I’ve decided to interrupt my blogging break to post my thoughts on something that I’m sure everyone is very much aware of by now… The suicide of a young British Columbian girl after being subjected to years of online and offline bullying, tormenting, and cruelty. By now, everyone’s heard of Amanda Todd and her story. I’m not going to re-hash it here, although I encourage all of you to watch her YouTube video, made only weeks before taking her own life. It’s not easy to watch, but it’s such an important message, and whatever you’re feeling by the end of it pales in comparison to what that young girl must have felt.
What saddens… disgusts… infuriates me more than anything is that Amanda Todd’s bullying has not slowed down one bit since her tragic death. If anything, it’s increased. A Facebook memorial page set up in her memory has been defaced by people both claiming to have known Amanda, and strangers from all over. People expressing happiness that she’s gone. People posting pictures of her with horrible comments. Pictures of bleach with Amanda’s face… Even her YouTube video has comments that make me want to hit something. It’s disgusting and it needs to stop.
Regardless of any mistakes that girl may have made in her short life, she did not deserve what happened to her. None of us live mistake-free lives. And the people who claim that she got what she deserved need to take a good long look in a mirror. Amanda Todd was someone’s daughter. She could have been my daughter. Or your daughter. She could have been the girl next door. She was absolutely no different than many young teenagers growing up today. And the people who ridiculed her then, and the masses who continue to now, deserve to have their heads given a shake. I’ve read posts on Twitter from girls who look no different than Amanda, but say the most vile things. I have to wonder where their parents are, but that’s another post for another day.
The bottom line is this… Amanda Todd was not the first young person to take her own life after being subjected to bullies, and feeling that she had no other way out. And she will not be the last. This isn’t about her death being any more or less important than any one else’s, and the people who continue to hammer on that are completely missing the point. But in her final act of desperation, she gave us something… the opportunity to once again get this conversation out in the open where it belongs… We must not squander that opportunity… We owe it to Amanda… and to everyone who has been left isolated and alone by bullying… This has to stop.