The South Florida teen who made national news after she was brutally beaten outside her Deerfield Beach school took her story to Washington Sunday to help fight bullying.
Josie Lou Ratley and mother Hilda Gotay were in the nation's capital to raise awareness for the "Not on My Watch" anti-bullying campaign along with celebrities and congressional leaders.
The campaign, led by National Voices For Equality Education and Enlightenment, hopes to spotlight the violence surrounding youth and young adults through prevention, education and communication.
Gotay said it's not just up to kids to help prevent bullying, but that parents need to do their part.
"Just give them a kiss, just give them a hug before they send them out to school so they know their parents love them," she said.
Ratley was 15 years old at the time of the March 17, 2010 attack, when she nearly died after she was kicked and stomped in the head allegedly by steel-toed boot wearing classmate Wayne Treacy.
Treacy, also 15 at the time, attacked Ratley at a bus stop outside the school after investigators say he became enraged over text messages Ratley allegedly sent regarding Treacy's brother who had recently committed suicide.
Ratley, now 16, suffered severe brain damage and spent over 40 days in a medically induced coma. She underwent three brain surgeries, had a part of her damaged brain removed, and is still in the process of relearning nearly everything, from her ABC's and 123's to physical activities like brushing her teeth and taking a shower.
Gotay said Sunday that Ratley continues to improve in her rehabilitation.
"Her memory is not very good, she tries to talk with sentences and stuff, she gets confused on words," Gotay said. "All in all, she's doing like second and third grade work."
Treacy, also 16 now, is behind bars, charged as an adult with first-degree attempted murder.