Kelly, I present you with the purple heart for your giving your life to the War on Fat. You are in our thoughts.
Kelly Yeomans (1984 – 28 September 1997) was an English schoolgirl from the Allenton suburb of Derby. Her 1997 suicide, at the age of 13, became widespread news when the cause was blamed on bullying to which she had been subjected by other local children.
In evidence to court, Yeomans was described as a pleasant and friendly girl. However, she was reported to be the victim of repeated harassment and taunting, particularly about her weight. Her parents said that the incessant bullying had left Yeomans feeling miserable. Her mother asserted that she had gone to her daughter’s school, Merrill College, Shelton Lock, thirty times to complain about the issue, but received no assistance. School officials, however, claimed they had received only one complaint.
Matters came to a head in September, 1997, when a group of youths reportedly gathered at Yeomans’s home on several consecutive nights, on each occasion throwing food at the house and shouting taunts aimed at Yeomans. Her mother later said that the incident prompted Yeomans to tell her family, “It is nothing to do with you Daddy, nothing to do with you Mummy, and nothing to do with you Sarah [her sister]. I have had enough and I’m going to take an overdose.”
The parents said they were worried and sought help for their daughter’s obvious depression, but did not believe she would carry out her threat to take her own life. However, Yeomans was soon found dead in her bedroom after taking an overdose of painkillers.
After they admitted having done so, five youths between the ages of thirteen and seventeen were convicted of intentionally harassing Yeomans in the months leading up to her death. They were sentenced to attendance centre orders. For a time, Yeomans’s death put the issue of child bullies and their victims into the public spotlight.
In his 2003 recording “More Jack than God”, the former Cream bass guitarist Jack Bruce wrote a tribute to her - “Kelly’s Blues”.
-Wikipedia entry on the suicide of Kelly Yeomans
Dear Anonymous, I hereby award you the Purple Heart in the War On Fat for your bravery and strength.
I was in 6th grade. I’d already spent some time practicing by wrapping things around my throat to see how it felt. I was tired of being picked on, beat up, having things thrown at me, having no friends, and have boys ask me out just to laugh at me. At home I was called lazy and worthless and fat.
Just to make it clear, I wasn’t always the fat kid. I was very very thin and then suddenly, for no discernible reason, I gained a lot of weight very rapidly (my doctors now tell me it’s because my body chemistry changed due to the onset of bipolar disorder). I was popular, had lots of friends, had “boyfriends” , was favored by teachers, etc.
After the weight gain I lost it all. For two years I didn’t have a single friend in school until another fat kid moved to the area.
I was miserable. No kid that young should deal with the depression and self loathing that I dealt with. I hated myself and I hated my body and I wanted it all to end. One day I just walked into our back yard to the big tree with the swinging rope and tried to hang myself.
I was unsuccessful, but I would try again about a year later and develop some very self destructive habits. The thing is- I didn’t care about my weight until people began pointing it out to me. I was just a happy kid- running around and playing and having fun. But my peers- classmates and adults alike, took it upon themselves to make me feel like my body was wrong and horrible and disgusting.
This was almost 20 years ago.. I can’t imagine how much worse it is for fat kids now.