An autistic woman who was so badly beaten as a teenager that she had to take 10 months off school has revealed how she’s turned her life around.
Sophie Bole, from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, says she’s even grateful to the nine attackers who left her so badly injured that she required a lengthy stay in hospital – because her life is better as a result of what happened.
Bole, now 21, has Asperger’s Syndrome and was just 15 when she was viciously attacked on her way home from school in February 2011.
She said the incident ‘ripped her family to bits’ and that she feared she would never be happy again, but more than six years on, the now married mum of one says she has the bullies to thank for her strength.
Sophie Bole, now 21, suffered a broken nose and a shattered face alongside internal bruising when she was beaten up by bullies while walking home from school in 2011
Bole, then Sophie Russell, saw her nine attackers merely cautioned for the attack, which left her needed to take ten months off school and suffering with PTSD
Happier than ever: Bole, now married to husband Dave and living with their daughter on Cyprus, says the actually attack transformed her life for the better
Alongside her physical injuries – a broken nose, shattered face and internal bruising – she also suffered severe panic attacks and was forced to move to a new school in nearby Lincoln.
However, now living in Cyprus with her husband Dave and their two-year-old daughter, the 21-year-old says she’s rebuilt her life and has never been happier.
Now represented by a New York modelling agency, Bole has worked for BMW since becoming a model
The stunning 21-year-old says her life began to improve when she was asked to be an Olympic torch bearer at London 2012
Grateful: Sophie says bravely that she wouldn’t have become such a strong person if she hadn’t suffered the attack
At the time of the attack, Sophie, then known as Sophie Russell, said: ‘What I went through was really traumatic and ripped the family to bits.
‘I was just walking to my boyfriend’s house and wasn’t expecting to be attacked.’
After meeting her husband Dave at a modified car event in Lincoln, Sophie moved to Cyprus to be with him.
I still thank them [the attackers] for it because without them I wouldn’t have become such a strong person…
She says: ‘I’m 21 now and I was 15 when the attack happened. I honestly never thought I’d be happy again but with my husband and daughter I feel my life is now in a place I never thought it would be.’
She adds: ‘I still thank them [the attackers] for it because without them I wouldn’t have become such a strong person.’
Regularly jet-setting between Cyprus and the States and Italy for modelling assignments, Bole says she no longer wastes time thinking about the events of February 2011.
Bole hasn’t seen any of her attackers in the years since but she’s heard some of them now also have children: ‘I believe that they have children too now, so maybe one day they will look back and realise what they did was a mistake.’
Sophie Bole pictured as a teenager; no charges were pressed against her attackers in the aftermath of the attack
Her nine attackers were given a police caution for common assault, but no charges were pressed.
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said the case was passed to the Youth Offending Team who decided not to press charges but to give a caution for common assault.
She says she carried a rape alarm for nearly two years after her attack, and urges young teens being bullied not to underestimate how the threat peers can pose.
Bole urges: ‘I had a feeling my attack was coming but I thought I was being stupid and I never imagined it to be as bad as it was.
‘Tell someone and be heard. Tell anybody who will listen – and also have someone on speed dial.’
Her Asperger’s is, she adds, ‘usually well controlled day-to-day’ and says that the modelling ‘is helping no end’, as is being a mother.
‘Believe it or not having children [has helped] – toddlers actually have a calming effect.’