She might have been doused with juice by a person she called a "friend" but soon enough, she was doused with love and support in a way she didn't expect.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 22, 2019. It has since been updated.
Anxiety is no joke. It can leave a person so fearful or traumatized to the point that they do everything they can to avoid the things they fear. And that is exactly what Emilee Perry did when she knew her prom was coming up. While some kids look forward to it, many find it nerve-wracking. But for someone struggling with severe anxiety, like Emilee, it was so overwhelming and frightening that she flat out refused to go. Her mom, much like most moms, didn't want her child to miss out on the occasion. She was looking out for her daughter, hoping she would have fun and look back at the night with fond memories. At her mom's insistence, the 16-year-old decided to take the plunge and attended the event in a beautiful pink gown adorned with sequins and jewels, according to The Sun.
But within just two hours of wishing her a good time, Emilee's mother, Tracy, had to rush back to the venue to pick up her daughter, as she was "in a state." It turns out, at the party, a bully whom Emilee thought was her friend, decided to drop a bowl of juice all over her, ruining her dress, her professionally-styled hair and more importantly, the young girl's self-esteem, according to Metro UK. Taking to Facebook, Tracy posted pictures of her daughter in tears:
"This is my beautiful daughter, who suffers with anxiety whom we had to beg to go to the prom this evening. Two hours later I collect her from the prom like this, heartbroken and in a state. This 'person' thought it a good idea to pour a full jug of juice over her and soak her from head to toe. I hope one day someone humiliates and devastates her like she has done to my daughter!!!!"
While some adults might be quick to dismiss such incidents as teen drama, it is important to understand the impact bullying can have on a young person's mental health. This is especially worrisome considering Emilee was battling anxiety and chose to attend the event despite her fear. According to Medical News Today, a study confirmed a link between bullying and the change in brain size, which could lead to a higher risk of mental health issues. The study states that bullying may decrease the volume of parts of the brain called the caudate and putamen, both of which affect how the brain processes information, memory, movements, and learning. A reduce in the volume of these parts can also lead to higher anxiety.
But despite the tragic beginning, this story had a remarkable turn. Although one girl decided to ruin her day, thousands reached out to support her when the upset mom shared the story online. The reactions ranged from anger, disbelief at the cruelty, reflections on their own experiences with bullying, and an overwhelming and positive support for Emilee.
Some of the supportive comments read:
"Don't let the haters win....you look amazeballs even covered in juice"
"Your daughter is beautiful and must be or have something that the bully is jealous of. It’s a shame the other children didn’t pull together and stand by her"
"Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL!!! Tell her to keep her head up and keep smiling. You will go much further in life than they ever will."
Some offered support to her mom as well.
"Omg!! I am sooo sorry to your daughter that what was supposed to be such a memorable night, was ruined by selfish people. She looked beautiful by the way!"
While others shared their wisdom and support to Emilee.
"You look so beautiful honey ..we don't why some people feel the need to bully people but I do know it has always been around and as I got older I figured it out that these people are the ones with the insecurity and the deep hurting inside and they're the ones that are weak!! I think they're jealous of you bc from what I can see it is beauty you shine and don't let ANYONE ever tell you anything different !!"
"She will survive. Always. She's SO beautiful, smarter and stronger than she thinks about herself. Yes, she is delicate and for some people she might seem an easy target. But she will learn to react despite the anxiety. She's going to be OK."
"First of all, your daughter is so gorgeous. i would kill to be friends w a girl whose smile alone brightens a photo that way. honestly if you ever want a new friend girl i am here for you."
The outpour of encouraging messages sure lifted the young teen's spirit, according to The Daily Record. So much so that she herself took to Facebook to thank these strangers, who stood up for her and showered her with much-deserved love and positive attention.
After the attention this story drew, Tracy heard back from the parents of the girl who behaved rudely to Emilee. Tracy was kind enough to update everyone and also describe how everyone makes mistakes. This shows how kind she is despite being fiercely protective of her daughter.
Teens need our help to navigate through the confusing years. While it is important to make sure our kids are never victims of bullying, it is also important for parents to look out for signs that their own kids could be engaging in bullying or encouraging it. Listening to them on a regular basis can give us insights into their world much more than talking at or talking to them.