Stand up to the Bullies – Teen Suicide’s Plea
Another teenager has died as a result of the pernicious social virus of our age – bullying. Every time it happens it feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel of person-on-person cruelty. The Columbine High School case and many others that got attention worldwide have failed to make the bullies understand that every person deserves to be respected regardless of who they are.
This latest victim of bullying was 15-year-old Amanda Todd from Canada. Just weeks before taking her own life just over a week ago, Amanda posted a heartfelt video on Youtube entitled ‘My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide and self harm’, where she disclosed all her personal pain at the hands of school bullies.
Watch the full video where Amanda Todd tells her story in her own words:
Amanda’s agony started when she was only 12 years old after an unidentified man led her to expose her breasts via webcam. After she refused to comply with his demands to “put on a show”, the man sent photos of her breasts everywhere – reaching her classmates, teachers, friends and family.
She moved from place to place, switching schools several times but the nightmare always found a way to haunt her no matter where she went. Crucially the bullying never stopped and Amanda was laid low by anxiety, depression and eventually turned to alcohol and drugs.
“I then got really sick. My anxiety got worse… I couldn’t go out,” as she admitted on the video. “Everyday I think why I am still here? I have nobody. I need someone”
In The Vancouver Sun, her father Norm commented on the video: “She was very courageous and I really love that she made that video. She told me why she made it – she wanted to send out a message so that it wouldn’t happen to someone else – so no one would have to go through what she went through.”
Amanda was found hanged in her home in British Columbia, Canada, one month before her 16th birthday.
Kindness as a weapon to fight bullying
As family and friends still struggle to come to terms with the suicide of Amanda Todd, a campaign has been launched to raise awareness about the consequences of bullying in an aim to curb this worrying trend.
Amanda’s heartbreaking story has touched people all over the world. Many thousands have posted personal online tributes to the girl in a campaign to stop bullying and promote kindness instead. On Youtube, more than five thousand videos were uploaded with people sharing their experience and posting stories about what happened. Even First Minister of British Columbia, Christy Clark, posted a video offering her condolences and condemning bullying.
The Facebook memorial page ‘R.I.P. Amanda Todd’ has already received nearly one million likes is its first week. Thousands of people share thoughts of kindness in Amanda’s memory.
Carol, Amanda’s mother, believes it is important to share experiences to draw attention to the dangers of online bullying.
“Amanda wanted to tell her story to help other kids. I want to tell my story to help parents, so they can be aware, so they can teach their kids what is right and wrong and how to be safe online,” she said. “Kids have iPads, they have smartphones, technology is much more accessible than it was even five years ago – that is the dangerous factor.”
The local Parliament is already discussing the creation of a special committee as part of a national anti-bullying strategy. Lawmaker Candice Bergen responded positively to the call but she pointed out it is important to add more acts of kindness and respect to the process.
“Each school and local community really knows what their kids may be vulnerable to and they’re the best ones to come up with programs and formulate plans,” said Bergen to a local newspaper. “The most effective way to stop bullying is at home where parents teach and model kindness, and show compassion to their children.”