Autistic Man Who Is 'Pelted With Stones' When He Leaves The House Writes Powerful Message About The Effects Of Bullying
An autistic man who is scared to leave the house after being "pelted with rocks" has spoken out about the impact of bullying.
Ben Canham, 23, says years of abuse have been detrimental to his mental health, after being taunted, name called and even physically injured by cruel bullies.
Ben, from Leicestershire, has lived on his own for the last five years, since he sadly lost both of his parents when he was 18. Tragically, Ben's dad Dennis died of lung cancer while just a year later, mum Jean passed away following a heart attack.
In a heartbreaking diary entry, Ben explained he "wanted to go to sleep and never wake up" after receiving abusive text messages, where bullies have called him "fatty" telling him "no one likes or supports" him and also wishing him dead.
"I get nervous about going out anywhere on my own. I've had stones thrown at me and people have called me names and pick on me because of the way I am [due to my autism]," Ben explained.
"I get uncomfortable about leaving my own house because most of the time when I go out that always happens and I feel unsafe.
"I sometimes even starve myself because I can't even go to the supermarket to buy food. I thought I have to share this on social media because I don't want to feel like I'm on my own with it. I was finding it was getting too much for me.
"It is horrible because I feel like I'm isolated a lot of the time. I normally only get to go out twice a week max. And that's normally when I have a friend with me.
"I don't feel safe when I'm on my own so I have to wait until I have someone to go with me to go places. I don't know them or associate with them. I don't know what they pick on me for."
On one occasion, Ben was even injured with rocks.
"They were just shouting horrible names to me and calling me horrible names that I didn't like. And then [the ring leader] went to pick up two stones from the ground and threw them at me," he said.
"It was painful and scarring. I didn't know what to do, I was really upset."
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Ben even explained he has been threatened with a knife in the past.
Following the incident in which Ben reported having stones thrown at him, police issued a warning to the bully. But following some more recent abusive messages, Ben says he was told "there's nothing [police] could do".
"It's just really heartbreaking. I just feel like I'm living in fear all the time. I've tried contacting the police about it but they said to me on Monday 'there's nothing we can do'," said Ben.
"That's the reason I've put it on Facebook because I thought I don't want these people to get away with what they've done. They've done a lot of damage to my health.
"All I want is for all the bullying to stop so I can focus on being happy again."
Ben hopes sharing his story will help other victims of bullying speak up about what they're going through.
"I think bullying someone with autism is bad because people should know it's not that [people with autism] can't learn anything - it's that they learn differently," he explained.
"I think people with autism are very gifted, intelligent people and should be proud of who they are and what they have.
"I would never change the person I am. I love being kind, caring and considerate towards others. I also think autism is not just a disability but it's a different ability."
Leicestershire Police confirmed that after the stone throwing incident in 2017, three individuals were spoken to about the allegation.
Regarding the abusive messages, a Leicestershire Police spokesperson said: "The content was viewed by officers and the caller was advised to contact the platform directly to report the messages.
"Officers suggested he blocked the contact from his account and he was also given advice in relation to his own use of social media.
"The victim agreed to be put in touch with Victim First who offer confidential and independent advice to victims. Support can be tailored to the individual's needs and may include referrals to other agencies."
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, you can find support at Bullying UK.
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News