Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Bachelorette's mission to tackle cyberbullies

Jilted bachelorette Fleur Verhoeven is starting a new career as a motivational speaker in an attempt to encourage pre-teen girls to be kind to one another on the internet.

The blonde star famously spoke out to end the relentless online attacks against the man who broke her heart.

Now, speaking to the Herald as part of our cyberbullying campaign Stop the Hate, she has revealed her plans to tour intermediate schools in Hawkes Bay to tell girls to follow her example.

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The Dutch beauty, who was picked by Bachelor Jordan Mauger in reality TV show The Bachelor only to be dumped 72 hours after the final, is using her new-found fame to encourage girls in the critical pre-teen years to respect themselves and others.

Ms Verhoeven, an aspiring social worker, said the topic was something she had been passionate about for many years.

Since opening up about her struggle with depression, she had been inundated by young girls confiding in her about their problems.

She has shared photos of herself growing up in Holland, about the same age as the girls she will be talking to. She said as a teenager who felt like an outsider she wished someone had told her that it was not unusual to feel different.

Former Bachelorette contestant Fluer Verhoeven as a teenager. Photo / supplied
Former Bachelorette contestant Fluer Verhoeven as a teenager. Photo / supplied

Thanks to the show she now had an incredible platform to speak about self-respect, self-acceptance and not judging others.

"We all have a story and we all have our unique personality traits. It would be so amazing for young people to realise this."

Fleur Verhoeven says as a teenager she wished someone had told her it was not unusual to feel different.
Fleur Verhoeven says as a teenager she wished someone had told her it was not unusual to feel different.

The 26-year-old was also concerned at the increasing levels of cyberbullying and was keen to issue a message to youngsters to not be part of the destructive online culture.

"We should be more accepting and respectful of each other. And we shouldn't be saying something to another person if we wouldn't want to hear it ourselves. I've got a responsibility to do something about it because it's a huge issue these days."

Following her shock dumping, Mr Mauger weathered days of online vitriol, including death threats and threats of harm against his family.

STOP THE HATE: READ THE FULL SERIES HERE

 Fleur Verhoeven has started a new career as a motivational speaker. Photo / Supplied
Fleur Verhoeven has started a new career as a motivational speaker. Photo / Supplied

Ms Verhoeven said her decision to call for an end to the attacks against her former partner was something she did not think twice about.

"The whole Jordan thing, the way in which he was attacked, it just hit a nerve.

"It was the entirety and the fact that Jordan rang me up, I could tell he was really upset over it."

She said he later thanked her for intervening.

Bachelorette Fleur Verhoeven will be talking to young girls about being kind to each other on the internet. Photo / supplied
Bachelorette Fleur Verhoeven will be talking to young girls about being kind to each other on the internet. Photo / supplied

Where to get help:

• In an emergency: call 111
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 (available 24/7) or talk@youthline.co.nz or live chat (between 7pm and 11pm) http://livechat.youthline.co.nz/mibew/chat?locale=en&style=youthline
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)
• NetSafe: 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723), www.theorb.org.nz

- NZ Herald

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