Imagine being named on a list of “ugliest girls in grade 12” at your school….in Grade 12…Just imagine.
Gut wrenching. Nausea. Hurt.
Now imagine that said list was the result of a poll – meaning people had to vote to get your name on there.
There are no words…
Finally, imagine that this poll / list appeared on a social media site frequented by all of your peers.
I know it’s awful to say it, but how many of you just thought about how many teens have taken their own lives because they were unable to deal with the pain of being cyberbullies?
Lynelle Cantwell was named on exactly such a list which was the result of a poll on ask.fm… and she wasn’t the only one named on the list.
But Lynette Cantwell did not cave. She chose to Rise Above and respond to this awful act of cyberbullying bu addressing her attackers very publicly on Facebook.
To the person that made the “ugliest girls in grade 12 at hth” ask.FM straw poll. I’m sorry that your life is so miserable that you have to try to bring others down. To the 12 people that voted for me to bring me to 4th place. I’m sorry for you too. I’m sorry that you don’t get to know me as a person. I know that i’m not the prettiest thing to look at. I know i have a double chin and i fit in XL clothes. I know i don’t have the perfect smile or the perfect face. But i’m sorry for you. Not myself. I’m sorry that you get amusement out of making people feel like sh*t. I’m sorry that you’ll never get the chance to know the kind of person i am. I may not look okay on the outside.. But i’m funny, nice, kind, down to earth, not judgemental, accepting, helpful, and i’m super easy to talk to. Thats the same for every other girl on that list that you all put down. Just because we don’t look perfect on the outside does not mean we are ugly. If thats your idea of ugly then i feel sorry for you. Like seriously? Get a life.
Her post went viral. Lynelle found it within herself to #RiseAbove and stand up to these bullies, and in doing so she also stood up to their other victims.
I also truly believe that her story has likely empowered so many other victims of cyberbullying to rise above it and to not let it get to them the way their ‘attackers’ would have liked to see.
Last month, at WE Day Montreal, Lynelle addressed Theatre St Denis filled with kids. She told her story, and in doing so she taught all those kids that it is possible to #RiseAbove and how she managed to do it. Not only did Lynelle ensure that she lived to tell the tale, but she’s actually teaching it.
As a parent, I would hope that if any of my children were to be faced with a cyberbullying (or any bullying) situation, that they would be able to be strong. I would hope that at their core they know that they are worth so much more than what others may have to say about them.
I had the opportunity to ask Lynelle a few questions, including what gave her the strength. Here’s a video of the interview:
What an inspiration. Feel free to share Lynelle’s story and even this video with your kids. Use it to open up a discussion with them. Don’t assume that this stuff doesn’t happen in their school just because they don’t volunteer to speak about it. It’s everywhere, and it’s more rampant than you might think.
If you are looking for more information and resources about Cyberbullying, visit the TELUS WISE website, where you will find a plethora of info for all different ages and stages. You can also have your children’s school request that TELUS Wise Ambassador come to speak at the school- to students, parents or even teachers! They are well-equipped with information that is relevant to the audience that is in front of them 🙂
Meanwhile, use Lynelle’s story as a starting point for discussion, and remind your kids that they are beautiful, inside and out and that if ever they are cyber bullied, they are not alone. Talk to them so that if it ever happens, there’s a better chance that you will be the voice inside their head that says “You are worth so much more than what they are saying” so that they too will be better equipped to #RiseAbove.
Disclosure: I am part of #TeamTelus and from time to time receive products and access to special events. As always, all opinions contained herein are my own and can never be bought 🙂