YWCA Goes Orange for Unity Day
October 9, 2013
ELMIRA -- (WENY) Six year old Elizabeth Martin was bullied on the school bus. She was punched in the face repeatedly by another kindergartner.
"I didn't want to fight them back because I thought I was going to be a bully too," said Martin.
Elizabeth is just one example of the 3.2 million students that are victims of bullying each year.
"These kids would follow me after class calling me gay, fagot, stuff like that. And it really did hurt me because I wasn't fully out yet, so I was nervous. It scared me. I did things I wasn't proud of to myself. I suffered a really big depression," said Hunter Hansen, a senior at Southside High School.
Now Elizabeth and Hunter are joining the fight to end bullying. Sharing their stories through skits and teaching others to defend themselves.
"I know what I went through why would I do it to someone else? So I just wanted to take part in something that would stop it," added Hansen.
Martin said, "if you see someone bullied you can say, 'hey come over and play with me.' I just don't want people to bully others."
For parents of bullied kids they might not know where to turn for advice. Terralyn Gauthier's daughter was bullied for being transgendered. She started Safe Zones Allies, a place for parents to go to talk about how to protect their kids against discrimination.
"It's really such a personal issue and parents often take the back seat with their feelings because their kids need so much support. They're often left with their own emotions and not know how to deal with them," said Gauthier. "We're working on developing those so that other kids, cause she's a senior, so other kids now have that already available when they come to this school so they won't have to go through the same thing."
These three faces are changing the way people think, one play, one kick and one helping hand at a time.
If you or someone you know has been bullied, the YWCA encourages you to reach out to them. You can call anytime at 607-733-5575