This post may seem a slightly heartless, or a little controversial, or may not be what you expect to see, but it’s something I feel quite strongly about. So if you’re not happy with what you’re reading, just go away.
Social networks have been going crazy this week over the story of Amanda Todd, a young naive Canadian girl who made a “stupid mistake” and was, quite literally, tormented to death by it. Worldwide people have been letting this girl into their hearts, with words of support flooding in : “I would’ve tried to save her if I’d known her when she was alive.”, etc. I just need to point out that hindsight is a wonderful thing. You never knew her then, and the reason she cut her life short is because she could no longer cope with how little other people cared. It’s too late to care when they’re dead.
Personally, and this is where I begin to sound heartless, I fail to see what makes Amanda any different to every single other suicide. I’m not going to sit here and say “everybody gets bullied at some point, she should have just got over it.”, definitely not. From what I’ve read, and what I’ve seen, what happened to Amanda was never bullying, but torment of the most malicious and inconceivable variety. I merely want to point out that statistics show roughly 1 million people die every year from successful suicides, and at some point in their lives 5% of the human population will try to die at their own hand. Every single one of those million people has their own individual story to tell, their reason why they just couldn’t take it anymore. Some maybe aren’t as shocking as Amanda’s, but I know for certain that there are a large number that are.
So Amanda’s shocked the world – was it because she was young? Or pretty? Or a combination of the two? Yes she was young, but suicide is the second biggest killer in 15-19 year olds. Yes, she was pretty. I remember reading in an unrelated magazine article, many years ago, about a girl who tried to kill herself after her school’s head cheerleader committed suicide “because if she had nothing to live for, what did I?”
Something that did strike me about this story, was at the time of her ‘mistake’ I calculate Amanda to be 11 years old, maybe 12 tops. Regardless of whether she lied about her age or not, what kind of individual asks a girl of that age (most likely very undeveloped) to show her breasts? I mean, I know my opinions about the sexualisation of children are at least as strong as my feelings on self harm and suicide, but why can I not find any information on the prosecution of that individual? According to news reports in the last couple of days, a 32 year old man has been named by some anonymous online group, though whether it was him or he’s been scapegoated I don’t know. He didn’t just ask her to flash her boobs though, this young, somewhat naive girl who only wanted to make new friends with the internet, but he took a photo without her knowing (pretty sure this is illegal). He then stored this photo for about a year, then got in touch with Amanda again, despite the night of the flashing supposedly being the one and only time the two of them had spoken.
I’m sorry, but that’s creepy, perverse and stalkerish…and I like to think I’m fairly open minded.
Not just this, but what of the gang that physically assaulted her outside of the school? Has anything been done about them? If it has, I certainly haven’t read anything about it. I’m sure there is some kind of loophole about them being so young, but you cannot tell me that those people did not know what they were doing, nor that they were too young to be held accountable for their actions. I just hope that the guy can live with his conscious, sure being a jerk and a cheat isn’t a crime but the results of his actions are something he’ll never be able to dismiss.
My commendations to her parents for making some tough choices and major changes to their lives just to try and save her, and I’m genuinely very sorry that it wasn’t enough.
Food for thought – Every 40 seconds somebody somewhere in the world kills themself.
RIP to the millions of people who kill themselves and never get recognised.