A community in Tennessee is rallying behind a woman who became the target of online bullying.
Kristen Layne, 18, decided to sell her junior prom dress through Facebook. The girl wore the gown to junior prom at White House High School last year. She said she chose the dress because it made her feel like a princess.
“I said, ‘That’s mine. That’s going to be mine,'” Kristen Layne recalled.
But Kristen Layne said she wanted to sell her dress in time for senior prom. She posted pictures of the gown on “For Sale in Sumner County, TN” – a group that allows members to advertise their products. Below the post, two men started making of her weight and looks. Kristen Layne said she’s never met these individuals.
“I was trying to sell my prom dress, and these two men were just saying some very hateful things, just telling me I was fat and that I wasn’t beautiful,” she said.
“I didn’t understand why people who didn’t even know her lashed out at her,” said the girl’s father, Jason Layne.
But within minutes, other people jumped to Kristen Layne’s defense. One person posted: “It’s obvious this woman is beautiful, inside and out.” Another wrote that the dress “looks absolutely stunning.”
“I don’t know how to say thank you to people and accept the compliments because it doesn’t happen a lot,” Kristen Layne said.
More than 400 people have ‘liked’ the post, most of them strangers. Many commented on Kristen Layne’s gusto in the way she responded to her bullies.
“Can you please stop with the comments?” she wrote on the Facebook thread. “Sorry that I’m not pleasing to your eye.”
“I think it’s going to be a positive impact, I really do, because she stands up for herself,” Jason Layne said. “Life is not a bed of roses, it’s hard.”
After this weekend, Kristen Layne’s old prom dress holds new meaning. She said she hopes the gown brings the same magic to its new owner.
“I just want them to feel beautiful,” Kristen Layne said.
The teen originally tried selling the gown for $350. But people in the community have raised nearly $400 to help her buy a new dress. She said she hopes her experience helps other girls realize their own worth.
“Don’t let anyone break you down,” Kristen Layne said.
This story was originally published by Nashville’s WSMV, and was distributed through the CNN Wire.