Friday, March 11, 2016

What this 16-year-old endured makes me puke! I burst into tears when I saw his story!


Jonathan Destin appeared to be a happy teenager living with his parents and his 2 sisters in Marquette-les-Lille, in northern France. However, this happy photo is deceptive. Jonathan was actually a victim of bullying at school for 6 long years.
Facebook / Jonathan Destin
His ordeal began in elementary school. From morning till evening, his classmates ridiculed him because of his name, his weight, and because of his grades. Everything became a pretext to insult him. “When I was 11, I weighed 154 pounds. In the canteen, they would say to me “It’s your destiny to be a big porker” while punching me under the table,” remembers Jonathan. 
Facebook / Jonathan Destin
One day, he rebelled and tried to defend himself. He was beaten up and no longer dared to resist. Without saying a word to anyone, he endured the punches and the mocking. In junior school, he became a victim of extortion. A group of older students began to assault him regularly to steal his money. “My mother always gave me $10 to buy a sandwich for lunch. I had to give it to them. They would always wait for me on the street corner.” For months, he went hungry just to satisfy the thugs. Slowly, Jonathan locked himself into a dangerous solitude, unable to call for help, his voice muffled by fear and shame. 
Facebook / Jonathan Destin
On February 7th, 2011, things go from bad to worse.  Jonathan is 16. As he’s heading out of school for his lunch break, the thugs catch up with him. “They dragged me into a narrow street, like a tunnel, not far from where I live. I tried to run, to escape, but one of the guys blocked the way. They trapped me in and put a gun to my temple.” They then threatened to kill his parents if he didn't give them $100 the next morning. Desperate, Jonathan sees only one way to end his nightmare: death. 
Facebook / Jonathan Destin
The next day he manages to buy a bottle of alcohol from a store and goes to a park. He pours it on himself and lights a match. Jonathan's body catches fire immediately. “I was so hurt deep inside that it was the only relief possible. I wanted to go up in smoke. I wanted it to stop. I was so fed up with my life!” he says. “The pain was unbearable. I could see pieces of my skin peeling away.” Seconds before passing out his survival instincts kick in, and Jonathan plunges into a nearby canal. There, he’s saved by a bystander. “A lady and her daughter threw me a line and I had to hold on to it until the paramedics came.”
Youtube
Jonathan had 3rd degree burns to 72% of his body. He was put into a coma for almost 3 months. He endured around 17 operations and was hospitalised for 5 long months. After many grafts and numerous reconstructive surgeries, he’s still severely injured and has to learn how to walk, use his arms and hands, eat and to do all the simple daily gestures all over again. 
Youtube
But Jonathan knows one thing: he doesn’t want to give up. He bitterly regrets his desperate act and the fact that he didn’t have a chance to confide in his parents, a friend or a teacher. Now, the important thing for him is to prevent other children from suffering and hurting themselves in the same way. 
Youtube
To invite young victims of harassment to talk, Jonathan wrote a book in which he tells his whole story. He wants to help other children who are too afraid or too ashamed to talk. And he wants to make sure adults listen when children call for help and take this call seriously.
Facebook / Jonathan Desir
Since then, his parents have created an association and Jonathan has created aFacebook page so that the victims of bullying can contact them. Slowly, he has started his life over and hopes that his book can help others, young or old, who are also victims of bullying. The now 21-year-old young man also dreams of finding a job and of some day starting a family. In other words, finally living a normal life. 
Facebook / Jonathan Destin

You can see the French television's coverage of Jonathan's story below:

Around 20% of American students are bullied in school. If Jonathan's courage has touched you, then share his story! It could help other victims to come forward and it could even save a life!