Yesterday, a Port-Coquitlam teenager, Amanda Todd, committed suicide after suffering countless attacks of bullying. The girl had created a YouTube video sharing her story of how she was physically attacked and cyber-bullied. Amanda Todd shared her story hoping that it would help other victims of bullying. In a presentation on bullying she had created earlier in September, she urges:
“If you see that someone is being bullied, don’t be afraid to tell the bully to stop doing what they are doing. Make sure to tell them that it’s wrong and that they shouldn’t bully other kids.”
The story of Amanda breaks my heart. I cannot imagine the pain and how alone this young girl must have felt. To feel like you have no options but to take your own life to escape the pain must have been one really dark and scary place. I wish that her story inspires others – both children and adults, to remember to act with kindness. We never know the story of someone and what they may be going through. We never know if they are at a tipping point.
It shocks me that cyberbullying is still running rampant. It horrifies me that there are websites out there that are dedicated on tearing other people down. It saddens me that there are commenters (usually anonymous) that participate in insulting and name calling on forums and comment boards.
I may not be able to single handedly tear down the websites and commenters that do this, but I can make a choice to try my best to be kind and compassionate. I can stand up for people who are being bullied, I can talk to my younger cousins about the topic, and one day, when I have children, I can teach them to always treat people the way they want to be treated. Imagine if we all did this – if we all had these conversations, if we refused to be bystanders when others are being hurt, if we stopped the negative commentary about others – both in our daily conversations and online…. perhaps we won’t have to lose another innocent kid.
A world of strangers weep for you Amanda. May you rest in peace.