By KATE LEAVER
This is what bravery looks like.
A mother who refuses to stay quiet when her baby girl is savagely bullied. A mother who wants all kids to go to school without fear. A mother who makes the decision to tell her daughter’s traumatic story on national television.
On tonight’s episode of A Current Affair, mother Julie* told host Tracey Grimshaw about her daughter Sarah*, who has been the victim of relentless bullying and assault at her high school.
The bullying Sarah experienced culminated in a particularly heinous incident, when she was strapped to a tree in her school playground with a thick garden hose. While she was tried to the tree, several slightly older male students pulled their pants down, taunted her, and rubbed themselves against her, while other students watched on.
She was humiliated, scared, and despite being the victim, abused mercilessly on social media.
Mamamia readers might remember this story. We reported on it in July when Julie called the Mamamia office to talk us through what had happened to her daughter.
When I first spoke to Julie, she told me that Sarah had tried to take her own life. She said her daughter wanted to die of shame. Julie vowed to keep speaking about that experience until police, parents, teachers, students, and journalists took bullying seriously.
That’s what she’s doing now. That’s why she was on your television tonight, with her incredibly strong daughter Sarah, telling the truth about what happened that day in the school playground. Because it’s only by coming forward and demanding change that we can stop girls like Sarah from being abused.
Obviously, I’m not suggesting that every parent do a tell-all interview with one of the country’s most prominent journalists. But I do think it’s important we look at what Julie has done here, and replicate that courage. In talking about the abuse her daughter experience, she’s stripped it of shame and forced that feeling back where it belongs: With the bullies.