Bullied to death
By Dominic Dutt, Contributor
A recent victim of bullying is local student, 15-year-old Amanda Todd. The Lower Mainland teen, who was the victim of harassment and cyber-bulling, took her own life on October 10, 2012.
Described as a “spirited girl,” Todd posted a YouTube video titled, ‘My Story,’ where she revealed her struggles with bullying, self-harm, and suicide. She doesn’t speak but holds flashcards, on which she has written her heartbreaking story, up to the camera. She writes, “Hi! I’ve decided to tell you of my never-ending story.” According to the Province, Amanda’s story is being shared around the world. Towards the end of her video, Todd says, “Every day I think why am I still here.”
[quote]What I don’t understand and find frustrating is that support seems to come once a victim of bullying is dead. While the victim is being bullied, others join in; after the victim dies, friends suddenly gather and start talking about their feelings, how sad it is, how they could have handled it differently, and that from now on, things will be different.[/quote]
Her tragic story began when Todd met someone online who asked her to flash the camera. She did, and her photo was distributed to her school, friends, and family. This allegedly led to bullying both in the real world and online, even after she changed schools.
Todd lost all of her friends, continued to be bullied, and at one point was beaten up. She started cutting herself and attempted to take her life, but failed. Shortly after creating her video, Todd succeeded in ending her life. School District Spokeswoman of Coquitlam, Cheryl Quinton, confirmed that the staff are aware of the video and “supports were put in place.”
What I don’t understand and find frustrating is that support seems to come once a victim of bullying is dead. While the victim is being bullied, others join in; after the victim dies, friends suddenly gather and start talking about their feelings, how sad it is, how they could have handled it differently, and that from now on, things will be different. Those who were the cause of bullying—both in the cyber-world and the real world—are rarely held accountable. After a while, discussions end, and the cycle of bullying continues. With no real change, those who are engaged in the act of bullying are not stopped until it is too late.
Following Todd’s tragic story, there has been an overwhelming outpouring of support for her family and against bullying. After hearing of Todd’s death, the friend created a Facebook page demanding justice for Todd against those who victimized her. Over 197,000 people have signed her petition via Facebook. Police are investigating the case, and Sgt. Peter Thiessen states “There are a number of areas within the Criminal Code that could be applied.” There may be additional charges of distributing child pornography if anyone is caught sharing Todd’s naked photos. Premier Christy Clark posted an online video statement saying “No one deserves to be bullied, no one earns it, no one asks for it. It isn’t a rite of passage.” She, along with many other Facebook users and sympathizers, also sent her condolences to Amanda Todd’s family.
Talk is all well and good, but just feeling sorry about it makes no difference. Real action should be taken. If someone is being bullied, they need to be helped before it is too late. Resources should be put in place, and kids need to be made aware of the dangers of online activity and bullying.
One can only hope that Amanda Todd will be the last victim and that there will be a change in attitude towards bullying. Will this trend of anti-bullying/anti-hate last, or will we forget after a while? How many more kids have to die before we come to our senses?