Girls are constantly under attack for the way they look. The clothes they wear, their body type, the hair style they choose. Carleigh O'Connell was bullied by peers through a piece of graffiti. It hurt, she was upset, and then she decided to fight back in the best way she could, by showing her courage to the world.
She donned a swimsuit and stood next to that piece of hateful scrawl and took a picture. She then put that picture up on Instagram and sent it to her mother so she could share it on Facebook. Carleigh wanted other victims of this type of bullying to know “There are people there for you. You’re not alone,”
To quote Carleigh's mother:
"For all youth across America and the world. Words can hurt but how you handle the words makes all the difference.
"Please share this example with anyone you think is hurting because of others and thank you for reading this."
Carleigh O’Connell, as the father of two daughters I want you to know that I am proud of you for the example you just set for young women everywhere. You knocked it out of the park.
And to the person(s) who wrote that little missive on that concrete all I can say is:
Well...I can't say what I want to say because I'm attempting the same level of class and dignity as Carleigh, something I'm not always capable of doing, particularly when it comes to bullies.
To help share this example of courage, go here to Daryl Lynn O'Connell's Facebook post. And while you are there, read the entire post by Carleigh's mom. As a parent, I totally get where she is coming from and I applaud her for standing up with her daughter in her efforts to help others. It is hard to let your kids be courageous, your instincts are to protect them. But sometimes the best way to protect them is to let them be brave. It's not always easy to do.
Kudos Ms. O'Connell, you and your daughter have done something special and I applaud you.