Activist Spotlight – Shivani Cotter Stands Up to Bullies Everywhere


Note: This is another part in our Activist Spotlight series, where we shine a light on Care2 members who are making a difference in their communities.

Everyone experiences seasons of pain, and it takes a special strength to remain soft and open instead of hardening into bitterness. Care2 member Shivani Cotter is familiar with life’s darker aspects, and yet deep compassion and empathy practically spill out of her every gesture and word. More than anything, she is passionate about empowering others to overcome whatever obstacles prevent them from being the people they were meant to be.

“Whether people, animals or the environment, we all need a fair chance to grow the way we were meant to,” she explains.

Shivani’s activism springs from a personal experience of injustice. Born in Calcutta, India, she was “no stranger to witnessing those less fortunate.” After her family immigrated to Massachusetts, however, she experienced hardship of a different kind when she became the target of bullies at school.

These experiences in elementary and junior high school “tainted me for life,” she explains sadly. “The bullying shaped who I was, which prevented me from being who I am today earlier in my life. I was very insecure and my sense of self was not strong.  Constantly trying to be the type of person I thought would be accepted prevented me from doing many things that I genuinely wanted to.”

Like so many others who have been victimized, Shivani was able to finally move past this period of emotional devastation, and the experience gave her a renewed appreciation for the resilience of the human soul. Even while she was being ostracized and demeaned, her heart ached for those going through the same torture.

She is thrilled that she now has a fresh platform from which to empower others — her website. Via, Shivani encourages people to set their own trends and embrace their individuality.

“My voice is now being heard and I am loving it,” she gushes.  ”My website is my opportunity to let others into my life, and write about all the things near to my heart, from parenting to humanitarian efforts and technology. Quite simply, it’s a bit of me, to you!”

Aware of just how much our environments shape our identities, Shivani is passionate about fostering a safe, healthy, affirming habitat for her own two daughters. “My children, of course, are my world,” she confides. “I feel very accomplished as a mother, but cannot take credit for who they are internally.  They are beautiful people.  My husband and I may have created them, but, they came out knowing who they were, and they never cease to amaze me.”

Care2 features prominently in Shivani’s narrative of personal empowerment. She enjoys reading news and signing petitions from Care2′s bloggers and nonprofit partners, but her favorite thing about Care2 is how individual members keep the site’s energy going. “Every time I enter the Care2 website, I know I am making a positive contribution to a cause I feel good about,” she says. “The best part is how easy it is to do!”

Thank you, Shivani, for courageously seeking to empower others!


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Giuseppimartino Buonaiuto

I’ll still find the time to open up for you a line of credit,
At your favorite nail salon.
I’ll pay for weekly bikini waxes, hair and Botox treatments,
And the odd cosmetic surgery you may require.
I’ll pay your cell phone bill; I’ll pay off your college loans.
I’ll send money to your extended family in the Ukraine.
Yeah, that’s the kind of guy I am.
Your life with me will be every woman’s dream.

And, if you believe that,
You soulless Ukrainian cunt,
Then monkeys will fly out of my Wayne’s World butt,
You stupid capital C for cock sucking,
Capital B for Bitch.
“Arms and the Woman,”
An article in Time Magazine, conveys a statistic:
Some 20 million women in the U.S. own guns.
As the NRA instructs:
Guns don’t kill people.
Women with Glocks kill people.

Giuseppimartino Buonaiuto

Your brilliant mind & noble spirit inspires.
Each night of the week I surprise you,
Prepare for you an exquisite home-cooked gourmet meal.
Served with your favorite Pinot Noir,
Brought to your elegant, candlelit dining room table,
By yours truly, wearing only a scarlet bow tie
And black silk jockstrap.
(Starting to get into this, Maureen Dowd?)
Later I’ll run you a relaxing bath,
So you’ll have something to do,
While I wash the dishes, scrub the pots,
Do a load of whites, clean your bidet,
And Swiffer® ( the entire house.

By then, you are ready for your nightly spa treatment,
A 15-minute, deep tissue massage,
Followed by a hot oil treatment.
Next up is 30 nonstop delirious minutes,
Me, going down on you,
Without seeking any sexual gratification for myself.
In the morning I’ll make macadamia nut pancakes, your favorite,
And brew you a fabulous cup of coffee,
From freshly ground beans,
Very rare beans salvaged from Karen Blixen’s last crop,
Before the fire completely destroyed her plantation in Kenya.

You can go shopping from dawn to dusk with Ruth Madoff,
While I go out and lose my soul,
Selling Dominican Republic timeshares all day and all night . . .
(Cue West Indies Calypso: “All Day, All Night, Mary Ann!”) Calypso - Harry Belafonte Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards
I’ll still find the time to open up for you a line of credit,
At your

Shivani C.
Shivani Cotter3 years ago

For all of you that commented, I want to thank you for all of your words! Talking about what I went through during my youth was very difficult for me. For years, I chose to keep my feelings to myself. The more I have opened up though, the more people I never expected to have gone through similar experiences have opened up to me as well. Not only has it been therapeutic, it has empowered me to grow stronger and finally start working towards educating more people about the reality of being a target. I would have given you all star after star for your amazing support but... I cannot seem to send them... :/ Regardless, keep the comments coming and please feel free to reach out to me!

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

Just love to hear good news like this.

Anne Eizenhoefer
Anne Eizenhoefer3 years ago

Good for you Shivanni! May God bless you and your family.

Christine Stewart

Thank you Shivani! And as for Paul C. I am glad you were strong enough to face your bully and overcome- but plenty of other people just feel like crap and would have had a better and more fulfilling life WITHOUT the benefit of a bully. I do wish I could find my bully and tell her that she was a piece of sh-- back then to make me feel bad about myself, and I hope she's had a cruddy life in the meantime- so I guess I "owe" her a lot too....

KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Tila Garcia
Tila Garcia3 years ago

To Ms. Shivani, my admiration and congratulations for overcoming your experiences w/bullies! You are doing a most laudable advocacy through your website; I wish you more power and everything else possible for your success! For other "victims" of bullies consider this: 'bullies" (and they know who they are), can simply be imagined as ants or mosquitoes that can hurt w/a tiny bite or two but from which one can run away from/avoid/or smack back with your palms. In the end, thank God, they eventually disappear.Be positive; look for the good that you derived from the experience.You can be sure, there's one - or more!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

This is just the best!

annie s.
annie statton3 years ago

Fantastic absolutely wonderful Shivanni.