Raleigh mother taking on bullies on with her own smartphone app

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When Virgie Townsend was searching for ways to empower victims of bullying, she asked a Higher power.

"I actually prayed on it and asked God to show me what I could do to change this," Townsend said.

Armed with an answer, Townsend has spent the past two years developing a smartphone app to help.

This single mother of three from southeast Raleigh is spending her off-hours working on the app she's calling 'Teens United No Judgement.' The 39-year old still carries the scars of bullying from her own adolescence.

"My skin tone, my weight, everything. I was bullied for whatever they could bully me for," Townsend said. "I just always had a defense. I was very defensive. I always had my defensives up."

With any extra cash, Townsend is using it to work with engineers in Georgia to build the app design and technology. The app links bullying victims to suicide prevention hotlines or to report an active shooter situation at school. And with one click, a bullying victim or an eyewitness can alert an adult at school that they've been bullied -- in real-time. School administrators, teachers, school resource officers would receive the exact location of the anonymous report.

According to StopBullying.gov, one in four students are bullied, nationwide. Most of the incidents occur in middle schools. 30 percent of young people admit to bullying others. 71 percent say they've witnessed bullying at school. And 80 percent of bullying incidents go unreported.

"I wanted to not share a problem. I wanted to share a solution," Townsend said.

Whether it's verbal, social, or physical bullying -- it can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation or depression which are all contributing factors to suicide.

Townsend's app will also come equipped with a daily inspirational quote.

"You have to learn to love yourself just the way you are," she said.

In the midst of this National Bullying Prevention Month, this Triangle mom is choosing kindness and taking action with an app.
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