Have you ever heard of Lizzie Velasquez?
No? How about the “World’s Ugliest Woman?” Perhaps you were one of the one million people who saw her on YouTube, where that shockingly cruel label was once slapped on the young woman who suffers from a rare disease that renders her unable to gain weight.
Pause a moment before you crack a joke about how many people would not find it a problem to eat whatever they want without gaining weight.
For years, Velasquez was bullied – ostracized by peers, ridiculed by Internet strangers. One person, hiding behind his or her computer screen, even went so far as to say she should do the world a favor and kill herself. Instead, she became an author and motivational speaker who now challenges others to re-define beauty.
Velasquez’s story is one of millions that prove bullying is real, and it continues to happen daily in schools and communities and on social media sites around the world. Children and teenagers are the most common victims, taunted for anything from their looks to their family structure to whether they choose to play soccer or the clarinet.
For years, www.TeenCentral.Net has been helping young people combat bullying through mentoring, education and support. If you are bullying someone else, think about how hurtful your actions can be. Would you want to be treated in a similar manner? And if you are the one dealing with the pain of being bullied, channel Velasquez’s positive spirit, log onto TeenCentral.Net and remember that you, not your tormenters, have the power to define who you are.