Turning bullying into something positive
Cati Grant was bullied by the same girl for years in middle and high school. Once the bully was stopped, Cati got started. She launched her own anti-bullying website and she even appeared on the Dr. Phil show to talk about her experience. Read our interview with Cati to learn how she handled the bullying and her important message for all teens.
What happened to spur your interest in anti-bullying?
I was a victim of a bully who turned into a cyberbully. My bully accused me of stealing something that I did not steal. The abuse went on for four long years. I decided that I never wanted anyone to go through what I went through, so I created my website CatiCares.com to educate my peers about Internet safety and cyberbully prevention.
Did you talk to your parents or friends about being bullied?
No, in the beginning I did not tell anyone. That was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. I thought I could handle it. I thought that I could apologize and it would stop. I hoped my bully would realize that she was falsely accusing me. In middle school, I asked my mother if I could quit school because the bullying had escalated to death threats. My mother realized that I was still being bullied but never knew the extent of all of it at the time.
How did the bullying stop?
In middle school, my bully was counseled and told to stop following me around campus. Once we were promoted to high school, it began all over again. She would follow me around, yelling at me, continuing to spread false rumors. We did not even have any classes together but she would be waiting for me in my classes. My principal gave her a last warning and it did finally stop.
Did your bully ever get in trouble?
My bully was counseled in 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade. She was given a final warning to leave me alone in high school or risk the consequences.
Bullying really seems to be on the rise and is getting a lot of attention in the media. What kinds of messages would you like to send to kids who are being bullied?
The first message is speak with a trusted adult immediately, they will listen. Realize this isn't your fault. You have done nothing to deserve this type of abuse. Please don't keep it bottled up! Start writing a journal and keep copies of the messages from the bully if you can. Try to prevent any contact with the bully. If it is cyberbullying, block the bully. Don't ever be afraid to speak up and ask for help.
What would you like to say to kids who bully?
I would like them to think about the consequences of their actions. Would they want to be responsible for someone taking their own life? It's hard to shake the reputation of being a bully, but it is never too late to change something negative into something positive. Bullies have to realize that there is no such thing as being anonymous on the Internet. People will always find out who you are.
What is your goal for CatiCares?
I began CatiCares as a 10-year community service project when I was 15. My goal is to continue to raise awareness about Internet safety and cyberbully prevention.
What other things are you doing to promote teen Internet safety and bullying awareness?
I started a CatiCares Club at my high school during my sophomore year to create a bully-free zone and promote cyberbully prevention. I volunteer as a Teen Ambassador for Stomp Out Bullying, I write a feature series for HostExploit.com about Cyber Security. I never stop working to raise awareness about this cause. I try to inspire others to be the best they can be and start bully prevention clubs at their schools. Together, we can work to stop this vicious trend. I want to leave everyone with the inspiration to be their own hero!
Being so involved in advocacy work must get stressful. How do you make sure you stay healthy?
I try to eat healthy. I love fresh fruit. I get exercise daily spending time walking my dogs. I also take time out to do things I really enjoy, like cooking meals for my family. I never forget to take a break every once in a while to hang out with my friends. I have managed to surround myself with awesome people who make me smile daily.
Content last reviewed December 01, 2010
Page last updated December 01, 2010