Bullying. The word alone can spark fear and anger in the most kind hearted and confident people. It’s something that has been affecting people since people took over from the dinosaurs, or however you want to look at it.

Unfortunately, it is still happening, and with teenagers and sometimes even adults having access to so many social networks and apps, it gives them more creative ways to unleash their terror on their victims in brutal ways that weren’t possible before!

For the past couple of weeks I have been researching bullying and looking at the effects it has on young people today, and the statistics were quite frankly shocking.

For Daniel Evans, 21, bullying started in year 8 when people began to pick up on his sexual preferences:

“For a while it knocked my confidence. It made me question who I was and who I could trust. It wasn’t a nice situation to be in!”

For a while, he considered moving schools to escape the torture but then decided that running away wasn’t the best option for him. “It would just make them think they’ve won, and that’s something that the bully’s can never think. It gives them power!”

But towards the end of school, the homophobic comments and mimicked actions began to stop and as Daniel left for college, he saw the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. “Things definitely picked up when I left school! I began to surround myself with people who were more accepting, and the environment was just more comfortable to be in!”

Now, in 2013, Daniel is studying in one of the most prestigious schools in britain, following his dream of becoming an animator. “I have never felt so confident! If I could give people going through bullying any advice, it would be to trust in yourself, be yourself and most importantly love yourself!”

For Rhiannon ‘Rhi’ Mends, 20, bullying, again, started in school around year 7 where people would pick up on her physical appearance of ginger hair and stocky build, and use it to bring her down.

“They used to call me spud, which may sound unoffensive to others, but when it was used against me in a nasty manner, it hurt. It really did!” Bullying continued through school for Rhi, but like Daniel before her, it all changed from there.

“When I was bullied, my confidence dropped lower than low. I was afraid to be myself. But I met people who inspired me to be myself and now I’ve never been happier. I still come across people from school and they still hurl comments at me, but even though it still hurts sometimes, I look at who I am now and feel much better!”

Rhi is currently set to sail the world in the Royal Navy, a dream she’s aspired to chase for a while. “My advice would be to be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t let anyone make you feel that you’re not pretty enough, or skinny enough, or popular enough. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you are the world!”

Thankfully Daniel and Rhiannon are in a much better place from bullying and are doing good for themselves, which proves that bullying doesn’t last forever. We have it inside ourselves to be kind and respectful to one another, and we are the only ones who can put a stop to bullying once and for all.

Stop to think about what you say before you say it. Some comments can have life long effects on others. Calling someone fat won’t make you thinner. Calling someone ugly won’t make you prettier. It all comes down to love, and with that the world would be a better place.

We are all different, and we all have the ability inside us to change the world one step at a time. Let’s put a stop to bullying, NOW!

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