KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Samantha Peery says Internet video of a brutal group beating makes the trauma worse.
For at least a minute of the video, Samantha is punched, sprayed with pepper spray, and whipped with chains by a group of six other girls.
She says she’s still dealing with the emotional effects of that traumatic experience.
“I was really scared,” she said. “They were pulling my hair, dragging me.”
Eventually, she blacked out. But because the incident was recorded, the trauma lives on.
“We’re living in a day and age where people can get bullied 24-7,” said Christy Buck, Executive Director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. She is committed to stopping bullying like this. She and her colleagues spend time in schools telling kids about the anti-bullying Be Nice Campaign. They hope to get kids and even adults to just treat each other nicer.
There are hundreds of other videos like Peery’s on the Internet in which groups taunt and beat a single female. The fact that it’s uploaded to sites like YouTube and Facebook can be torture for victims like Samantha.
“People are seeing me get beat with chains and being sprayed with pepper spray,” she said. “It’s hurtful, because it brings me back to the time of how I felt after they had done it.”