Bullies kill. Maybe not all of them. And maybe not on that specific day, when they're busy inflicting mental or physical anguish on yet another helpless victim, but it can happen months and years later. Their actions can kill. We know that now, after years of study and a higher sensitivity to the cruel kids who unleash hell in kindergarten through high school -- and even college.
Victims of bullying often hide their pain or harm themselves as an outlet, sometimes going as far as committing suicide. Nadia Isle, a young girl from Georgia, is one victim who went to the extremes to end the taunting.
Since the first grade, Isle’s peers had tormented her about her ears sticking out more than the average person. As a result of the bullying, Isle withdrew and stopped socializing. She revealed to CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta that the bullying “hurt so much.” Isle’s mother even looked into surgery, but the costs were too expensive.
When Isle’s mother discovered the charity Little Baby Face Foundation, she immediately contacted them and they flew her and Nadia to New York City.
Little Baby Face is charity founded by the well-established plastic surgeon, Dr. Thomas Romo III and run wholly by donations. Don Moriarty, a board member, told MailOnline that Dr. Romo created the charity in order to “help transform the lives of children who were facially deformed.”
After an evaluation by a team of surgeons, Dr. Romo performed a four-hour surgery at the Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat Institute of the Lenox Hill Hospital system.
During the four hours, he pinned her ears back, performed corrective work on her jawline to make it more pronounced, and fixed a deviated septum via a partial rhinoplasty. The estimated $40,000 surgery was paid for entirely by the foundation.
Some of the first words Nadia said after the operation were, “I look beautiful.”
The results are astonishing, if not extreme, for a girl of such a young age. Looking at the before photos, most agree that Nadia was never and ugly girl. Nadia was bullied for her protruding ears, yet reconstructive work was also performed on her jaw and nose. Why was so much work done on the rest of her face?
While Nadia is grateful to Little Baby Face, the message of the charity is disconcerting. By taking on Nadia’s case, were they, in a way, becoming another kind of bully? By performing the surgery, were they admitting that Nadia needed to “fix” her face in order to feel beautiful?
While Nadia was in New York, the charity did provide counseling, but perhaps that should have been a first step before taking the very big leap into surgery. While such a charity may have good intentions, it also sends out a bad message: plastic surgery is an answer to bullying.
If victims of bullying succumb to pressure and change their physical attributes, are they letting the bullies win? Or, do they win for regaining confidence?
It’s a tough argument and people have had reactions in all directions—some have called the charity a disgrace, while others believe it’s a worthwhile effort. Who wins in the battle of bullying or does it even matter?