My Thoughts on Amanda Todd
I think the thing about bullying is, depending on whose perspective you’re looking at, there is always someone who will claim it was “brought on”. Does that mean it’s okay? No, never. Amanda’s issue really started when a grown adult male took advantage of her. And honestly, EVERY SINGLE PERSON who is suicidal wants attention. “Wanting attention” is not a bad thing. For a person who is suicidal, they want validation, they DO want people to feel bad about their actions and what the person is going through. I don’t think that’s wrong. There are a lot of myths about suicide. When I took suicide intervention and prevention training we learned that 1/5 people are thinking about suicide in any given moment. To drive the point home they had our class of 20 take an anon quiz and then they posted the results for us to see. FIVE people in the class were having suicidal thoughts, and 1 person was seriously contemplating it!
This really boils down to a LOT of different issues that need to be addressed. Bullying, critical media literacy, empathy, mental health, and coping. These are areas that are forever getting missed in school and by society, yet they are vital to surviving a situation like this.
I had a very similar experience to Amanda back in 2005. I had taken a nude self portrait. it didn’t show anything, but it was my first one ever and I was using it as a reference for a self portrait painting I was planning on exhibiting (which I did in the end). A guy I knew, who I was trying to help out, asked me out on a date. I politely declined since I had a boyfriend at the time. He knew about my art project, knew about all the church volunteering I did, my work with children, my very conservative family etc. He was very pissed I didn’t take him up on his date offer, more than I could ever know.
A few days later I found myself locked out of my hotmail. I filed a report- didn’t think much of it because it would happen from time to time when hotmail was working on stuff. I couldn’t get on to my msn either. A website I was using to update the youth I worked with wouldn’t let me log in. I just about died when I went to the url. The website I had built to show the work of the youth in the church- the one that was attached to my church website… had the caption, “Virgin?” and was plastered with my nude photo, along with some clever photoshop edits of it. I threw up. As I started trying to check all the other websites I used (at the time myspace, live journal, etc) I found the same thing. Then my phone started ringing. I was being called and text by just about everyone I knew saying I was sending them weird emails that included the pic and offers for sex, as well as texts, and that YOUTH AND CHILDREN that I was connected with were receiving the same thing.
I emailed back and forth with hotmail staff from an alt account. While I changed my password regularly, I had a saved folder with all my site registration emails, I had a recently received email that included contact info for the priests at my church, the choir, all the religious ed teachers, all the parents, and all the youth. They had all been contacted. All the men on my MSN were solicited for sex, dates has been set up, and a few of the guys actually fell for it and were calling me asking why I was late for our date. Hotmail eventually gave me control of my email again, and said if the police filed a report with them they would release the IP addresses that were used to access my account. By the way, they had changed all my passwords to “virgin?”
I called the RCMP and HRM and I visited both in person. They all listened to me for all of 5 seconds before brushing me along saying they could do nothing. I cried to them explaining that not only was it harassment and identity theft of me but that the person put minors at risk etc. They told me to call “phone busters”. Who never returned my calls.
It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Everyone was judging me, phone my parents, was I fit to work with children? etc. I wanted to die. Right around that time, one of my best friends did die. I had to start going to therapy because of it.
Years later an ex girlfriend of the guy called me and explained he’d been the one who did it. He would BRAG about it to people. He said I deserved it (and people in his circle agreed) because of 1) dismissing his date offer and 2) I clearly didn’t know anything at the time about internet security so it was my own fault.
I certainly had those fleeting moments of “if I kill myself, everyone will feel bad, and I won’t have to deal with this anymore.”
my point in this story is that you can NEVER know the full story! We never really know everything Amanda experienced, what she went through, or her final thoughts. At the end of the day, she took her own life and we are left to make sense of it. I think it’s created a media stir because she very clearly asked for help and validation, and didn’t get it. People realize it was preventable. Where were they when it happened? Well you never know. I almost lost my own sister to suicide, she went through very similar to Amanda, and was in an out of hospitals. If she actually did die and someone asked me why I didn’t do anything I’d have punched them in the face. People DO try to help, sometimes it’s just not enough. Thankfully in both my sisters situation and my own, it was.
It’s all said and done now, so we should be striving to prevent suicide, learn how to intervene, and address those issues of coping, critical media literacy, mental health, and empathy I addressed. The last thing we should do is pass any judgement on the person who is dead. She is dead now. There is nothing else for her. We can’t control how other people respond to that fact, but we can control how we do.
My hacking incident was not the last cyber bullying experience I have had. Two years ago I had an entire group of several hundred people based on an art site make me their official target and wrote about me like a gossip magazine. I had no idea what I had done to deserve it, they insisted I deserved it for being snotty or some other lame excuse. I would log in to hundreds and hundreds of hate messages. I could have just left the site, but I’d been on it for a decade, why should I have to tolerate that behaviour on a site I’d contributed for a decade? Most recently, I upset a man who has been on a one person campaign to ruin my mermaid persona and reputation. He posts lies everywhere, people believe it, and I have total strangers sending me hate.
Most days I can deal with it, but catch me on a day when I’m sick, dealing with family drama, unemployed, and feeling low then yeah, even as a 26 year old adult with all my experience I find it hard to cope
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- rheill reblogged this from rainamermaid and added:
- vaishino said: I can’t believe you got nice-guy’ed :T You’re seriously one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, how does someone rationalize that course of action? Did I know you back then? Should I have drop-kicked someone?
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