Young woman hands out letters written by bullied people on Valentines day
After being bullied her whole life, 20-year-old Kaya van den Dikkenberg decided to use Valentine's Day to draw attention to this problem. On Thursday she handed out "Valentine's Day cards" at Utrecht Central Station. But instead of a love letter, the cards contained letters written by people who are being bullied, RTL Nieuws reports.
The white envelopes with red and silver hearts on them contained letters written by people who have been or are still being bullied. "They tell about the nicknames they got, the loneliness they felt, the shame, and the scars left behind", Kaya said to the broadcaster. She carries similar scars. "You do not see them, but they are there. I've been bullied since group 2, and I still sometimes get nasty remarks."
Kaya, who has rheumatism and uses a mobility scooter, faced bullies throughout her school years. "The low point was five years ago", she said to RTL. "They chased me home, shouted at me every day in my street. I did not dare to go outside anymore, sat inside trembling. In fact, I did not even dare to walk through the hallway of my own house, or stand in front of a window. I was terrified and thought terrible things."
The young woman joined a foundation that encourages young people to take action for the things they find important. "I want to make people understand that they should rather be themselves. So I made call to everyone who has been bullied: send your story, I'll share it."
She got 400 letters, which she handed out at Utrecht Central Station on Thursday. "People were really shocked", she said. "They were expecting a sweet letter or something, and I did not prepare them for the message either." The letters did not hold any punches. "There were people who told me about the moments they thought about suicide. I found that rough, it made me cry. That such lovely, beautiful people think of such bad things because others make life difficult for them. Because others say they are worth nothing."
The letters really affected people. Kaya saw people break down crying, becoming emotional. Some even shared their own story with her. "A woman told about her son, who is very bullied."
With this action Kaya wanted to show that bullying still happens. And that it leaves scars. But all the letters had a positive conclusion. "The people who were bullied all became stronger." Just like she did. "I stand here. I make YouTube videos to tell my story and do not let anyone stop me. And you know what? I hope that somewhere my bullies have seen me, or that they read my letter in some way and that they think: I should not have done that."
Kaya van den Dikkenberg (20) uit Doetinchem deelt vandaag 'liefdesbrieven' uit. Wie ze openmaakt, leest een relaas van iemand die ernstig gepest is (📰: @DeGelderlander) https://t.co/71gmuFCIXf pic.twitter.com/rBdAaGnU28