According to a study by the National Education Association, 160,000 kids and teens miss school every day because of bullying. Moreover, one in seven students experience some kind of bullying in their lifetime.
And unfortunately, perhaps because of public portrayal of bullying, we assume it looks the same:
1) Large boy picks on small boy, throws him into locker
2) Kid gets wedgie/swirly in the bathroom
3) The stealing of someone’s lunch money
Sadly, it’s a lot more subtle. It’s a jab about someone’s looks, it’s casual teasing, it’s words that sometimes cause far more damage to the psyche than physical pain. Here’s how one woman used that teasing as fuel to become a beauty-queen body-builder.
Meet Victoria Thornewell, a 21-year-old who was repeatedly called ugly by classmates and mercilessly teased throughout high school. In an interview with the Mirror, Thornewell talked about just how much it affected her.
“At secondary school, I was seen as ugly by other kids and it made me not believe in myself.”
“People don’t understand what those kinds of words can do to someone.”
So, Thornewell used that to her advantage and won a local pageant in 2014.
“When I won Miss Leicester 2014, I got lots of support from people who’d kept quiet when I was being mocked at school, but thought, ‘Where were you when people were calling me ugly?’ “
But she wasn’t done there. Thornewell wanted to be more than just a beauty-pageant contestant; she wanted to be a competitive bodybuilder. After watching a show in February 2015, Thornewell went to work, embarking on a strict 19-week exercise and diet plan. She’s detailed a lot of the results on her Instagram page.
Bodybuilders aren’t made in five months, Thornewell knows that. But judging from the progress she’s made this year, and the fact that she’s all the way up to 143 pounds of pure solid muscle, she’s on her way to making some serious noise. She is set to compete in the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Finals in April 2016.
Thornewell 1, Bullies 0.