High school is not the entire world, but when you’re a 16-year-old girl, it’s all that matters. Last week, a 15-year-old girl named Amanda Todd allegedly took her own life after enduring years of cyber bullying. In a YouTube video posted on September 7th, Todd chronicles how she was manipulated into posting a topless picture of herself on the internet and how the photo haunted her, even after she transferred to multiple schools. Yesterday, hacker group Anonymous posted another video identifying the 32-year-old man who allegedly harassed Todd for three years.
Cyber bullying is an issue that has gained international attention after multiple teenage girls took their own lives after being hounded by their peers on social media sites. It’s a pandemic that I care deeply about, being a victim of bullying myself during my youth.
High school is hell. Between raging hormones, straddling the line between childhood and adulthood, and fitting in, it is one of the hardest times in a person’s life. Teenage girls are especially susceptible to peer pressure, low self esteem, bullying and depression.
I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of 11. One of the side effects of the medication they put me on was weight gain. During my early teens, I ballooned up to 180 pounds. I was huge.
During that time, I was taunted almost every day. Viciously, viciously taunted. It caused overwhelming anxiety, depression, self harm and multiple suicide attempts. I was hospitalized twice during my teen years for trying to take my own life.
Bullying can cause deep, permanent scars. It can not only cause a girl to feel like she is ugly, but that she is completely worthless. It can cause a girl to take her own life.
More people need to be aware that cyber bullying can be just as bad, or even worse, than traditional bullying. When the bullies follow you home and you have access to their cruelness in your own bedroom, there is no escape.
Parents can say, ‘Oh, my daughter can just delete her Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/YouTube account and it’ll be fine.’ But they neglect to see that for this generation of kids, social media is their world. There is no way to unplug them completely.
What we need here is more young women to come forward and put an end to cyber bullying and the pain that it is causing these teenage girls. Young women who have been there and know that there is life after high school and that it in fact gets better.
Nobody deserves this. No girl should even think about taking her own life because of the pain her peers put her through. From one who has been there, yes, I know it seems like the pain will never end. But it does. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And yes, you are gorgeous and worthwhile and loveable. You are worthy of a beautiful and wonderful life.