November 21, 2012

Victoria Pabst, 17, of Westbrook, stood up against bullying

By Ann S. Kim akim@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

Victoria Pabst is glad she took a stand.

click image to enlarge

Victoria "Tori" Pabst, photographed in her home Tuesday, November 20, 2012, is a Westbrook senior who took a stand against bullying last year and has since gone public with the story.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Last school year, Pabst found herself the target of intense bullying. She spend much of her junior year at Westbrook High School getting pushed into lockers, taunted by classmates and deluged with hateful Facebook posts, text messages and tweets.

Finally, she had enough.

Pabst, who goes by "Tori," wrote a 1,045-word letter about her ordeal and went on WLOB radio to tell her story. Morning host Ray Richardson posted her missive on his website, where it got tens of thousands of hits.

Some of the bullying intensified immediately afterwards, but then stopped altogether. Teachers and her "real friends" came out in support. Some of the kids apologized.

"I don't think they realized themselves how bad it was, but they definitely understood afterward," said Pabst, now a high school senior.

Six months later, Pabst says she no longer dreads going to school. She's getting good grades and preparing to go to college, where she plans to study psychology.

She's glad that her experience may have helped others. People contacted her mother, and classmates told her she was being called a role model on Twitter. Richardson organized a community forum on bullying.

Pabst said she didn't know that going public would be such a big deal.

"Not first off, but after, I realized, this is getting really big," she said. "I didn't expect that much attention, but it was something that needed to be touched on."

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