For Youth, By Youth
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
These testimonials from teens like you are provided to encourage you and inspire you to know thaty ou are not alone. Bullying and emotional trauma often leads to feelings of isolation and distance. These stories have been shared by teens who have expierenced similar feelings. The names have been changed, but their message is still strong.
Share Your Story.
You’re not alone. Your story may encourage someone else who is going through the same thing you did. Submit your story to encourage others to stand up to a bully and change their life. Email email@example.com or submit in the form on this page. If you'd like a member of The Youth Unite to reach out to you, please provide your contact information.
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR YOU
Bobby Coleman and Josh Flitter know what it feels like to be bullied. In the video to the left, these two movie stars share a message of encouragement.
Sheila gives a powerful testimonial on the first-hand effects of bullying and suicide after her son was bullied to the point of taking his own life. In the video to the right, Sheila share the story of her son, Josh.
A Word From Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler
At the age of 17, an immediate family member committed a white collar crime and was sentenced to 1 year in federal prison. This was, needless to say the most devastating and significant time in my life. While I have never been personally bullied, or been a bully, I have kept a secret. I kept a secret for many years about visiting a family member in prison, and I also kept a secret those feelings and emotions that accompanied that time in my life. I would also believe that many children who are bullied keep it a secret. This website is a testimony that you are truly, not alone and no longer need to keep a secret. Many of the children I work with who have parents in prison have been bullied in school because of their parents actions or their parents decisions that have made an impact on who they are, especially how their peers view them at school. Use this website as a tool to stand up for yourself, face your peers who may be bullying you, and always believe that you deserve the absolute best.
Miss America 2012
Now at the age of 23 I can see how the effects of being bullied has assisted in creating the person I am today. I not only reflect on my own experiences, but reflect on the situations I face as a teacher and see first hand how important it is for me to step in and take action when a student is being bullied or is doing the bullying.
My story begins here...
I went to an elementary school where 92% of the children were below the poverty level. I was fortunate enough to have two parents who were still married, clean clothes on my back every day, a safe and happy home and food always available to me. At the time I didn't know that life's necessities would be the reason why I was bullied. Beginning in kindergarten a specific student began bullying me. She taunted me and sang mean songs to me at recess. Seems to petty now, but when you're five years old you don't really understand why someone is being so mean to you. As we went through each grade, the bullying increased. Other classmates were bribed to not talk to me or hang out with me. I spent many recesses alone because other students were forced not to talk to me. Things became so bad that I walked home every day crying and woke up in the morning not wanting to face another day full of hurt feelings. I began sharing the information with my family which was one of the smartest things I could do. My mom contacted my teacher and the school and began documenting each interaction. I was sent to speak with the guidance counselor once a week and began working through the hard times. This taught me a lot about myself and why these things were happening. It was scary to reach out - I was not only confused and hurt, but afraid of what would happen. But as I began sharing my story, others stood up for me and I learned some of life's greatest lessons: how to treat others with kindness and respect and how to stand up for myself and who I was as an individual.
Eventually, because I chose to change what was happening to me by reaching out to others, this individual did stop bullying me. As I grew older and learned more about the individual and why students bully other students, I learned that this young girl was facing a terrible home life and simply yearned for life's necessities such as a safe, clean and happy home. All things I was blessed with. I understand now and hope nothing but the best for her but this experience has truly helped mold me into the person I am today.
Don't ever be afraid to reach out for help.
One day, I was walking down the hall when people were whispering about me and how I looked. I walked even faster and ignored it at the time. Later that day I heard another group talking about me. I ignored it once again. When I was home and went to lie down I just cried until I could cry no more. I can't take how people treat me anymore. I might not be perfect and I see my flaws and I don't need them to point them out to me.
Locker Room Language
I was in gym changing, and a kid decided to call me a fag.. I proudly stated, "is there something wrong with it?" Everyone laughed, kids throw clothes at me.. They throw my clothes.. Push me repeatedly.. This happens daily. One day, a kid at the water fountain pushed me, and said "HURRY UP! WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOU FAG!" I turned around with a mouth full of water, spit it in his face.. They have never touched, or talked to me since.. Sometimes sticking up for yourself is a good thing.. Until it reaches a point.. Violence could lead to worse circumstances. I would see a teacher/school councilperson they do help.<3 It gets better, and you're not alone!
Realizing It Hurts
All throughout 8th grade me and my two best friends would make fun of anyone who would walk by us during lunch. I never realized how mean we actually were. But during the 2nd half of school Freshman year I lost one of my best friends of about 9 years. Soon enough, we became enemies. She didn't have many friends that were underclassmen. So she made friends with these girls whom probably weren't the best influence on her. I would sit home and cry at night praying that for some reason I wouldn't have to go to school that day. I never really knew how mean she could be to someone she didn't like, until I was that one person she was against. Every chance she got she would make fun of me or my other best friend, making snide remarks. Doing anything she possibly could to hurt us. If I were to list everything she did this would turn into a novel. I never thought i would make it through the school year. It was just hard to think that someone that was my best friend could hurt me like that. Thankfully I had my other best friend & we got through the school year together.
Confused in a Big School
I go to a big school where not everyone knows who you are. I have a brother, Andy, who was born crippled and walks funny. I have watched kids pick on him and reject him. One day at my locker, Todd, the big shot-big mouth came up to his crony, Pinky laughing is evil laugh: “you shoulda seen what I just did to Andy that candy spaz”. I tripped him and his books went flying and he splatted face down, it was so funny. I felt a fine barn in my heart and I slammed his locker on his hand and screamed: “big man tripping a cripple”, and I ran away. I know it wasn’t the right thing to do and I feel bad lowering myself to his level, but I just lost it. Does that make me a bad person?
Girls Can Be So Mean
Hi, my name is Ellie. I had just moved from out of state to a new school starting in 9th grade. It was very hard to start over. I decided to join the poms dance team. I was just starting to feel like part of the group when I showed up to practice and was the only one from my grade there. The coach asked me why I wasn’t at Laura’s party with all the other 9th grade girls. I was the only one she didn’t invite. The coach was so rude about it smirking after she told me. There was no reason not to invite me; I should have been invited because I was the new kid. Some welcome from this town. Why are girls so mean? I don’t understand why they could do that. I chocked back my tears and toughed it through practice and came home and cried my yes out.
Finding a Place in This World
I was happy before. I was a peppy cheerleader with friends. Straight A’s and a life that seemed too good to be true, I’d only been half-way through my freshman year in high school.
I’d go to school happy. one day after the next day, then the next day and the next day...always with a and a smile. I was someone who could cheer up your bad day in a heartbeat. My optimistic personality and hyperactive imagination were my best qualities. It seemed one day after another I was as radiant as the sun. Slowly a faint cloud of depression wrapped me up. It wasn’t noticeable for a while, because “maybe it’s just a bad day.” or “It will be better tomorrow”. Then darker and darker this cloud of sad grew.
My friends one-by-one dwindled, cheerleading became dull and repetitive, and at home I couldn’t do anything without being scolded. Usually within books, I found refuge from the outside world. I’d just pick up a novel and away I’d be, in the fantasy land. Slowly reading didn’t help anymore.
As this cloud grew, I was mocked for being peppy and cheerful at cheerleading. After every basketball game I cried myself to sleep, it became so unbearable. My friends began to fade into other social groups that I wasn’t even remotely close to. They left me behind, and I’d sit alone at lunch every day. What friends I did have, didn’t understand me. All they talked about was boyfriends and makeup, I had neither of them. At home I’d get scolded all the time. Even when I didn’t do anything wrong. My parents being divorced for some time didn’t help. I continued to sacrifice my social life and visit my dad on the weekends. Even so far away from everything with my dad, I still felt a burden cloaking me in the sadness.
I just couldn’t bring myself to get help either. Talking to someone was my biggest fear. I lost myself, who I was. In the moment all I could think about was then and there, not the future, not the past. I was stuck in the present and I couldn’t do anything to save myself.
I contemplated suicide and suicide techniques. I thought about hanging myself, but the thought of someone finding my limp and lifeless body hanging there was pretty frightening. I thought about using a gun, but someone would hear the shot. Pills, the only thing I could do to die without the lifeless hanging there and the loud bang. After holding a handful of pills for what seemed like hours, I set them down. My hand froze; I couldn’t bring them to my lips.
Carefully over the next few days, I faintly hinted on the fact that “life isn’t worth living,” “I wonder what people would do if I died.” Soon, someone told Mrs. Johns, the guidance counselor at our school. Obviously they told anonymously about my yearning to die and sadistic thoughts. Only after breathing out my long held breath did I realize how much I really didn’t want to die. I realized how that one person, whoever it may be, will always be there for me. Even though they remain anonymous, they will always be there for me.
The sadness that choked me then, resides in us all. It is like an overcast day, clouded and dark. The clouds come and stay for a while. It’s hard for us to talk about out stories. Like a cloudy day, dark and dreary and rainy, you want to stay inside. But you can’t, you have to come out and pray and hope and plead for that sunshine. You have to let yourself become free again.
Take a Stand
I was bullied almost every day from a kid in my 8th grade class. I’ll call him Eddie, Eddie Rooney because he had the school staff fooled with his lies. It was mostly verbal harassment calling me every name in the book especially gay and faggot. Eddie was a jock and according to our counselor, came from a very dysfunctional family. He would convince the counselor that it was all in jest and that we were friends. We were never friends. Friends do things with each other and have each other’s cell phone numbers. This was not the case with Eddie. One day in the computer lab, he decided that he wanted my computer, so he kept punching me in the arm. The teacher completely ignored it. When my mom figured out, she talked to the school about it; they said they would talk to his parents. My parents demanded that the school treat it as physical violence with a required suspension. The staff wrote it up as horseplay. Eddie was in the principal’s office more often than he changed socks! I was so tired of being called gay and faggot. It isn’t fair that if adults do it that its illegal harassment, but for us kids its just bullying. A family friend told me to tell Eddie that the next time he calls me that to call 911 and tell the police that its hate speech because the school didn’t want to deal with it the police might. Well, I did that, and the harassment stopped. It wasn’t easy to stand up to the bully after a year of taking his abuse, but I am glad that I did.