ARKANSAS, USA — The effort to end bullying in schools has been gaining strength over the last several years, especially when it comes to online bullying.
That effort has been taken up by someone who you may not expect. Meet Abigail Benz, Miss Rodeo of Arkansas 2023 recently crowed. She’s a veteran of many rodeos across the state and nation.
She’s also a bullying survivor. “As a kid, my sister and I were both bullied, we were new a lot because of my dad." Her dad is in the military, so Abigail and her sister have lived in 10 cities.
It’s because of that, she has made it her passion to raise awareness about bullying through her Cowgirl Courage initiative.
“My goal with it is so that any sort of injustice, from bullying to human trafficking to any sort of domestic violence, that it will be stopped through acts of courage."
Abigail says she spends a lot of time visiting schools spreading the anti-bullying message hoping to eventually end the problem.
“It is hard because I think kids never want to be that first one to speak up, but when they see somebody that comes in and talks to them about it, they see that they can be that person.”
It’s the kind of philosophy Abigail says will break the cycle.
“It’s so important to stop it in the roots of it, and just cut it off from the beginning," she said. "If you have courage and if you’re not going to bully, if you’re going stand up for your friends, if you’re going stand up for what you believe in, then later on if you see something or someone is making you feel uncomfortable or there is a situation that’s not right, you’ll take your initiative and your understanding of having courage and stop it.”
Abigail also says she’s working with another college student in writing and illustrating a book for kids on how to stand against bullying.
Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:
Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device
To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com and detail which story you're referring to.