"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” - Robert Frost
About Bullied Beautiful™:
Raven Reed founded The Bullied Beautiful Foundation™ in efforts to turn the negative effects of bullying into a positive effect. She focuses on three key points: what is and what is not bullying, how to deal with or stop bullying, and how you can ultimately overcome bullying. She empowers people to use that negative energy to help power them forward in life, so in the end they can achieve their most important goals and aspirations. Raven also strives to teach people the importance of self-worth, and that comparison to others is irrelevant because there is only ONE person as special as YOU!
Raven fell victim to bullying at a very young age: mainly because her beloved father's occupation as a “junkman” didn’t stand well amongst her catholic school community. She recalls her 1st grade "Bring Your Parent To School Day" when it all started:
"When the teacher asked for a volunteer to go first I jumped up and down without hesitation in hopes to be that first person called. I was so proud of my dad. He was my world and my biggest hero. When I was chosen I ran to the front of the room and took a glance at my dad and urged him to make his way to the front as fast as possible. I was so excited, he literally could not have gotten up there fast enough. When I took that first glance at the back of the room where all the other parents stood, I knew from that second on my dad was different. My whole family for that fact was different. The other parents had on crisp suits and perfectly tailored clothing, then there was my dad with his holey overall's, muddy work boots, and that floppy hat he always wears to keep his ears warm. When he finally made his way up to the front room I started my whole spiel. "This is my Dad, I usually just call him Dad, but other people like to call him Craig. He gets to drive around crane's all day long and crush cars!! He even let's me drive old junk cars if they still work and takes me for rides in his big semi!!" At that moment I couldn't have been more proud. I sat through the rest of my classmates parent presentations, and before I knew it the bell rang for recess. My dad kissed me goodbye and he was headed right back to work. On the playground I patiently was waiting for my turn on the big slide when two little boys behind me tapped me on the shoulder. When I turned around two boys from my class were snickering, and then finally one of them finally spoke up. When he did, he started making fun of my dad and saying he "looks like a hobo," another kid chimed in "Yeah! Doesn't he have money to buy any pants without holes in them!" and the rest of the kids around me started up in a roar of laughter. I remember those tears falling from my face like it was yesterday. How dare they say that about him. How dare they make fun of the man that my whole world revolves around. From that point on I would forever be treated different by my peers. The verbal and physical abuse from my classmates would soon become an everyday norm. I was called a hillbilly, a lowlife, a hobo, and poor just to name a few things. It seemed as if the schools community hated my family for no reason. The only people that really ever accepted us, were the families of the few friends my siblings and I had."
"My dad coached every single sport that school had to offer, including: football, basketball, and volleyball - all of which were on a volunteer basis. I remember we would all pack up in the car when the school would have those Market Day Drives to help volunteer, and we would always help volunteer for any other activity the school hosted. We were always helping no matter what. We were never once given a thank you, or sign of appreciation. Instead, if my father would so much as park in the wrong spot or be late picking us up, he would be reprimanded and scolded. Some teachers would even single me out in front of the whole classroom, embarrassing me to no end while doing so. One teacher even denied me access to the bathroom after countless times of me begging, to the point where I peed my pants. And I was in the fifth grade when this happened, so it was no accident. In sixth grade I was sent to the office by one teacher because my less than a 1/4 inch hooped earrings were against the school's 'code of conduct.' I sat in that office all day until they could get ahold of one of my parents, because I refused to take them out. Meanwhile there were plenty of other girls in the school with similar earrings that got in no trouble at all. When they finally got ahold of my mother, she about flew off the handle that they would actually hold me from learning over something so silly. She then urged them to take one simple look to see that my ears were extremely infected, as I had already told them, and to acknowledge the fact that a cheap pair of stud earrings were the cause of it, which is why they had bought me those ones in the first place. While my mother was still on the phone the Vice Principal gave me a once over and then said "Fine. But I will inform that you she will be sent back to class with no belt on, because it has too many holes in it." That was the breaking point. That was it. My parents could not believe they would rather me walk around school with my pants hanging off, simply because my belt had 'too many holes in it'. Needless to say the next year I transferred schools."
"When I transferred, I became a tiny fish in a big sea of cliques. My small class of twenty-five people turned into a class of over two-hundred. People weren't very accepting, or fast to include me in on anything. Luckily I did make a friend almost right off the bat, her name was Brittany. Her and I instantly hit it off, and from that point on she would become my lifelong sidekick - and she still is to this day! Other people would come and go from my life, but Brittany always seemed to remain constant. It was definitely a change for me though when I switched schools. I went from a place where they looked down upon my father and his occupation, to this place where my father was a highly respected man and the community looked up to him. But I always look at middle school as that awkward period in life for us all, like we were all trying to figure out where exactly we all fit in. I guess I just discredit that whole period of time, and all the things that were said and done to me. I felt it was just a 'phase' for us all, and other than a few heartbreaks and lost friendships it didn't really seem to be too bad. I felt like I was finally starting to t fit in, and then high school hit me like a ton of bricks."
"High school was undoubtedly the WORST years of my life, when they should have been the best, or at least that's according to what they say right? Before I even got to high school I was already hated by pretty much the entire female student body. The reason for that was because I had made the Varsity Cheerleading squad as freshmen. It was the first time that had ever happened in my school's history. The older girls hated me because they felt like I was over-stepping my territory bounds, and the younger girls hated me because they were simply jealous. I remember being at the annual "Meet the Team" cookout where they introduce all the football players and cheerleaders for that year. When they called my name and my grade, a group of senior parents sitting behind my parents were going on and on about how it must have been rigged and it was a disgrace I took a seniors spot on the team. I had people shove me into lockers, people calling me every word in the book, girls calling every weekend threating me and telling me just how ugly I was, they vandalized my locker, vandalized my car, and the list goes on and on. It got so bad to the point where I actually had to file a police report because things go so out of hand. People even would make fake facbook or myspace pages pretending to be me with the entire profile (especially the "about me" section being so hateful and mean. People just wanted to tear me down for any reason they could find."
"I did become close with a few upper-classmen girls from the cheerleading squad, and they kept me under their wing and really looked out for me. But unfortunately they all graduated and then I really felt like I had no one, other than Brittany of course. Any person, with the exception of Brittany, that I ever opened my arms to and learned to trust just ended up hurting me in the end. Some girls would even be-friend me, to purposely hurt me. I just shut down. I closed almost everyone out other than my family. I went from being an awkward looking 'lowlife', according to what they said, to a self-absorbed rich b****. It was from one extreme to the other. I was living in a world where I could NOT win "
The years passed and the bullying never seemed to stop for Raven. She morphed from and awkward and curious child to a beautiful and strong young woman. She quickly went from being a child to an adult as a result from all that she endured. She set herself apart from her class, with the exception with the few friends she did have, and she decided to focus on what was important in her life.
-1st and only freshman in the high school’s history to make the Varsity Cheerleading Squad.
- All- American Athlete for Cheerleading
- Captain of the Cheerleading Squad
- Midview Sportsmanship Athlete of the Month
- 3 time Sportsmanship Award Winner
- 3 time 1st Team All-Conference Cheerleader
- 3 time 1st Team All- Conference Gymnast
- Honorable Mention Cheerleader
- Editor of the school’s newspaper
- Photographer for the school’s yearbook
- National Honors Society Member
- Honors Graduate
- Senior Class Officer
- Student Council Executive
- French Club member
- Key Club member
- SADD member
- Community volunteer for numerous different organizations
Raven was soon introduced to the world of pageantry when she received a pamphlet in the mail. She tossed it in the trash on multiple occasions, and something always urged her to pull it out for a second, third, and fourth glance. Finally she decided she was going to enter that pageant. And after four long years, tons of hard work, dedication, and determination she won! Vowing to never give up on that dream, or any other dream from that point on. She went on to win many other titles, but that wasn't the reason Raven continued to compete. She continued to compete because of the valuable life lessons she learned, and the friends that she made. Pageantry taught her about self-worth, community involvement, public speaking, interviewing, confidence, and poise. Still to this day she stays in touch with ladies she competed with in that very first pageant, and has friends all around the world as a result from competing.
When she was just 18 years old she started her first business within the pageant industry called Pageant Perfection by Raven, and did so while she was in her first semester of college. Months after that she founded Bullied Beautiful™ to let her story be heard, and to help empower and inspire people to rise above bullying. It's not about being known as the victim, but instead it's about being known for your victory.
Raven is a prime example that you can overcome those obstacles that seem to be “impossible" in life. She is living, breathing proof that you can not only overcome those obstacles, but you can also surpass them as a bigger and better person. With strength, determination, conviction in who you are and what you believe in - you can be anyone you chose. You can even be Bullied Beautiful.
• 1 out of 4 teens are Bullied.
• 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school and online.
• 8% students stay home on any given day because they're afraid of being bullied.
• 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "Bullying."
• 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
• A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools.
• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
• 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight.
• 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.
• 2 out of 3 say they know how to make a bomb, or know where to get the information to do it.
• Playground statistics - Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention -4% Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention - 85%.
Cyber Bullying Statistics
• Depending on the age group, up to 43% of students have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.
• 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.
• 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
• 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out of 10 say it has happened more than once.
• 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than 1 in 3 have done it more than once.
• 58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
Those of you that have a story or inspirational video to share please emails those to: BulliedBeautiful@aol.com
To book Raven for as a motivational speaker for your event please also email:
*Statistics used above are from www.stompoutbullying.org
The Bullied Beautiful Foundation
founded by Raven Reed