Recently, there has been a lot of online buzz over the suicide of Vancouver teenager Amanda Todd. My heart was broken when I watched her online video of her telling her story and I was devastated when I found out she had taken her life. She was 15 years old, and a victim of (cyber)bullying. This sort of story always hits really close to home and I can’t help but weep bitterly for the loss. No one should have to endure what this child endured; no one should ever have to feel so alone. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones
There is no denying that this is a tragedy, though I think the most upsetting thing for me is the malice I’ve been witnessing all over the internet since her passing. I’ve come across multiple Amanda Todd hate groups as well as some especially hateful comments on YouTube. Does the cruelty of human beings really know no end? Some individuals have even gone as far as to create fake profiles or hack existing support pages. I am shocked and appalled – the veil of anonymity that the internet provides seems to bring out the worst in people. I understand that speech is free, and that we are entitled to our own opinions – I’m fairly vocal about things that are important to me and know that there are people who will disagree with what I have to say. There’s a line, though – there’s that boundary that should never be crossed. Amanda Todd’s life was misery -she knew no respite. Even in death she’s being bombarded with unnecessary hate and I cannot wrap my head around the complete and utter lack of respect. If you cannot find it within yourself to respect her, then at least have some consideration for her family! Can you imagine how her parents must feel, watching a video only to come across one of these monstrous comments? It’s pouring battery acid in the wounds.
Amanda’s story is not unique. Yes, the circumstances were extreme – a horrendous affair propagated by the scummiest of individuals. This happens every. Fucking. Day. She reacted the same way the thousands of other children who take their lives every year due to bullying did. They were mocked and ridiculed to a point where they started believing the taunts. They started feeling that yes, maybe they are worthless.
Why are we still surprised? How do we even let a situation deteriorate to this point?
Too many people stand by idly, I think – They turn a blind eye. How else can we help ourselves if we can’t help each other?
To all of those out there who have ever felt lost and alone, to those who’ve fallen and can’t find the strength to get up: It gets better. I know it sounds horribly cliché, but it’s true. Regardless of what other’s may say, you are not worthless. You can endure, and you’ll be a much better person for it. As hard as they are, tough times teach you how to be a compassionate, caring human being and they’ll teach you to love yourself. Most importantly, you are not alone. There is always someone you can talk to, and there is will always be someone who loves you unconditionally for who you are.
(Amanda’s Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej7afkypUsc –TRIGGER WARNING: Contains depictions and discussions of self-harming behaviour.
Kid’s Help Phone: http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx
Self-Injury Outreach and Support: http://www.sioutreach.org/