A group of women staged a mass protest in their bikinis after a mum-of-five was verbally abused about her stretchmarks while sunbathing.
Tanis Jex-Blake, 33, from Alberta, Canada, told her Facebook followers that she was taunted by two men and a woman while she sunbathed at a local beach.
In the post, she said the bullies pointed, laughed and pretended to kick her during her first visit to a beach in 13 years.
Just got back from the #bareyourbelly rally. Wonderful to see so many confident women out there!@MomsTownEdm #ejlivepic.twitter.com/ltxpRyMC3q
- topher seguin (@topherseguin) August 6, 2014
Her post prompted dozens of women to join the mum in a display of support on Wednesday by wearing their bikinis and carrying signs which read: "Wear your skin proud" and "Girls aren't born hating their bodies. We teach them to."
Tanis, who was cheered as she stripped down to her bikini in the city centre, thanked her supporters and said she hoped a positive message about body image could be taken away from her nasty experience.
She told local TV news: "I don't know any of these people. But they've all come out to show their support, and they're all rocking their bikinis. I love it."
In her defiant Facebook post, Tanis wrote: "I'm sorry if my first attempt at sun tanning in a bikini in public in 13 years 'grossed you out'.
"I'm sorry that my stomach isn't flat and tight. I'm sorry that my belly is covered in stretch marks.
"I'm NOT sorry that my body has housed, grown, protected, birthed and nurtured FIVE fabulous, healthy, intelligent and wonderful human beings."
She added: "I'm sorry if my 33 year old, 125 lb body offended you so much that you felt that pointing, laughing, and pretending to kick me.
"But I'll have you know that as I looked at your 'perfect' young bodies, I could only think to myself 'what great and amazing feat has YOUR body done?'
"I'll also have you know that I held my head high, unflinching as you mocked me, pretending that what you said and did had no effect on me; but I cried in the car on the drive home."
The message received hundreds of messages of support after local radio station Hot 107 Edmonton shared the post on its Facebook page.
One Facebook user wrote: "My wife has four kids... and we call her stretch marks 'love stories'. It's beautiful! Real men appreciate those stretch marks."
Another wrote: "What is wrong with people now a days? Seriously! And what are parents teaching their children that they feel it is ok to treat others like this.
"Tanis there is nothing wrong with your body it's beautiful and yes you went through the miracle of child birth and those are your medals for doing it."
Tanis said: "Initially I posted it with the hopes of word reaching them... but now it's gone so much further."
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