WARNING: Some details in this story may be disturbing to readers. Discretion is advised.
The B.C. mom said since speaking publicly about the assault, an outpouring of kindness has come their way, restoring some of her “faith in humanity,” and motivating her daughter to pay it forward.
“She’s an empath and she’s amazing,” the mother told Global News on Thursday.
“She’s joyed and she wants to she wants to do more with it … even mentioned opening a Facebook page for kids that can reach out to her that she can help and support.”
Both the mother and daughter’s identities are protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
According to her mother, the girl was lured to Hillcrest Elementary School on May 7 under the premise of meeting friends for birthday cake. She was then kicked and punched by multiple assailants who brought her to the ground, forced her to kiss their shoes, and kept kicking her, her mother said.
The assault took place in the company of an estimated 25 to 50 onlookers, none of whom called police, and several of whom filmed the attack and shared videos on social media.
The 15-year-old was left with a fractured nose, a concussion, black eyes, bruised ribs, a rolled ankle that requires x-rays, and cuts and bruises all over her body, her mother said.
Since then, a GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $3,000 to support the girl’s recovery, including the cost of counselling and replacements for personal belongings that were stolen.
Letters of support, flowers, cards, food, and a handful of free self-defence and martial arts training offers have also come in, to help boost the girl’s confidence, if she chooses.
“I’m so proud of her. She’s so strong, the way she didn’t fight back and she held her own. She did everything I taught her — walk away,” said her mother. “I couldn’t ask for a better kid and I don’t know what I would do without her.”
A friend, Kayle Fallowfield, has supported the family in the aftermath of the attack, and helped manage the offers from strangers. She said the cruelty of the assault “blows” her mind, and bullying has gotten progressively “horrific” in the past few years.
“I want (her) to feel loved and know that a lot of people don’t stand for it,” Fallowfield explained. “The amount of support from even young kids who have been bullied … has helped (her) realize she’s not alone in this.”
The attack in Cloverdale is one of several recent examples of teen violence in Metro Vancouver that have renewed a conversation about bullying and harassments among youth.
The 15-year-old’s mother said she hopes their story encourages other teens who are struggling to reach out for support if they need it.
“As much as I need to focus on myself and my child, I also want to be there for anyone’s kid or any parent that needs a hug or anything,” she said.
“I just want to pay it forward, I want to take (my daughter’s) story and I want to touch as many people as I can with it and just help as many kids as we can.”
Surrey RCMP are investigating the assault and have arrested and released one youth — “the primary aggressor” — on an undertaking with a future court date.
No charges have been laid, but the mother said some of the bullies captured in the videos have come forward to apologize, “disgusted with their own behaviour.”
“Bullying should not be tolerated at all and there should be harsher consequences for it,” the mom told Global News. “These kids don’t deserve to just get a slap on the wrist and then just set free.”
She said “something is lacking in the system” between schools, the government and police that leaves struggling kids behind, some of whom end up taking their own lives, and some of whom are killed in brutal assaults.
“My daughter escaped with her life, but is the next kid or the next victim? It just it needs to be stopped now and kids need to be held accountable for their actions.”