The Amanda Todd Story: CyberBullying Becomes an Epidemic That Hits Home Once Again
“…. I have nobody… I need help… my name is Amanda Todd…..”
Those would be the last words written by Amanda Todd, 15, from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia; a town located near Vancouver.
Amanda Todd was born November 28, 1996. Like every other teenager, she was part of at least one of today’s social networking population; Facebook, Tweeter & Tumblr.
The Canadian teenager posted a video on YouTube in September 2012; “My Story” Struggling, bullying, suicide and self-harm”. During this nine (9) minute video, she describes her pain… her agony….her cry for help….. and how she became yet another victim of bullying.
Using individual flashcards, Amanda described the dreadful hurt and depression that she had been experiencing for the past three (3) years at the hands of bullies and her unknown tormentor.
On Facebook, she was ridiculed and ostracized by classmates that viewed topless photos of her posted on a webpage by her tormentor. Adding depression to despair, Amanda was also attacked by relentless classmates adding more injury to harm. A vicious altercation with another girl caused Amanda to drink bleach in the attempt to commit suicide. Trying to rid her pain, she also turned to cutting to free her emotions.
Her indescribable nightmare began when an unknown man convinced her to expose her body via webcam online. After she conformed to his blackmail request, he spread and posted the pictures he captured, tarnishing her reputation and character.
Amanda moved several times hoping to eliminate the depression and suffering, however her grief and misery followed her alongside her bullies. Her depression deepens as she writes “…why do I get this? I messed up, but why follow me?” The video goes on to describe Amanda’s heartfelt suffering “… I’m constantly crying now….everyday I think, why am I still here….. My anxiety is horrible now…. I’m really depressed.”
Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, describes her daughter as “a very caring individual who helped others who needed it”
Amanda and her father Norman Todd, planned on getting tattoos together. In light of this tragic incident, Norman still plans to get the tattoo reading ‘stay strong’.
“No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it. No one asks for it. It isn’t a rite of passage. Bullying has to stop” stated Christy Clark of British Columbia’s Premier.
Amanda’s alleged tormentor has been named by the Anonymous hacktivist group on pastbin.com. He is described as being a 30 year old male from New Westminster, British Columbia. The post stated, “he extorted Amanda Todd for pictures. This is the pedophile that socially engineered Amanda Todd into supplying him with nude pictures”.
He has been charged with sexual interference with a minor and sexual assault which are unrelated to Amanda’s tragedy. (Reported by CTV).
Teen suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death. In the United States alone, approximately 2 million teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 attempt suicide annually. (CDC Wonder)
Among the outward suicide warning signs, these are a few to look for:
- Change in sleeping and eating habits
- Depression and
- Drastic personality change
We must continue to educate ourselves and our children on the prevention and awareness of bullying. Amanda’s story has gone viral and has reached an enormous portion of the social networking population. This is an opportunity to send a strong message and make a difference to convey to the world that we must have dignity and respect for others; bullying is an intolerable act that should be treated as any other punishable crime.
This story ends with a tragic death by suicide; Amanda Todd killed herself on October 10, 2012.
May you rest in peace and may your actions speak to the world and prevent this from happening again.