For 17-year old Azaria Messingham, being bullied was just a part of life.
But after standing up to her tormentors, the Youth Cabinet member for Durrington is keen to share her story to raise awareness and help others.
This week, schools and other organisations will take part in various events in line with Anti-Bullying Week, hoping people like Azaria will not suffer in silence.
“‘I’ve been bullied pretty much all of my life,” said Azaria, who had to change schools because of her problems with bullies.
She added: “It started affecting me more at high school and even though it was still verbal, those words started to hurt more.
“Even though on the outside it seemed like I was brushing them off and ignoring their comments it did hurt and it knocked my self-confidence to the point where I’m still not comfortable with myself.”
Azaria found her voice by joining the West Sussex Youth Cabinet, which she says has helped spread the word about bullying, as well as providing a much needed confidence boost.
For the full story, see the Herald and Gazette, out Thursday, November 22.