I have been thinking about this for ages. Amanda Todd and I have a lot in common though it may not seem it, but we do. I write this letter to each and every parent and child, teacher and principal and I pray that you sincerely read the message I am trying to send.
When I was a young girl I was molested by a friend of a friend of my mother. This action changed the course of my life. By thirteen I was sexually promiscuous, being bullied every single day and acting out for as much attention as possible.
Instead of getting the help I needed I was thrown into lockers, beaten up, set on fire and called awful names such as nigger, slut, bitch, cunt, cow. From the time I was fifteen until I was twenty seven I tried to kill myself repeatedly. From alcohol and drug abuse to trying to jump in front of cars, trying unsuccessfully to literally blow myself up, to taking so many pills I had to have my stomach pumped. I have been through the ringer when it comes to attempted suicide. All because “grade eight girls will be grade eight girls” a quote from Mrs. Smith, my eight grade vice principal.
The sad truth is that children are mean and cruel, hurtful and spiteful because we teach them that it is okay. To date I know of half a dozen children who have killed themselves because they were so empty and alone they could not take it any more. They were not protected as they should have been.
I ask you now why the fuck, was Amanda Todd forced to change school districts? Why were her bullies not removed from the schools? Why was she forced to run and hide and drown herself in bleach because of the behaviors of others? When will we realize that allowing bullies to get away with the harm they are causing is in fact akin to murder?!
I do not think that Amanda Todd committed suicide. I think that Amanda Todd was a victim of the worst kind of emotional, physical and sexual abuse known to man, it was not suicide that took her life it was in fact murder.
When you force someone to feel so low, when you convince them systimatically over years that their life is so unimportant, that they are so unworthy, when you tell someone who was as emotionally and mentally unstable as Ms. Todd, to kill themselves and they do it, you in fact should be charged with murder.
What happened to Amanda was wrong. Today people around the world are standing up and admitting that, her bullies however are not speaking out. They are not apologizing they are ,not facing any public outcry. In fact many of them told her to continue to drink bleach many of them told her to kill herself. I wonder do they feel sorry now? Are they in trouble? or are they hoping the world will simply ignore the results of their actions and move on?
Yes plenty of people are saying they are angry. Many are even saying that they feel for her family as I obviously do. But how many are calling for judgment of the bullies in question? Are the police going to press charges? Will the teachers and principals reprimand these young people? Or will they simply decide that these children have suffered enough after the result of their actions?
Let me help you out: The answer is no. They have not suffered. They have not and will likely not be punished for what is the cause of their treatment of this child. This beautiful, lovely, creative and wonderful child.
The natural response goes something like this “What do you expect, that we place them in jail?” Absolutely When you abuse someone, physically or emotionally, mentally or sexually it is called “Abuse” Abuse is against the law. They have broken the law. They have continuously for years made this poor child feel as if she did not matter so yes they should go to jail. Perhaps a month long sentence with people who are just as guilty of feeding off of the pain of others may teach them a lesson. Along with mandatory sensitivity training. Mandatory counselling and mandatory “Stop being evil little fuck heads” day.
Yes people are angry that children kill themselves after being bullied, but today I say enough. Over the next several months I will be connecting with parents and victims of bullies, I want to create a three or four day conference in which parents, teachers and students can come together and discuss why they bully, and how to make it stop. Something must be done. So enough anger. Enough being mad on Amanda’s behalf, being angry doesn’t help unless something changes.
We have had in BC no less then 10 children murdered or commit suicide because of bullies. Until we change the way we behave, until we come up with punishments that work, until we begin to teach our children that one simple golden rule “Treat others how you wish to be treated” our children will be the worst of the child abusers. Make no mistake, what happened to Amanda Todd IS in fact child abuse. Until the law sees that, until the school’s see that, there will be a never ending string of Amanda Todd’s, perhaps this is the legacy she can be remembered for. The girl with the golden smile who clearly wanted to see a better world. Maybe just maybe we can’t create that for her, but instead in her name.