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Wanda Story - Anti-Bullying Advocates

Wanda’s Story

Wanda was a bright girl, fun loving, outgoing and vibrant personality.  She enjoyed playing sports and making friends.  Very sweet, very kind, always respectful.  Unfortunately, in middle school that all changed when she switched districts.  As a new kid, she had to acclimate to the new environment, the new social structure of who was in and who was out, who was cool and who was not.  Other girls started picking on her for being different, for being tall, for being sweet and outgoing and sporty.  Wanda was taller than most girls and had talent on the basketball court.  Eventually kids would call her names in gym and then from the stands during practice and games.  At first, she was mocked as ugly, stupid, four-fingered forehead and the like.  As the bullying intensified she was labeled transgendered or a man, even though she was not.  Ironically, her talent made her a target (i.e. being good at a sport like basketball lead to bullies calling her “transgendered!!” from the rafters).  Ironically her sweet demeanor made her a target (i.e. being sweet and outgoing in a twisted bullying dynamic signals weakness to bullies who want to take advantage).  

By ninth grade there were three bullies who were leaders of the pack, the alpha bullies that crossed boundaries others wouldn’t.  The teachers knew them, the Deans knew them, but they were sometimes discipline in a normal fashion or not disciplined at all.  Wanda became the problem because the school staff didn’t know who to stop the perpetrators so the isolated the target.  The bullying ramped up from name-calling, mocking, and verbal abuse, to threats and intimidation. At some point, one of the three main bullies attacked Wanda in the cafeteria, stalking her around a lunch table, threatening to beat her up for all to see.  The other bullies joined in with their laughs and video recording of the incident, no Braveheart kid to be found, no adult to stop the terror.  The main bully finally caught up to Wanda and began smacking her in the face, while another bully, a male that must of outweighed Wanda by eighty pounds, forearmed Wanda in the head knocking into the table and on to the floor.  Wanda received a traumatic brain injury.  Furthermore, she had psychological diagnosis’ of anxiety, depression, and complex PTSD.  The cafeteria incident was a major turning point in Wanda’s downward spiral into a life long struggle with self-esteem, fear, and anxiety.  But the bullying did not stop there.

The video that one student took spread throughout the school.  One of the bullies, the female, that initiated the assault was suspended, but continue to threaten Wanda online and through others.  Wanda never felt safe going to school after that incident and she wasn’t, evidenced by the in person and online threats.  Her PTSD would physically manifest in times of stress, whether her stomach would ache on the way to school, or she would faint going down the stairs heading to the next class where she was bullied on several occasions or she would come home and pass out from all the stress her brain and body was experiencing throughout the day.  She stop eating, she stopped talking, she stopped living a normal life that carefree twelve year old once had and became a sixteen year shell of herself.  The school finally became concerned when Wanda was passing out multiple times during the day causing multiple concussions when she would hit her head on the sink passed out in the bathroom or on the stairs.  They assigned her an aide but it was going to fix the problem: she was never safe, never made to feel safe, never given a chance to recover given all the empty promises of safety and security that the law and school was mandated to uphold.  Wanda had to leave school mid-year in 10th grade and turn her nightmare story of terror into one of success and triumph.  

Once Wanda was physically away from the bullying, she along with a support system (her family, close friends, therapist, attorney, teachers, extended family, co-workers, other kids who were bullied, etc.) was able to focus on the huge uphill battle to recovery and healing.  Wanda did put her focus into developing a social media platform that was entertaining as well as aloud kids feeling self-conscious feel beautiful and those that were bullied receive hope.

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