lover not a fighter.

I have, however, learned to defend myself with words.  And, for a living, I use my words to help people defend themselves.  I’m good at it.

I’ve also learned to plan a good offensive “attack.” With my questions.  During cross-examination.

Yessir, I love me some good cross-examination.

Today, that’s exactly what Hernandez Family Law’s featured post is about–cross examination.  If you expect to take the stand anytime soon, you will want to read How to Testify During Cross Examination.  Do it BEFORE you find yourself on the stand.  Do it NOW so you can know how to defend yourself against bullying during cross examination.

As for me and “the girl,” our story didn’t end at the 8th grade beating.  (Read here to find out more about our future dealings in the years to follow.)  About 7 or 8 years ago, I was trying to “clean up” old relationships that needed healing.  I called the girl’s mom and tracked down my old friend.

We talked.  I apologized for my behavior that lead to our fight.  I asked for her forgiveness.  I told her that if we ever ran into each other again, I wanted to feel “ok” about our history.  We resolved some stuff.  I’m relieved to say that if I see her again, I won’t run for the hills.

I might actually go up to her and thank her.  Thank her for helping me make the decision to devote my life to the law and defending against bullying inside and outside of the courtroom.

Sending you my wishes for a week filled with power, strength and courage– even in the face of a bully.

All my best,


P.S.  Have you ever been the victim of bullying?  How has it affected your life?  How did you gain the courage to move forward?

P.P.S.  If you liked this post, please “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and +1 us on Google.

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