No matter how many accounts of bullying incidents we hear about, it never gets any easier learning about the pain that some people suffer at the hands of peers who relentlessly mock, tease and harass them. But thankfully there's a positive resolution in the case of Breanna Mendoza, an 8th grader from California who contemplated suicide after being subjected to bullying at school and on social media.
In a disturbing example of how bullying knows no bounds, Breanna says the verbal abuse and threats of physical harm she endured from other students stemmed from the fact that she was born with Goldenhar syndrome, a condition that causes facial deformity and also affects her hearing, vision and respiratory system. Recently, the bullying reached a point where the teen could no longer attend school when other students threatened to physically assault her. This situation eventually led Breanna to send her goodbyes to friends via text, as she felt the abuse had become impossible to deal with.
While Breanna felt completely alienated and hopeless, her family's decision to bring her story to the attention of the local news station proved that the teen had more support than she realized. Thankfully strangers intervened and turned a situation that could've very well ended in tragedy into a beautiful example of empowerment. In addition to receiving a ton of well-wishes and friend requests, the Children's Craniofacial Association sponsored a trip for Breanna and her family to a retreat where she could socialize and bond with other teens like herself.
"I've gotten so many friend requests," Breanna told News 10. "I've gotten so many people texting me, saying 'we're very proud of you, you're so amazing, you're beautiful, we love you.'" And she's heard from old friends too. "Even my friends that I know that have moved away, they have even texted me," she said. "They were like: 'dude, your video has gone viral.'"
Thanks to Breanna's decision to publicize her experiences, she can now count herself amongst people like Lizzie Velasquez and 17-year-old country singer Jessie Chris as yet another example of someone who recovered from utter hopelessness to an individual who now has the strength to empower herself and others to overcome bullying.
"Going from being the one being bullied to the one standing up to the bullies is a big step and I'm super happy that I did it," Breanna said. "And hopefully it will help other kids be able to step up too and realize that they're not alone and that they have people there for them no matter what. They just have to speak out."