Born with Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, Faith Martin missed two years of school as a result of bullying that left her unwilling to enter the classroom.
Her condition requires her to use an electric wheelchair for mobility, and also affects her right hand, making it hard for her to perform some basic tasks like holding a drink or cutting up food.
Now, The 17 year-old from Portsmouth has made a film sharing her experience, which she hopes will raise awareness about the consequences of bullying for both the victims and the perpetrators, and encourage people to speak out.
‘Because I was bullied, it got to a point where I realised I had to do something about it, and I thought it would be a good idea to share my own experience and help other people struggling with it, because I wish I’d had something like that,’ she explained.
‘At school, I was teased with name calling, and used to have people pressing buttons on my wheelchair so I couldn't move. I was also in hospital for some of the incidents as I was frequently pushed out of my chair.’
Faith says this bullying was not dealt with appropriately by her school.
‘My teachers ignored my requests for help; one mocked me in the staff room for crying,’ she explained.
‘Obviously it is upsetting that it happened, but to know other people have gone through the same thing, and to have the comfort of being able to help them, is quite a nice thing.’
For Faith, the bullying was a constant part of her life, starting in primary school and culminating in her missing large chunks of secondary school; something which she says had a detrimental effect on her education.
‘I didn’t want to go in at all,’ Faith explained. ‘I did miss out on things, because I didn’t get the right grades at GCSE, so I am re-taking some. I’m at college and I’m still doing my maths now. I think my experiences did have an effect on my grades.’
Despite these setbacks, Faith is now studying Business and IT at Portsmouth College and wants her experiences to be an asset moving forward.
‘I do want to be a teacher for children with disabilities, and I really want to be able to help others that go through similar experiences.
‘I just want people to understand you should think before you do things, and if you are being bullied then you need to tell someone; Teachers if you trust them, but if not definitely Child-line. I did use Child-line at one point, and I think they do some amazing work. The one-to-one talks are really helpful.’
Faith's project was funded by The Blagrave Trust.
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