Taking Action Against Bullying: Simrat's Story
Wednesday, July 8, 2015The following is a guest post by youth kindness and anti-bullying advocate, Simrat Heer. Simrat recently completed grade 11 at Streetsville Secondary School in Mississauga. She is a local ambassador for Kind Campaign, a global initiative to end girl-on-girl bullying. Simrat has been speaking to her peers about personal her experience with bullying and the steps she has taken to overcome the effects of bullying to inspire others. Simrat is interested in speaking engagements and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Simrat Heer, I am 17-years-old, and I am a survivor of bullying and an anti-bullying activist.
I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Romberg’s Syndrome, which is a loss of skin and tissue of half of the face. This affected the way I looked because it also effects the growth of teeth, which left me with a missing front tooth for four years. I was eleven when I was first told that I was not pretty enough to have friends at school. At this time, I was living in England, the country where I was born. I suffered for years with the side effects of bullying. I was constantly reminded by myself as well as others, including my friends, that I was not good enough. Whenever people would say unkind comments to me, it chipped at my confidence until it wasn’t present. I began to see myself as the names I was known for. Having friends never came easy to me. I stuck with these friends because I could not bear the thought of being alone for the rest of my school years. I never thought I could tell anyone because if I did, I thought people would hate me even more.
I moved to Canada in 2011, and this was the first time I began to feel safe because I was getting away from my bullies. In 2014, I won a competition to get a girl-against-girl anti- bullying campaign to come to my school, Kind Campaign. The founders, Molly Thompson and Lauren Paul, told me that they found my story inspirational and they wanted to come to my school. I had the opportunity to speak at this event and host this assembly in front of 500 female students. I never thought that I would gather up enough confidence to finally get up and speak to others. After this assembly, I had groups of girls telling me that this had impacted them immensely. It was that day that I decided that I wanted to make a difference to girls’, as well as boys’ lives. I was going to use my years of suffering positively. That is how I have spoken twice for Peel Children’s Centre and have three more events outstanding with them.
It is my hope that I can start up my own campaign for anti-bullying and speak with people all around the world to tell them there is hope. I thought that the hurtful comments and having no friends was going to be the end of me but I am typing this message, positively and with my head held high, hoping that victims of bullying and depression know that there is a future. It took me more than five years to open up and use my story to help others. I never thought that I would be speaking in front of crowds, talking about how we can be much less judgmental and a lot more kind. What I have learned throughout this journey, is that along this tough, tiring, yet life changing journey, I have had the opportunity to grow as a person. If someone asked me five years ago where I thought I’d be five years from then, I don’t think I would have answered. I honestly don’t think I would have been here today without everything that has happened since. If someone were to ask me now where I want to be in five years, I’d say ‘I want to be happy’ in five years from now. Doing what I love and what’s my passion which is talking to people about how being kind is just so much better. Things get better, I didn’t think so at the time but they do. I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell myself that high school wasn’t going to be the end of me. That what truly matters is what you think of yourself and how you treat other people. I wouldn’t take back any of those tough years because it has made me who I am. I know that I will continue on with speaking to people around the world, including Peel Children’s Centre, about my journey, how being kind is always the best option, and being the up-stander instead of the bystander.
"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with knowledge that you are never alone." – Audrey Hepburn