So, I think it’s obvious by now that this is going to be yet another Amanda Todd related post. Before you roll your eyes and close the tab, this isn’t going to be the usual kissing her ass article, nor a vicious attack. Quite simply, I’m going to be looking at what actually happened.
So, we have a 15 year old girl who uploaded a video about being bullied online back in September. Last week she killed herself and the world is only now giving a shit. Or are they?
Some of you might remember earlier this year there was the whole Kony 2012 bullcrap. Ohnoes ebil man in afrika n we nid kil him cuz he steel childruns!!1! Now, I’m not saying that Joseph Kony is a pretty cool guy who steals children and doesn’t afraid of anything, but the fact is that most people who jumped on that bandwagon couldn’t point to Uganda on a map. They had absolutely 0 concern about the situation beforehand. “Oh but they didn’t know before! The campaign was all about awareness!” I hear you cry. Well, that’s all very well and good but if you asked those same people NOW who he was, most of them would give you a blank expression. The same will happen with Amanda Todd.
Now, I’m not saying it’s right for someone to be blackmailed to death. It’s not. However, there are people at fault here other than the guys who harassed her. Including herself. From what I can understand, she had been exposing herself on webcam to guys for quite some time. Multiple guys. She was supposedly close to her father, so why didn’t she tell him what was going on? Worried that he was going to flip out over the nudes? That means she knew she was wrong for flashing herself. Let’s not forget her age either. She was 15. The family supposedly moved several times. Did they never consider going to the police? Apparently the main blackmailer was contacting her through social networking sites. Why not stop using them? She slept with someone’s boyfriend while his girlfriend was on holiday then tried to kill herself when the girlfriend came after her. I’m sorry, but if you sleep with my bloke, I’ll kick your fucking ass. Again, unable to deal with the consequences of her own actions.
When I was 15, I wasn’t allowed free rein on a computer. Yeah sure, I had a mother who was too strict and it caused me to go out and do things that I shouldn’t. The thing is, if you’re going to do something, be prepared for the consequences. I had issues with self-harming, bulimia and depression when I was her age too. The main cause of those was my own family. I couldn’t run from that and didn’t know how. She had people she could confide in. I find it interesting how her family never turned around and thought “you know, if she doesn’t have access to these sites or a webcam, the problems will go away”. What the fuck was a 15 year old doing with a webcam anyway? I mean seriously. If you’re going to allow your daughter the means to be a whore, expect there to be repercussions. If you know she’s being blackmailed, do something about it more than just moving a couple of times. For those curious, here’s a transcript of her video.
From that, you can see she was actually 12 when she started flashing guys on cam and showed that guy her breasts. 12 years old. Last time I saw my half-sister she was 12. She had absolutely no interest in guys. At 12, we thought that letting a guy touch us clothed was a big deal. Heck, kissing a guy properly was a big deal. She goes on to say that she got into drugs and alcohol. And again, where were her parents in all of this? Oh right, they were letting the internet babysit their daughter.
The latest revelation is that some members of Anonymous have released the details of the guy who harassed her. Now, Amanda’s mother claims that the police were unable to trace the guy who was stalking her. He was apparently messaging her through Facebook. Now, do PLEASE explain to me how the police and Facebook weren’t able to find this guy over a period of a couple of years and yet Anonymous have in a week? No really, I would love to know the answer to that. Apparently her mother was quite computer savvy too. So why did she allow her 12 year old child a webcam? Why did she allow her child unsupervised computer access? Why did she not set up parental controls to block video chat sites/programs? Why did she not talk to Amanda about the possible dangers of what could happen online from talking to strangers? In a lovely little article by a Canadian paper, I spotted the following quote:
Amanda’s moment of indiscretion was not unusual for someone her age: Sexting and using webcams to share sexual photos is a growing trend among children, some so young they are still in grade school.
Now, not wanting to be picky, but many things aren’t unusual. Paedophilia, incest, beastiality… does that make them legal? Does it make them right? Hell, if it comes down to it, kids being bullied isn’t unusual and yet we are being told it’s not right. Why are people trying to justify and glorify what she did? Yes, being bullied is awful but I can think of many cases where the kids weren’t bringing anything upon themselves. What was more disgusting was the comment by Carol Todd later in the article:
But Amanda’s victimization at the hands of the stalker led Carol to learn more about the horrifying world of child pornography, where some victims don’t even know their images are being shown on porn sites.
“You’ll see pornography and the girls are so young,” she said.
“I don’t know if the girls are doing this for kicks, if their parents are monitoring it or if they even know about it.
Really now, Mrs. Todd? Are you admitting some responsibility for your poor parenting there? One would hope so otherwise you’re being a bit of a hypocrite, no? How about the fact that you and Amanda’s father continued to allow a girl with mental health issues access to the causes of them? Could have stopped her having a Facebook. Could have stopped her having access to a webcam. Could have imposed curfews or kept a closer eye on what she was getting up to so she didn’t get into drink and drugs in an abusive way. Yeah, I was a teen who did things she shouldn’t have behind her parents’ backs, but I most certainly would have had those picked up on had I had addiction issues. I know as soon as my mother noticed that I was trying to avoid eating with the family or spending time in the bathroom after meals, she had me down the doctors and asking them to do something about my eating disorder. She never knew the full extent nor did I admit to it, but as abusive as she was, she was still trying to do something as a parent, even if it was to save her own back. When I first attempted suicide (also at 15, I might add), my social activities were restricted: online and offline. When my mother found out I was sending some rather risqué messages to boys online, I had my access to the internet revoked. Internet access is not a necessity for a child, even in this day and age. The means to monitor that are much better 12 years on as well, as is the support for those who have issues with bullying, suicidal ideation and self-harm. The parents were aware she had already tried to commit suicide once… They should have been aware of her Youtube channel and the video in particular.
Now, without wanting to sound too much like I’m attacking her and her parents, there’s also the fact that she was being bullied in school… What exactly were the schools doing about this? Scratching their asses? What happened to suspensions and expulsions for extreme bullying? That is, unless the extent of the bullying was blown up out of proportion and it was a case of a shove here and a name there. Sad to say, but everyone will experience some of that at some point in their lives. What do you do? Show you won’t put up with it. You become a stronger person. Why care what the hell those people think anyway? If you can’t take those insults, you toughen up. If you can’t do that on your own, you have help doing it. Where the fuck was the support on that? Especially following previous suicide attempts. Why were the schools not made aware of her mental health issues? If they were, why were they not doing more to prevent what was going on? Why didn’t Facebook step in as some of the bullying was taking place on their site?
The causes of her suicide are many and the responsibility of the same. It’s just sickening to see people making her out to be some angelic martyr who did nothing wrong. Reminds me somewhat of Madeline McCann and how people tried to protect the parents even though they had displayed clear neglect of their daughter.
Oh well, in a couple of weeks most people won’t remember who the hell she was anyway. That’s the really tragic thing. No one will learn anything from this aside from maybe a few people being more mindful of their children’s activities. But in all honesty, most of the reactions to this girl’s suicide have simply made me lose more faith in humanity.