Let me reiterate. She was 12 years old. Statistically speaking, she had only lived one-sixth of her life expectancy. She was just a baby.
I'm f*cking sick of reading/hearing about our children taking their own lives, generally as a result of being bullied. It makes me feel sad, angry, helpless, and physically ill. Also, I worry about my own children. Are they being bullied? We have a good relationship, but do I know the extent of their school social lives? Probably not, and that scares the shit out of me.
I'm putting up a link to a suicide statistics page, so you can read the facts for yourself, but here are a few I feel need to be mentioned specifically:
1. 10-14 year old girls are at a higher risk for suicide.
2. LGBT teens are 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide than any other teen group. Please note that I said COMMIT. Not attempt.
3. Teenage girls favor emotional bullying, rumors, "slut-shaming", and exclusion as forms of bullying.
4. Bullying victims are 2-9 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who aren't bullied.
So, what are we, as parents, going to do about it? Personally, I've had several talks with my kids about bullying. We talk about what it is, why they should never do it, what to do if it happens to them. Kids are going to tease each other, and cause problems for each other, we can't change that. But we can do our damndest to make sure our kid's self-worth and sense of value isn't dependent on what others think/say about them.
Following is a very short list of teens who have taken their own lives in the past year, due to bullying.
September 10, 2012- Audrie Pott, age 15 (hung herself in her bedroom after being sexually assaulted and "slut-shamed" at her school):
October 10, 2012- Amanda Todd, age 15 (hung herself after being sexually assaulted, "slut-shamed", and having videos of her sexual assault posted on the internet):
January 1, 2013- Duncan Ballard, age 14 (after he commited suicide, numerous schoolmates posted apologies on his facebook wall for the way they had treated him):
April 4, 2013 - Devin Brown, age 13 (hung himself in his bedroom after being bullied at school. His crime? Reporting a classmate who planned on killing a teacher):
April 7, 2013 - Rehtaeh Parsons, age 15 (taken off life support following an attempted hanging, following 2 years of bullying. Her crime? She was sexually assaulted by several boys, and then subjected to "slut-shaming")
April 15, 2013 - Nigel Hardy, age 13 (self-inflicted gunshot. His crime? Being a male cheerleader a his school):
May 22, 2013- Gabrielle Molina, age 12 (hung herself in her bedroom after being bullied and "slut-shamed"):
Please, share this with your children (whatever is age appropriate for them, of course), and remind them that a cruel word from their lips could be the word that makes or breaks a fellow student. It's a terrible responsibility, I know. But so is the alternative.
Also? Talk to your children about being bullied Make sure they have a plan if they are being bullied. Let them know that they can come to you, make sure they know you will have their back. Tell them that no matter what choices they have made, nobody deserves to be bullied. Make sure they know that they can come to you, no matter what. Finally, do your best to give them the tools they need to survive the world they live in.
Do your best to make your children survivors.
And if you are reading this, and are experiencing ANY feelings of wanting to end your life, please follow this link. It has the numbers of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, as well as Suicide Prevention Hotlines in each state. Also, if you know someone who may be suicidal, this link can be helpful as well.