Bullying victim helps others

A man who grew up in Daventry has posted an online video about his years as a victim of homophobic bullying as a teenager.

The video, part of the It Gets Better campaign, detail’s Daniel Smyth’s struggle as a victim of homophobic bullying.

Daniel Smyth

Daniel Smyth

Mr Smyth, 26, now lives in Liverpool working with Bare Escentuals.

He said: “I recently started my own YouTube channel, originally to do beauty tutorials but it has since become a place for me to also blog about my teenage years.

“I recently posted a video on my Facebook about some of my experiences in school and have been overwhelmed with the response.

“I went to Daventry William Parker School which is where I completed my GCSEs. During my time there I was bullied on a daily basis.

“I struggled throughout school. My time in school wasn’t about learning, it was about getting by without being seen or heard.

“I would regularly fake an illness so I would not have to go in because I despised it. This was a real shame, as I did actually enjoy learning but I hated the environment I was in.

“I became so good at hiding the bullying that it went undetected by teachers.

“For a long time, this has been playing on my mind, I’ve read story after story about teenagers committing suicide because they felt there was no way out, and they had no one to talk to, and that is a really bad place to be. I should know.”

Daniel Smyth’s mother Sara has spoken about how proud she is of her son.

Sara, who still lives in Daventry, said: “Daniel was brought up in a single parent family – it was just me and his brother and sister.

“I got into a difficult relationship and I was suffering from bipolar, and it was Daniel who took the role of man of the house.

“I didn’t know he was gay or being bullied while he was a teenager. I guess Daniel thought it was another stress for me and didn’t want to tell me. He didn’t tell me he was gay until he was at university.

“I remember once when he was a teenager he went out to go to a friend’s house and came home bloody. He said someone had jumped out from some garage and headbutted him.

“He’s since told me they headbutted him because he was gay.

“It is upsetting as a parent to think your child felt they couldn’t tell you what was happening.

“Daniel didn’t expect to get the grades he needed to go to university. But he put his head down and studied, and he got the grades.

“He excelled himself. He went off to university and from there he’s gone on to have a wonderful job and life.

“Daniel’s always put his heart into everything and worked hard to achieve things, I think that comes from not wanting to give into adversity as a young person. He’s now taken on two foster children.

“I’m extremely proud of him. He’s done absolutely fantastic. He’s gone out there and grabbed life with both hands.

“It shows that things really do get better – Daniel was the victim of homophobic bullying as a teenager, but he overcame that and has gone on to have a fantastic life.”