The recent teen suicide of Amanda Todd quickly caught the interest of the public. The 15-year-old Canadian girl was found dead on Oct. 10 after enduring years of bullying in school and online.
Todd's heartbreaking YouTube video about her humiliation and depression was posted on Sept. 7, just one month before her suicide. In the video she described using webcam chats to meet and talk to new people online, including a man who pressured her into flashing her chest. The man then took a photo and sent it to everyone she knew.
Even after moving to new towns and schools multiple times, the man continued to follow Todd online and use her photo. The picture and the harassment online drove this teen to depression, anxiety, drugs, alcohol, cutting and a suicide attempt by drinking bleach.
I learned of the death of Amanda Todd through Facebook. I kept seeing posts about her so I did my research, and what I read really hit me hard. This is not the first teen suicide I have heard about, but it is the first one that really got to me because of what people were saying.
What I find astonishing is that even after Todd's death, the harassment didn't stop. I've seen plenty of people on Facebook compare her suicide to other teen suicides, trying to make one seem more important than the other. I've seen posts about people being tired of hearing about it and how she just wanted attention. I don't see how some people cannot acknowledge that this was the death of a 15-year-old girl who had her whole life ahead of her, yet felt like she was better off dead.
These posts did more than just upset me; they made me feel sorry for my generation.
Yes, Amanda Todd may not have made some great decisions, but who does at 15? No matter the choices made, no one deserves to feel like death is really the better option. I realize that it is hard to understand other people's situations when you haven't lived them yourself. You might not have known Amanda Todd personally, but her situation could easily be that of your friend's, your sister's, your cousin's. As teenagers we have so many things going on and most of us feel like we're just trying to deal with our own problems, but anyone who thinks that situations like this shouldn't affect them are wrong. Bullying happens every day and if we see it and do nothing about it, then we are a part of the problem.
As teenagers we tend to focus more on our differences rather than our similarities, but the truth is that we are all in that same struggle to find acceptance from others as well as from ourselves. We should build each other up, not tear each other down. We're only making it harder on each other and what for?
Not everyone bullies, but chances are we've all seen it happen at least once. We are becoming way too comfortable with the idea of bullying, like it's just a common thing that happens. How many more teens do we have to lose to suicide to decide that bullying is something worth taking a stand against?
I have personally had the experience of seeing how suicide can affect an entire family, and my heart goes out to the family of Amanda Todd. It's hard enough to lose someone you love to suicide, but I can't even begin to imagine how it would feel to have all of the negative media come with it.
Life is a blessing and everyone has a right to life. So whether you see bullying at school or even online, I encourage all teens to take a stand against it. That also means being there for a friend when they're at their lowest point. Don't take suicide lightly. Don't wait for it to be someone you know.
Miranda Romero is a senior at St. Joseph Catholic High School. She enjoys softball, Starbucks and music. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.