Can you imagine the pain a mother goes through when her child dies? It must be the worst pain ever imaginable that’s inflicted on a person and there is nothing you can do about it. When a child dies and it is through illness or a tragic accident there seems to be a reason for it. An unjustified reason but a reason all the same.
Either they were seriously ill or fate played a cruel hand that day and you lost your loved one through a tragic accident. But just imagine what it is like to know your child committed suicide and there was nothing in your power, that you could do, to stop them. The guilt, the pain, the hurt, the anguish and the thought of knowing you failed to save the life you swore you would protect.
Recently a 15 year old girl killed herself. Why? Because she was bullied, her crime, being a teenager and making a mistake. A mistake that ruined her life and a mistake that haunted her until her last breath.
Her name … Amanda Todd, her story is told by a video she made herself, where she holds up pieces of paper telling us about her plight and how she feels so alone.
One haunting paragraph is, “I have nobody, I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd” What tragic words for a 15 year old child to have to write.
Unbelievable isn’t it?
Having to lay your child to rest and knowing that her death was not caused through illness or by a tragic accident but by mindless, spiteful people who have nothing better to do with their lives than spend their time bullying people.
But does the story end there?
Unfortunately not. You see kind people, people with a heart and compassion and empathy running through their body, left tributes and words of comfort to the family of Amanda only for those comments to be overshadowed by the online bullies once again.
Tribute pages on Facebook were set up and those online bullies, stuck the knife once again through the heart of her family by leaving abusive messages. Messages that didn’t offer sympathy, condolences or kindness but messages filled with hate. They couldn’t even let Amanda rest in peace. They had to carry on with their campaign only this time they were destroying her memory.
Amanda’s final years, were cut short because of bullies and because one person saw it fit to torment her. She made teenage mistakes that many people have made in their life time. We have all made mistakes in one form or another and none of us are perfect, we each have our flaws. But instead of being offered friendship and a shoulder to cry on, she was beaten up, bullied and tormented. Her torment was so great she turned to alcohol and was on drugs for depression. Poor child never stood a chance did she?
But we think it is only kids that torment and bully each other, but sadly it isn’t. Lecturers, teachers, ex-social workers, grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, in fact some adults are known to be part of the online bully school. Yes adults who are supposed to teach our children right from wrong are out there on the internet causing as much pain as they can to a person that they don’t even know. If a family hasn’t got enough to deal with, having their child missing or having to come to terms with a tragic death or suicide, they have to put up with the torrid abuse and have their lives picked apart by adults who should know better.
If a family doesn’t have enough to deal with having to come to terms with the fact their child committed suicide, due to bullying, they then find themselves becoming part of the bullying campaign.
Amanda Todd isn’t the first child to commit suicide due to bullying and I doubt if she will be the last.. but until adults are held accountable for their actions then how the hell can we tell kids not to do this, especially if they are witness to their peers conducting themselves in some online bullying campaign.
I wonder how many adults, have sat there at their keyboards in tears because they are victim of online harassment? I wonder how many have sat there and decided to do nothing or they have dismissed the idea of speaking out about being bullied, simply because they fear that they will be laughed at, ridiculed or bullied even more? Or they have simply said nothing, because they are an adult and it is unheard of for an adult to be bullied and it can be seen as a sign of weakness, can’t it?
Nobody should be bullied online, whether they be a child or an adult. And no it is not destroying freedom of speech to clamp down on such harassment. We can all have a different opinion on a certain topic or news article, but it is the way we express ourselves that counts. If we have to resort to threatening and abusive behaviour, then as far as I am concerned, that person has lost the argument.
We can debate, we can get our point of view across to others and we can change minds with our logic and reasoning. And do you what? Yes we can do all of those things without being abusive or bullying. We say society has no place for terrorists, but we also have no place in our world for bullies. If bullies can only win by bullying then it is about time, that we all stood shoulder to shoulder and named and shamed those bullies.
But you see, most of them are cowards, because they refuse to use their true identity. They are scared of the repercussions their online activities will bring if their true identity is revealed, and I suspect they will be ashamed of what their friends and family will think should they ever stumble across their vitriolic postings. They are cowards in the true sense of the word.
As for Amanda Todd, unfortunately she is one child that couldn’t be saved from bullying whether it be in the real word or cyber world… but let us all stand together and stamp out bullying.. not just for children but for adults too.
Too many lives are lost to bullying… stamp out bullying NOW.