An Open Letter to Amanda Todd.

Dear Amanda,

I wish you could see how your story has overcome and broken hearts of the entire country today. Maybe if you could, you wouldn’t have ended up in the position you’re in now. I feel though, that an outpouring of support happened too late. Is it better late than never? Would support have saved you from this terrible and untimely tragedy that you and your family have now been face with? I guess we’ll never know.

Your story is an extreme case of people’s lack of sensitivity and of utmost human cruelty. It seems youths either believe themselves to be invincible, or they believe themselves to be fatally doomed; your bullies and tormenters believed the former and yourself believed the latter, and this combination was traumatic and in the end, lethal and for that I am truly sorry. When you’re young it’s so hard to keep your head above water, especially when you don’t feel safe anywhere– cyber-bullying will follow you home and infiltrate your life in ways you never thought imaginable. You are constantly the victim of attacks, ridicule, judgment and subjugation. Cyber-bullying was just emerging when I was in junior high school and I can’t imagine the repercussions it has for kids in school today. It’s not fair. Life isn’t fair, and it seems your last years were nothing but anxiety, deep-rooted sadness and a struggle to belong. There is nothing that can be said to justify those who hurt you – this includes everyone, from the unidentified man who sold you out, to your guy ‘friend’s’ girlfriend, to those who videotaped your beating. All of those people are guilty. They created for you an atmosphere of fear and hatred, and have demonstrated to the world something irreparably broken in youths today who see only immediacy, not consequences, and who are titillated and attracted to chaos rather than willing to take an active stance against it.

I too was a victim of bullying. Reading your story I can’t begin to imagine the many ways in which the severity of your life can’t compare to mine, but I know what it’s like to be sitting alone in a world full of peers who, at face value or beyond, seem to ‘belong’ while you sit isolated and alone. I know what it’s like to sit in class and have people all around you whispering and taunting and throwing things at you and calling you names. Or to be followed home the whole way by people who are continually berating you and won’t leave you alone. This is nothing compared to what you went through, but isolation is always the same. It’s a place you can’t escape from or be removed from, and it follows your subconscious everywhere.

It sounds cliché, but it does get better, and it probably would have eventually for you too; but this is easier said than believed. This is much more complicated and insurmountable an issue to solve than you could have, especially on your own. I don’t condone your decision to end your life, but I can understand the desire to do so. It’s just so sad that so few people were there to help you overcome this trauma. You were abused, and you didn’t tell. And this unidentified person you were speaking with took advantage of your silence. It makes me sick. It’s not even what you decided to do to end all of this that is sickening, but its people’s desire to use your story as a way into torment over compassion.

Please know people were not bullying you because you were weak. People were bullying you because they were weak. They made a conscious decision to take advantage of you because they’re nothing, and nobody, and they’re empty and soulless. People like that don’t deserve any attention; what does, is your message, and your story, and your legacy, in hopes that people will think twice about their reaction to someone else’s difficulties.

I wish I’d known you; it was a true act of selfless, unbridled bravery to watch your video. There aren’t many fourteen-year olds who would do something like that. I’m so grateful for people like you. You have sent a message to so many people today and it is my hope that your suicide did not occur in vain. I would also like to send condolences to your family. I’m so sorry for the loss of such a bright, amazing, brave young person.

Lastly Amanda, in your video you said: “I know I messed up…”. You didn’t mess up. You acted in a moment in an environment in which you felt safe. Anyone could have done this in your shoes. It wasn’t your mistake; you did nothing wrong. You’re not a perpetrator here and you never were.

M

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