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'I didn't stand up to the bullies for a long time but being 40 has taught me to do it.. I am not a doormat girl' BRAVE MUM'S BATTLE AGAINST CRUELTY; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: MARIE KIERANS BY news@irishmirror.

SHE'S been called an ugly dog, a freak, contagious, a lost cause, snot face and a witch.

Shockingly Samantha Bohan has also been spat on in the streets by complete strangers.

But after years of abuse because of a birthmark on her face, the 40-year-old mum of two has decided enough is enough and has vowed to stand up to bullies.

She is hoping her brave stance will encourage others in a similar situation to do the same.

The turning point for the Drogheda woman came five months ago when she was in a local shop making a purchase.

She said: "There were two ladies directly behind me, they were about 50 years old and they were literally talking about me behind my back.

"One said to the other, 'Oh God that poor woman got an awful burning on her face' and the other one replied, 'It looks more like a black eye'."

Sam was horrified. She revealed: "I could feel myself getting smaller and smaller. They were talking about me like I wasn't there.

"You'd think after 40 years you'd get used to ignorant uneducated folk. Well, you don't."

Normally Sam would just walk away and say nothing but on this occasion she decided to face her tormenters.

She said: "I turned to these ladies who I have never met in my lifetime and said, 'Thank you for your comments about me. I'm not invisible nor am I deaf. For both your information it's a birthmark. I was born like this, you have both insulted me'."

One of the women apologised but the damage had been done.

The callous incident immediately brought Sam back to her childhood and adolescent years when she was subjected to cruel taunts about the port-wine stain birthmark on her face.

She revealed: "I still get flashbacks. It affected my education.

"Although I made some friends, I had no confidence in myself. I remember as far back as third class and we were playing red rover and nobody would pick me for their team.

"Kids would say, 'Don't go near her she is contagious, she is a freak. I heard that right throughout my school years."

One particularly nasty experience when she was a teen still haunts Sam.

She recalled: "I met a girl one day on my way to visit my aunt. She was from my school, not in my year, and she said to me, 'You are an ugly dog, you will never get a fella, you will die a sad old bitch'. I turned on my heel and ran home crying.

"I see her on the town now and again but all I can see is the girl who did that to me and I would love to tell her that I did meet my knight in shining armour, that I am married with children and that I won't die a sad old bitch."

Sam said her husband Cormac "loves me for being me".

But he too has suffered abuse because of his wife's birthmark.

She revealed: "In 2001 in France he was accused of hitting me by a passer-by which was very upsetting."

Before meeting Cormac, she was asked out to slow-dance in a nightclub. Sam said: "The boy kissed me but some of my make-up came off and when he saw my face he ran away."

Another time when she was a teen-ager she was working in a local shop when a man in his 40s said, 'Hope you don't mind me saying but that thing on your face is the ugliest thing I've ever seen'.

"I was gobsmacked and started crying. My boss told him to get out of the shop and never come back again."

Even into her adulthood the nastiness has continued.

Sam revealed: "In 2005 I was out wheeling my baby daughter when two guys in their late 20s approached me. One said, 'You're an ugly dog' and spat right into my face. I was stunned and wiped his saliva off my cheek.

"I walked home crying and thinking, 'When will this ever end?'" From as young as three and a half Sam started wearing make-up to conceal her mark.

She said: "The doctors suggested it to my mum because kids could be cruel. They also suggested removing the birthmark with plastic surgery but said that it would leave me disfigured.

"My mum opted for the make-up and said no way was I going to be disfigured."

And right up until she was 17 years of age Sam wore make-up 24 hours a day and only took it off to shower.

But that changed when she had a holiday romance in Spain. She remembers: "So I had just come out of the shower, hair in towel and the guy called to my friend's house.

"I tried to hide because I had no make up on but he told me I was beautiful without it and got me to go for a walk with him with none on."

From that day Sam decided to be like everyone else and only wear make-up going out at night.

And she is determined now to take a stand and highlight the suffering that people with birthmarks are having to endure.

She asked: "Why should we have to wear a mask? We should be accepted for who we are. There is kindness in people and I'm very grateful for the efforts made by relations and friends to raise funds so I could have the latest laser treatment in Broomsgrove Clinic Birmingham in 1994.

"But sadly there are bad eggs out there who can make life unbearable.

"I want people to understand it is not on the outside that matters, it's on the inside.

"I didn't stand up to the bullies for a long time but I did eventually and I felt stronger for it. I want others to be aware that there is light at the end of the tunnel and to hold their head up high.

"I have a heart and I have feelings. I don't normally stand up for myself but being 40 has taught me to do it. I am no doormat and will not be walked over anymore."

One girl said 'You're an ugly dog' and spat right into my face SAMANTHA BOHAN


CONFIDENT Samantha and, right, at the age of 17

GLAMOROUS Samantha today
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 2, 2013
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