There are those who say that being bullied is a rite of passage, just a milestone you hit along the way to growing up. Then, there are those who reject the notion of normalizing cruelty. 17-year-old Ally Del Monte is one of those heroes.
A survivor of bullying, this teen is working hard to create a world in which other kids won’t have to endure the torment that she suffered. Ally is now leading a movement to end bullying, and her hashtag of choice is #BeBrave.
In 8th grade, after experiencing a horrific bout of cyberbullying that concluded with Ally logging into her private Tumblr to find 172 messages encouraging her to kill herself, Ally attempted to take her own life. Her mother intervened, and Ally found strength in writing about her experiences. She’s been documenting her experiences on her website losergurl since she was 13 years old, and she’s been writing regularly for The Huffington Post on subjects like bullying and body positivity since she was 15. As The Hartford Courant reports, Ally’s mom Wendy estimates that her daughter’s blog posts reach 150,000 to 200,000 people every year.
“I started writing about some of my experiences, and I started talking to people from all over the world,” Ally explained to People in a recent interview. “I would get messages from them, and I would help them by either actually talking them out of killing themselves, or sending them resources, like the suicide hotline for the area they were in, or tips on what to do when you’re getting bullied.”
“I know it sounds easier than it is, but it IS that simple,” Ally explains on her blog. “I take my Me- I will be Brave for you– and be Brave and stand up to your bullies. Then you turn it into We: We both Be Brave and stand up for the bullied. We stand up for the next person, and the next person, and the next person. From Me to We to Us. WE CAN END BULLYING.”
In another blog post, she talks about how being brave makes her feel beautiful.
“I feel pretty when I talk to another person who was bullied and they tell me how they learned to #BeBrave and that they are doing better. When I stand up [for] someone who is being bullied, I feel fierce and gorgeous.”
And Ally really does believe that by standing up for ourselves and the people we see victimized, we can put a stop to bullying once and for all.
“We can end bullying,” Ally told People. “Part of the reason people don’t do anything about bullying is because it’s not socially seen as cool thing to do, so people don’t do anything about it for fear that it’s going to be turned around on them. If you’re just brave, and try to make people see that bullying is not funny and it’s not cool, it will catch on.”
We are so inspired by this courageous teen who is putting it all on the line to put an end to bullying. Thank you, Ally, for reminding us all how important it us to #BeBrave.
[Image via YouTube]