Officials raise awareness on effects of bullying

Columbia (WACH)--Victoria Dinatale is doing her part to stop bullying in schools.

The former bullying victim was teased in middle and high school growing up; and suffered greatly.

"I developed post-traumatic stress disorder; which many war veterans develop. I developed a stress cough. I was passing out and was in the care of psychologists."

It took Dinatele two years to overcome her trauma. She is now a senior at Armstrong Atlantic College. She also gives motivational talks to students as part of National Anti-Bullying Month.

Dinatale is not alone as a victim. Bullying lead to the death of Amanda Todd, 15. The Canadian teenager posted her bullying story on Youtube before committing suicide earlier this month.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said there are no laws against bullying; but but it can lead to severe crimes.

"I have prosecuted cases involving criminal sexual assault type cases as well as assault and battery cases," Wilson said. "Some of the harassment and stalking cases in which bullying was a precursor."

Wilson said cyber-bullying in particular is a major problem. His office along with other state agencies are trying to raise awareness.

"There are school resource officers. You need to be able to feel like you can speak to the school resource officer, guidance counselor, or teacher."

The South Carolina Association of School Administrators has also implemented brand new bullying programs throughout the state to educate children at young ages; hoping to prevent another tragedy.

It is help that Dinatele hopes will give children hope.

"Suicide is not an option. Even when you feel like no one is there, for every person that will not help you, there is someone who will."

To learn more about programs, click here or here.

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