Bullying and Suicide — Justice for Amanda Todd

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Trigger warning.

A teenager local to me committed suicide this week.

She’d been bullied and stalked and harassed for a few years, and it got to be too much to take. All over one innocuous action, what some may deem a screw-up, that just happened to happen on the internet.

You know, kids screw up. They do. When I was 13 I was not being safe on the internet. I wasn’t. I was cyber-sexing with random strangers and telling them…well, not super-personal details, but probably too much. I was also looking at porn and getting malware downloaded to our home computer. I was a kid and I was dumb. You’re supposed to be at that age. It’s supposed to be allowed. It’s supposed to be safe.

You’re not supposed to be stalked and harassed because you flashed someone online on a whim.

You’re not supposed to be stalked and harassed because you flashed someone online on a whim regardless your age. (Flashing people in the street? Whole other kettle of fish.)

And you know, people always start in with the “Well that’s what she gets for being on the internet,” as if being on the internet suddenly signs away your right to a private, happy, healthy life free from harassment. News flash: it fucking doesn’t.

A light has gone out in the world, and it’s because people are cruel. No one deserves to be stalked and harassed, and especially not to the point of suicide.

 

My heart goes out to Amanda’s family, and my thoughts and prayers are with them. No one should lose a child like this.

My heart swells up with love for Amanda, and it is that love that pushes me to action. Love is always what pushes me to action, because “justice is what love looks like in public” (Cornel West).

And maybe right now my only way of trying to find justice is to write a blog post. To let other kids out there like Amanda Todd know they are not alone.

Please — if you are being stalked and harassed to the point of wanting to end it, reach out for help. I’ve blogged about depression and suicide before, and how my ask box on tumblr is always open. It is. Don’t hesitate to shoot me a message if you feel you need someone to talk to, because I have been there.

I’m not going to tell you that things magically get better, but things can get better if we put in the effort to make them better. But we have to be around to do that.

Nil illegitimi carborundum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Because you are amazing, and worthy of love, and they are not worth that. They are not worth you leaving like this.

Call someone. Please.

Hotlines to Call

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433

LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743

Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438

Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673

Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272

Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000

Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-439-4253

The master list of suicide hotlines is here: Suicide.org.

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4 thoughts on “Bullying and Suicide — Justice for Amanda Todd

  1. Wow, Katje, thank you for sharing this. I’ve always thought that we, as a culture, need to speak out against the unfairness of the double standard women experience in these situations. As if her flashing somehow equals out her harassment. Terribly unjust.

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    • *nods* Yes, we do. I think one of the most horrifying things about these stories is that people often don’t talk about the sexism and misogyny inherent in the events.

      This story was especially close to home, as she was the student of a friend of mine.

      I just…I want to speak to young women, and tell them not to give up. Tell them the world is counting on them to make things better. Which isn’t very inspiring, I guess. But it’s so sad that this happens, and I feel helpless to stop it, except to maybe blog about it and to continue feministing as much as I can without burning myself out/killing myself with anger/pushing away people that love me/drinking myself into a stupor.

      Sigh. Some days I identify with Dr. Horrible way more than I should. “The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it.”

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  2. Katy

    Thankyou so much for posting this! I’ve been through a lot quite similar to Amanda todd, wish I had met her rip:( I really need to speak to someone I didn’t have a gd experience with child line a women told me I didnt sound serious and that has put me off any help lines! I might write on your ask tomorrow you sound really helpful but I just want to sleep just now.

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    • Katje van Loon

      *hugs*

      I hope you got some good sleep, Katy. It can really help.

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this sort of thing, and it’s terrible what they said on the help line! Unfortunately I know that sort of thing happens at help lines; they’re not perfect. 😦

      My ask box is open, and I allow anonymous asks if you don’t want to broadcast the details of what you’re going through to the public.

      Also, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Boggle the Owl, but it’s a really great blog to go through when you’re faced with depression, anxiety, bullying, mental health issues, etc. Reading Boggle the Owl always makes me feel a bit better, no matter how shitty I’m feeling. http://boggletheowl.tumblr.com/

      This post in particular is one I’m thinking about printing out and posting in a prominent place in my home: http://boggletheowl.tumblr.com/post/62219018555

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