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Added: Bren Hilyard - Date: 18.01.2022 17:01 - Views: 49244 - Clicks: 9887

CNN -- It always happens the same way: Lizzie Velasquez comes across a hateful video or photo of herself late at night and once she sees it, she can't sleep. The cruel comments make her blood boil. A light turns on inside of her, she says, and she'll stay up until she says something. One of the motivational speaker's most-recent late-night pleas racked up over 2 million views and broad online support.

Velasquez went viral on TikTok earlier this month after she found users on the app were sharing her photo as part of TikTok's "New Teacher Challenge. The child's reaction is usually one of shock or fear. And when the parent laughs, the child learns it's OK to laugh at others, too, Velasquez said. Because we are humans.

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We have feelings. Some of the users who have shared her image have refused to take their videos down, she said. Velasquez is more concerned about the people who may not have her social influence or reach because they may not be able to get a message out there to help make it stop. She was born with Marfanoid-progeroid-lipodystrophy syndrome, an extremely rare condition that keeps her from gaining weight she's weighed around 65 pounds for most of her adult lifeaffects her facial structure and has rendered her blind in one eye. She was bullied growing up in Austin, Texas.

Then, when she was 17, a YouTube user made a video calling her the "world's ugliest woman" and the bullying became global. Strangers online told her to take her own life and stay out of the public eye so she wouldn't blind people with her appearance. At 31, and after years of speaking tours, four books and several TV appearances, she's softened her view. She mostly ignores trolls and she encourages people who belittle her to exercise empathy online.

Her feelings still get hurt.

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But standing up to online harassers now is more about defending people with disabilities or conditions, she said. Preliminary data on bullying and developmental disabilities has shown that children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than students without disabilities, according to the National Bullying Prevention Center.

Melissa Blake, a freelance writer who has contributed to CNN and disability advocate, didn't even have a TikTok when some friends alerted her that her face wound up on the app as part of the "New Teacher Challenge. Like with Velasquez, Blake's photo was being used for laughs. It wasn't anything she hadn't dealt with before, but that didn't make it right. So she wrote a piece for Refinery29 about the "New Teacher Challenge.

What you're doing is not only violating that person but it's violating every person with a disability.

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By doing that, you're essentially mocking disabilities. Blake was born with Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects her bones and muscles. Her condition has made her the target of trolls most of her online life. She's active on social media for her work, so she sees the users who hide behind fake usernames and empty profile pictures and land in her notifications every day. She's gone viral for her responses, including in Septemberwhen anonymous Twitter users told her she should stop sharing photos of herself because she was "too ugly.

Both Velasquez and Blake are used to being targeted online. They're also used to receiving little support from social media platforms, they said. After her harassment on YouTube, Velasquez said she offered to help the company with its comment section and how to keep Ugliest woman alive pictures more civil. She's offered the same services to TikTok but hasn't heard back. They've both had trouble reporting abusive content, too. Velasquez and Blake said they've reported comments and videos that targeted them or disabled people and weren't removed from platforms.

In Velasquez's case, she said often her comments calling out online abusers are removed. Because the more that people do this, the more normalized it's gonna be. Both women agreed, though, that just as often as they're overcome with trolls, they're overwhelmed by support from friends and strangers online. Since Velasquez's TikTok response went viral, she's been tagged in videos from parents teaching their children about empathy and the cruelness of othering people for their differences.

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It's "incredibly encouraging," she said. For Melissa Blake, that looks like continuing to be online, defying the critics who say she should leave Twitter if she doesn't want to be harassed. It's writing about the callousness of the "New Teacher Challenge" and other forms of cyberbullying. It's hard to live in public now -- the pandemic canceled most of Velasquez's bookings and speaking engagements for the year -- so she'll stay online, preaching empathy to parents and TikTok users.

She doesn't expect bullying to be eradicated from social media.

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But if she can leave the internet -- and now TikTok -- a little bit kinder than how she found it, Velasquez thinks she will have done her job. Share this article: facebook twitter. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Cancel Delete.

Ugliest woman alive pictures

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Parents on TikTok mock people with disabilities for the 'New Teacher Challenge.' These women are reclaiming their images