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Saturday 23 August 2014

Teenage girl with Asperger's 'bullied for ten years'

Peers set her hair on fire and called her 'fat', 'ugly', 'weird', 'psycho'

Published 16/04/2014 | 13:24

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Rebecca Parkin 16, from Sheffield, who was bullied for more than ten years because she has Asperger's syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. Photo: Bullet PR/PA Wire

Rebecca Parkin, 16, from Sheffield, was bullied for more than 10 years because she has Asperger's syndrome, a form of high functioning autism.

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She became so terrified of the physical attacks she suffered at school, which included older pupils trying to set her hair on fire when she was 11, that she stayed off school and her education suffered.

She said: "I got called awful names - fat, ugly, worthless, stupid, weird, psycho.

"I had food thrown at me whilst walking around school; I had a whole bottle of water thrown on me.

"I had acids and chemicals thrown at me in science; I had people calling me and texting me on a blocked number and saying nasty things to me. I had to change my number because of this."

She said she also received threats through social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

"A girl posted a Facebook status once and she put that she was going to 'get me' and that people would 'see the blood' because I was trying to make friends with her new best friend," she said.

Miss Parkin also said she was accused of stealing a knife from an art lesson in order to stab one of the bullies, but it was later discovered that no knife had been removed from the classroom.

The teenager said she eventually moved schools because of the emotional problems she developed as a result of being bullied.

She said: "I've been a victim of bullying for over 10 years of my life.

"As a 16-year-old today, I feel more confident to stand up and not be ashamed to say that I may have been a victim of bullying, but I got through it and will continue to strive through the challenges I've experienced during my lifetime.

"I have now found something to take my mind off of it all, and this has actually decreased the amount of bullying I receive.

"I'm respected a lot more by staff and pupils at my new high school.

"I write ChildLine's column in First News, I do a lot of participation with the NSPCC too.

"I am a youth patron for Ambitious About Autism as I have Asperger's syndrome, a form of high functioning autism, which makes me different from others.

"But to be honest, I'm glad I am different. It makes me unique and special."

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