I’m stuck. What’s left of me now…nothing stops. I have nobody. I need someone.
Amanda Todd, a once, promising happy young Canadian girl committed bullycide on Wednesday after relentless, senseless attacks– physical, emotional and psychological– over several years followed her from town to town.
Her horrible story is hauntingly told in a youtube video with cue cards and shaking hands. What began in seventh grade when, she wrote, “I would go with friends on webcam [to] meet and talk to new people.” A stranger made her feel attractive and convinced her to flash the camera. A mistake that would unravel into years of stalking, black-mailing and bullying, this girl was shamed and made to feel worthless.
Even when moving to place to place to get away from the abuse, the tormenters would find her and continue to cyberbully and physically bully this young woman who was trying her best to find someone who would love her as she is. She spiraled into depression, complicated by intense and crippling anxiety, self hatred, self harm, and private self-bullying (see the connection between bullying, mental health and suicide here and how to report responsibly on suicide here).
At one point, 50 kids bullied her at one time. A boy had lead Amanda on, told her he liked her, and slept with her only to gang up on her later with his then girlfriend and friends. “Just punch her!” they yelled. The kids filmed it. Her father found her in a ditch later that day. Even then, she didn’t want to press charges and get anyone else into trouble. Her self worth was obliterated. She went home and drank bleach– which landed her in the hospital– and urged on her tormenters to make fun of her that much more– and even urge her to kill herself.
Sadly, that’s exactly what she did. At the end of this video, uploaded just last month, she writes “I have nobody. I need someone.”
I think this is the legacy she leaves– a message to all of us to be the someone these kids need. Studies tell us that a majority of young people don’t feel that they have at least three people to turn to in a time of need or challenge (see more on this in the new Bully book I am proud to have been part of along with Rosalind Wiseman and Michele Borba). As I tell my audiences when I present on bullying;
Please, be one of the three. Because you may actually be the only one. I know it’s hard. I know we’re all busy. I know we have no time. But cries for help don’t wait for a hole in our schedules.
It’s National Anti-bullying month and it’s way past time to make a change and commit to making this situation better for those who are suffering.
Peace be with you, Amanda Todd. I am so infuriated…So saddened by this tragic story and the many others that tell a tale of struggle and loss. How could this continue to go on like this? We must do better for you so it can get better for all.