Every girl deserves to feel like the beautiful young queen she is every day, but especially on her prom night. When Tayja Jones went to bed last Saturday night, the 17-year-old high school junior was still feeling on top of the world after attending her first prom. “I made a status when I came home from the prom that night and said I enjoyed myself and happy I had fun,” Tayja told Fox 29. But, by the next morning Internet trolls and bullies tried to snatch every bit of #BlackGirlJoy Tayja had, initially causing her photo to go viral for the wrong reasons.
Time and time again we’re reminded that the comments section is not a safe space for Black girls and Tayja’s beautiful prom photos spread across the Web with damaging comments about her weight and looks. After reading the comments Tayja told Fox 29, “It was just really hurtful because I was so confident the day before and it just changed my view on myself.”
That’s how fast it can happen – the killing of a Black girl’s spirit at the click of a button.
Thankfully, Tayja’s confidence was only temporarily shaken and with the support of her mother, friends and Internet supporters, she is using her experience with cyberbullying to speak out for others who are vulnerable.
Studies show a link between cyberbullying and depression and suicidal thoughts in teens. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that children in the study who were bullied were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than children who weren’t bullied.
Tayja posted the following message to her Facebook page:
With her mother by her side to support her and remind her of her worth, Tayja is addressing the haters head on to remind the world to #StopBullying. Keep speaking and living boldly, Tayja!
Watch Tayja’s story on Fox 29 below: