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, kids—everyone 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.