EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) --A woman who made the mistake of texting a provocative picture of herself to her ex-boyfriend is now reaching out to students across the country, and teaching them about the dangers of sexting and bullying.
When a naked picture of New Jersey native Allyson Pereira went viral when she was a sophomore in high school there was no where for her to hide. Now, as a 22-year-old adult, she has chosen not to hide. While in the middle of her nationwide effort to reach out to students by sharing her story, she made a stop at East Haven High School where she spoke to students, staff and parents. She began her speech with an attention grabbing question.
"Has your entire town seen you naked? Mine has," said Pereira.
When she was sixteen, Pereira sent a topless photo of herself to her ex-boyfriend as a way to get back together. One day later that picture went viral. The bullying Pereira endured led her to an attempted suicide.
"When you have kids come up to you and say that you've saved their lives, it makes it all worth it," said
Pereira focuses on how cruel life can be after the picture is sent out.
"A lot of people just focus on the picture, the main problem is the bullying, I don't think people realize how that lasts with you forever, I have scars from it," said Pereira.
Her biggest advice to parents and teenagers is to open your eyes.
"You need to have a zero tolerance on all forms of bullying, look for the signs of a kid being bullied and get them help," said Pereira.
Pereira couldn't press charges on the young man who sent out the picture because she too could have faced child pornography charges.
A few years later, that same man who is now in the military asked Pereira to send another picture. She declined.
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