October 12, 2012

Bullying's Latest Victim

I'm sure that most of you know that October is National Bullying Prevention month. Here in Alberta we have National Bullying Awareness Week in November. Bullying is something that is really starting to get some attention, and it's high time. Barely any time goes by before we hear about yet another severe case of bullying. And now with so many places that this bullying can happen not even in personFacebook, Twitter, email, etc.it's only becoming more vindictive and cruel.

Have you read Jay Asher's TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY ? What about Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult? Both deal with issues of gossip, bullying, reputation decimation, depression, as well as very different, yet equally devastating responses to what becomes just too much to bear. They are heartbreaking stories that end up in loss of lives. Both are worth reading.

But it's not just the fact that this month is dedicated to Bullying Awareness and Prevention that I bring this up. It's more than that. Last night after watching the Vice Presidential debate, this was brought to my attention on the local news:

**A word of warning: There is a brief clip of an arm
that has been 'cut' toward the very end of the video.

The video is long, so I understand if you aren't able to see it through. Here's what Amanda shared: 

As a grade seven student, this young lady was convinced to expose her breasts via webcam to an unknown male. About a year later, he managed to find her on Facebook, though she doesn't know how he knew her name or where to find her. He began threatening to send the photos to her school, friends, and family. And then he did. As a result, Amanda began battling depression and anxiety, turning to drugs and alcohol. This horrible person who did this to her? He turned the picture of her breasts into his profile pic on Facebook. She switched schools, but then because of a 'hookup' with a guy who ended up having a girlfriend, she was beaten by this girl and left in a ditch. At this point, she was so depressed that she began cutting and even drank bleach to try to end her life. She moved to live with her mom, but the bullying followed because the internet is everywhere. Old schoolmates started posting pics of Chlorox and other bleach bottles, and tagging her in the photo, leaving messages like "I hope Amanda sees this picture and tries again" or "I hope Amanda's dead". This is how cruel people can be. On October 10, 2012, only a matter of weeks after this video was posted to YouTube, fifteen-year-old Amanda took her own life.
RIP Amanda Todd
Nov. 27, 1996 - Oct. 10, 2012

The final piece of paper on this YouTube video reads: I have nobody. I need someone.

What kind of people bully a girl to the point where she feels death is her only escape? This is why Bullying Prevention and Awareness is so, so important. Parents, teachers, coaches, kidseveryone needs to get behind this and let these people know that they won't stand for it. Everyone needs to stop treating bullying like it will go away if they aren't looking, or even suggesting that it's simply a rite of passage. It won't and it's not. 

Bullying needs to be stopped so that kids like Amanda get to live a long, happy life unburdened by this kind of nightmare. Because, as humans, we need to be better than this.


13 comments:

  1. That's heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this. Bullying is such a huge issue, and it astounds me that people can be so cruel. The internet only serves to perpetuate it because people feel some sense of anonymity. Makes me wonder if human nature truly is that cold, but I have to think otherwise. I have to try to believe in the good in believe, to believe that we can do something to stop things like this.

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  2. Omg, this is so sad ... I can't even believe this happened ...

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  3. Absolutely. What a horrifying story, that poor girl to suffer in this way. Important for us all to be aware of bullying going on.

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  4. Thanks for posting this. As sad as Amanda's story is, people need to be reminded of the consequences of bullying -- the things we say and do to others can impact them for a lifetime.

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  5. Holy crap. These stories just rip my heart out. It is so unbelievably sad that people are so hateful. Thanks for sharing this. I may share this my kids next week.

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  6. Heartbreaking. We need to do a better job of teaching kindness.
    Thanks for sharing this

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  7. It's sad that this girl's story has generated so much compassion only after it's too late to help her. In this day and age, with all the education we have and how progressive we're supposed to be, it's hard to fathom that bullying is getting worse instead of better. I haven't read TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY yet, but I've read Nineteen Minutes and I don't think any book has ever stuck with me the way that one did. It's a must read for parents, teachers and anyone who cares about the issue of bullying. I hope Amanda's story will encourage people to think about the consequences of how we treat others. Thanks for drawing attention to this.

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  8. This is so sad. Heartbreaking. Really, really, really heartbreaking. I haven't read Nineteen Minutes yet but Thirteen Reasons Why was definitely very powerful in showing how much suffering some go through and how one gesture could maybe have changed the entire outcome.
    BUTTER is another book that for me should be read at school, to show that no, it's not okay and yes, it could happen even if it seems the person is the one going forward.
    Amanda deserved to see life and to grow older without suffering through what she did. This is just heartbreaking.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Oh my gosh. This broke my heart. I can't believe how cruel people can be. I really can't get my head around it. I wish we could find these videos before it's too late. I only ever seem to see them once it's too late to help. Devastating.
    Thanks for sharing. I love the internet.... but I hate it as well. Sometimes I feel it's destroying us... for kids, it gives them this power to sit behind a computer screen and pull someone else apart. I wish there was something we could do.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this, Jaime. It breaks my heart, especially as the mom of a little girl. I can't imagine what Amanda went through, and what her family must be going through now. I agree with Rebecca: We need to do a better job of teaching kindness, as well as tolerance and acceptance.

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  11. I did know it was National Bullying Prevention Month, but I didn't know about that particular story. How horrible! I will never understand how people can be so cruel.

    I heard a more uplifting story on the radio the other day - an 8th grader knew a girl in her class was being bullied a lot, and resorted to eating lunch in a bathroom stall. So the 8th grader invited the girl to eat lunch with her and her friends. There are some kind girls in the world! We just need more kids like that.

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  12. Oh Jaime... what a powerful post. Thanks so much for sharing this...

    I have heard a TON about Jay Asher's book--and have heard it's a must read. I need to get on that. :)

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  13. Such a heartbreaking story. It's horrible how mean people can be sometimes - and not just teenagers, but little kids and adults, too. And there are so many victims we will never know about - the ones who live but are broken. Maybe if the word is spread, if people know how much harm bullying like this can really do, it will help.

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