SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Did you know that every seven minutes a child is bullied?
According to the Stop Bullying Now Foundation, 77 percent of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically? The cyberbullying statistics are rapidly approaching similar numbers.
The numbers don't tell the whole story. Many students who are bullied have dropped out of school, hurt others and even taken their own lives. It can seem overwhelming, but there is hope and we have proof.
You're about to meet one phenomenal young lady who moved beyond bullying and has important advice for you and your children.
To see Victoria DiNatale bravely speaking in front of this crowd, you would never know what she has gone through. Not so long ago, when she was in middle school, she would have been afraid to walk into this room because of girls who bullied her relentlessly.
"It was the social exclusion. It was the isolation. It was the 'you're not good enough'," explained Victoria DiNatale.
The constant bullying made DiNatale physically and emotionally sick and nearly drove her crazy. She openly shares details of how her classmates bullied her.
"They made fun of my clothes. They laughed at how I walked, talked and how I acted. They called me a wannabe," said DiNatale.
At times, she shocked these students all while making a lasting impression.
Many admit hearing her story changes how they look at bullying. "I would stand up for people more and tell people to stop while it's happening," said 8th grader Megan Winters.
"My message to all of those who are out there, who are bullying others, is to stop today because someone's life could depend on it," DiNatale said.
Powerful words from someone who has been there.
"I'm very faithful person, and I relied on God and my family to get me to the worst and darkest days of my life. I never lost my faith just because these children were tormenting me and they were taunting me to the point that I considered taking my life, but I never doubted the reality of God in my life," DiNatale added.
Her faith brought her through and she believes it can help other victims too.
She offers a message of hope to those who are being bullied now. "Your life is so valuable. You are of exceedingly great worth and you are loved more than you will ever begin to understand. Don't turn to suicide. Don't turn to think of hurting other people because you have been hurt first. There's a better way. You turn to your counselors and your parents and you talk to these people and you let them know what's going on. For every person out here who won't help you, there is somebody who will. Bullying is not forever. It is not a life sentence, and you can overcome all the pain from the bullying. You can lead a happy, healthy and successful life because I did. I'm here today . I am standing victorious!"
Victoria travels throughout the country sharing her anti-bullying message. If you would like to book her to speak at your event, call her at 912.695.2813.