Let's Stop Bullying!
When I was in elementary school I was bullied. I was the girl who was picked last for kick ball because I wasn’t good at it. When I reached middle school, I was bullied because of how I looked. I had my purse dumped into a trash can, and items taken from me. When I reached high school, I was bullied because I wanted to be a good person. I didn’t want to be part of the in crowd or become a drug addict. I truly believe at one point in our lives, we are bullied. Bullying needs to stop, and it begins with everyone taking a stand to understand how harmful bullying can be in our lives. I had the opportunity to interview one of Savannah's youth bullying expert, Victoria DiNatale, as she continues to spread her campaign, STANDING VICTORIOUS™ against bullying.
How did you get into motivational speaking?
DiNatale: Public speaking runs in my blood. My older sister competed in oratorical competitions throughout high school, and my mom trained me to compete in speech too. Once, while at a national speaking competition in the tenth grade, I heard a famous motivational speaker. I noticed the way she used her voice to persuade others to make positive change. In that moment I said to myself, “That is what I will do for a career.” Two years later, I took the microphone for the first time to share my anti-bullying message. It has taken me all over the southeastern United States.
When did you realize you wanted to create awareness against bullying?
DiNatale: Bullying is a subject matter that I learned first-hand in middle and high school. In the sixth grade, I was bullied daily and developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a stress cough as a result of the bullying. On my 19th birthday, I first began sharing my story, and it has been an incredible journey. Spreading awareness about bullying is my life’s work.
What do you hope others will gain from your speeches?
DiNatale: STANDING VICTORIOUS™, a campaign against bullying, is all about teaching kids that they can overcome bullying and move on to live happy, successful lives. I am living proof of that! I want kids to know that bullying is not forever. It is not a life sentence. There is always help and hope.
How can the community help take a stand against bullying?
DiNatale: If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the entire city of Savannah to help curb bullying. The biggest way to take a stand against bullying? Adults should model positive behavior, drop the “my kid would never” mentality, and follow through with protocol to end bullying when reported.
Why do people bully others?
DiNatale: Bullying stems from a lack of something in a bully’s life –whether it be happiness, a good home life, or a positive sense of self. The great news for those who bully is the same for those who are bullied – bullying is not forever! A bully can make the decision today to change and stop harming others. Bullies too can stand victorious over bullying!
If you are interested in having Victoria DiNatale speak at your organization or to help someone you know please visit here.
Photo courtesy of Victoria DiNatale