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Teen says scars from childhood bullying still remain

CLEAR FORK, W.Va. -- Have you ever seen someone get bullied? How did you respond? Did you just sit and watch it happen? Did you try to stop the bully?

Most everyone has seen some type of bullying, whether it's on Facebook, at school or elsewhere, yet most people just sit and watch. If you've ever witnessed some type of bullying, have you ever wondered why that person was being bullied and not someone else?

One West Virginia teenager who has been a victim of bullying told FlipSide her story. Because of the sensitive nature of the subject, her name has been withheld.

The teen started being bullied at 6 years old, but it wasn't until the first grade that she accepted the fact she was being picked on.

"It was because I wasn't wearing the brand-name clothes everyone wore," she said.

She said she never really has overcome the bullying. Even to this day, she still hasn't gotten over some of the events that happened when she was a child.

You sometimes see people who have been bullied become bullies themselves to take their anger out on someone else; however, that's not the case for this teen.

"I've always tried to accept everyone, young or old," she said. "I'll accept them for who they are."

There are many reasons why people bully. According to bullyingstatistics.org, they include social issues, family issues, personal history and having power (popularity). Most bullies choose to bully because it makes them feel better about themselves.

Bullying can lead to suicide, drug use and many other types of harmful things. Nearly half of high school teens don't tell anyone they're being bullied.

That was the case with this teen. When times got rough, she kept what was happening to herself. The problem eventually came out, though, and she got help from her friends and mother.

"I didn't really reach out," she said. "All I did was store the bullying effects inside of me. One night, I let it all out, and that's how my friends and mother found out about it."

She further explained, "I wasn't getting enough sleep from crying, so my mom asked me what was wrong. I kind of told her everything, but I left out parts because I didn't want her to know my deepest thoughts.

"My advice to someone being bullied is don't be afraid to ask for help, whether it's from a higher power or a friend," she said.

"People still talk about me, but it's more uncommon than it used to be. I am different than most people, but to me, being different is a wonderful thing. I think it would be boring if everyone was the same."

She says time heals all wounds and it is healing hers, one step at a time.

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CALLING FOR HELP

All these numbers have someone available 24/7.

* If you have been bullied and need to talk, call the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000.

* If you are in emotional distress or feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

* If you have been or have witnessed bullying at school, call the West Virginia Safe Schools Helpline at 1-866-SAFEWVA (723-3982).


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