I AM THE FACE of Compassion for Bullying
I always knew bullying was wrong. As a child, like most kids, there were the handful of kids throughout the years that didn't like me for some reason, and acted like bullies towards me. Those were never fun experiences, and definitely impacted me at the time. But I would eventually move on and forget those experiences for the most part. But it wasn't until I was an adult and married to a spouse who had been seriously bullied as a child, that I truly began to understand the long term damage caused by bullying. I saw aspects of my spouse's personality that were clearly caused by the actions of those that bullied him; aspects that were not actually natural to his personality, but adapted behaviors that I'm convinced would not have existed had he not been bullied. Some of those adapted behaviors would prove to be roadblocks to the achievement of some of his most important goals, and I watched as he worked tirelessly to shed those adapted behaviors. To this day, I can see aspects of that bullied child in him as he ventures into a new situation. Thankfully he's overcome letting those things hold him back. But I also see many who have not been able to shed those adapted behaviors. So, while I was always sympathetic to those who were victims of bullying, I can truly say that by living with and loving a person who was severely bullied as a child, I have developed a much deeper compassion for the damage that bullying causes. And it honestly makes me wish that I had more inner strength as a kid myself, to stand up to those who bullied other kids in my school. I wonder what damage those kids might have not have had to endure if I had stood up for them. And I hope that kids will learn from hearing stories like mine, that even if it's not happening to them directly, that the actions of bullies must be stopped. There is strength in numbers.
I AM THE FACE of Change for Child Sexual Abuse & Assault
Having been a Victim of Childhood Sexual Abuse from ages 11 to 16, which was inflicted on me by two different men, I have come to understand how vital it is that legal actions are taken against sexual predators, to make the predators accountable for their crimes, and, more importantly, to protect the other children who will be put at risk if sexual predators are not exposed for their actions and choices.