Bullying in the U.S. is reaching epidemic proportions. With increasing numbers of children and teenagers committing suicide over being bullied at school, celebrities from the small and big screen are joining forces to fight the cause. Who better than WWE Diva Champion and Stars Earn Stripes (NBC) winner, Eve Torres, to rally the troops against bullying? With October being National Anti-Bullying Month, Torres is getting the message out via be a STAR (Show Tolerance and Respect), a joint campaign between the WWE and The Creative Coalition. The Nicaraguan and German wrestler kicks arse on the regular but it’s not all about physical prowess, she says, to overcome bullying—it’s about confidence.
Did you ever get bullied as a child?
“For me it wasn’t until high school and even college. At that point there’s not much you can do as far as standing up for yourself physically. Sometimes that bullying occurs in the form of rumors and manipulation of people. The reason I feel it’s so important to be a part of this be a STAR program is that you have to establish your confidence at a young age. Then later in life when you do encounter bullying, you’ll have the confidence to cope with it and not have it effect you. You need to have that confidence so other’s people’s action won’t effect you or your success.”
How did you deal with it?
“From a very young age I was someone who stood up for others and myself. There was a kid who was being bullied in elementary school. And I ended standing up for him on numerous occasions. Fifteen years later he ended writing me a Facebook message thanking me for always being kind to him. When I was being bullied I was able to see the big picture. You can’t really fight them or tell on them to a teacher because a teacher isn’t going to do much about a girl who telling lies about you. If you go about life the right way and you’re good to other people that will show and will payoff in the long run. I wouldn’t let it effect my actions and my willingness to succeed.”
Aside from gaining confidence, what other advice can you give victims?
“It’s easy to say standup for yourself. The problem is if you don’t feel like you’re physically capable of handling the repercussions of that, especially at a young age, it’s hard to do that.”
You also work with the Gracie Academy as a self-defense teacher. What do you specifically teach women and children there?
“Teaching them the physical techniques neutralize any threats. If a kid were to attack them I show them how to neutralize them without becoming a bully by kicking and punching. Once they have the physical confidence to defend themselves then they can verbally assert themselves. Teaching them how to fight so they won’t have to fight. Kids have to understand that they have control. Not their parents, not the principal, not the president of the U.S. It starts with them and it ends with them. To end this epidemic of bullying they have to standup for one another.”
For more information on be a STAR go to http://www.beastaralliance.org/