Bullying victim’s mother shares story of struggle to raise awareness

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An Indiana mother is sharing her pain to empower others in the fight against bullying.

Lana Swoape’s daughter Tori, 15, committed suicide in 2012 after enduring bullying at school. Since then, it’s been a long road for Lana and her other two kids.

She hosted an anti-bullying fair Saturday to raise awareness in the Muncie community.

“If I can help one family not go through what I went through, then I’ve done my job,” Swoape said. “We have to come together to make a change. If we don’t do it, who’s going to?”

Swoape said she knew her daughter had troubles with bullying, but never knew she was struggling so deeply.

“She walked around with a smile on her face day and night,” said Swoape. “After she passed away, I found a journal she had written. She said she would cry at night in the shower because she didn’t want to burden anyone with her problems. She didn’t want anyone to know how sad she was.”

“It breaks my heart because she was so young and had so much potential,” said Fayth Kalb, a 500 festival princess who also attended the event. “It’s just so unfortunate that things can go that far out of hand.”

“One voice can make a difference, it can make a big difference,” Swoape said. “It can really mean life or death for someone, that one voice.”

“I think there’s not a single kid who hasn’t had a personal experience with bullying,” said Kalb. “It’s such an unfortunately prevalent issue with our kids nowadays and it shouldn’t be.”

Saturday’s rally was also meant to raise awareness about a new state law that went into effect this summer, which requires school districts to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the problem of bullying.