Bullycides continue in 2013
Unfortunately, the incidents of teens and younger children committing suicide, in part because of cyberbullying, continues in 2013. These tragic turn of events have become known as “bullycides.” We highly recommend that you think ahead before posting anything that may harm someone. You don’t always know that person’s state of mind or what they’re capable of.
On September 9, 2013, twelve-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick jumped to her death from a platform at a local cement plant. The Florida middle school student was in a dispute over a boy and had been bullied over the past year by up to a dozen girls. Her mother changed schools, removed her from Facebook and took her cellphone. However, Rebecca, as many teenagers do, got online on other apps and social media sites. The bullying started up again. Rebecca even changed her screen name to “That Dead Girl.” Some of the cruelty she endured included “Why are you still alive?” “Go kill yourself” and “You’re ugly.” In October, 2013, two girls, ages 12 and 14, were arrested and charged with felony aggravated stalking. The next month, all charges were dropped and the girls continued in counseling. Parents need to monitor all social media apps their kids are using including Kik Messenger, Ask.fm, Voxer and Instagram.
In August, 2013, fourteen-year-old Hannah Smith of England hanged herself following prolonged bullying about her weight and, oddly, about her uncle’s death. She was told to “go die” and “drink bleach.”
On April 7, 2013, Rehtaeh Parsons of Nova Scotia, Canada gave in to online bullying after a video of her being sexually assaulted in 2011 went viral. The seventeen-year-old hanged herself when the bullying got to be too much. Four months later, two 18-year-olds were charged with possession, production and distribution of pornography surrounding the incident.
In response to Rehtaeh’s death, the legislature in Nova Scotia passed the Cyber-Safety Act. However, due to the broad definition of “cyberbullying,” the Act was declared unconstitutional in December, 2015 (see Crouch v Snell, 2015 NSSC 340).
On January 5, 2013, fourteen-year-old Carolina Picchio of Italy jumped to her death from her bedroom window. She had been tormented on Facebook and saw no way out. Carolina appeared in a video at a party where she appeared to be disoriented. An ex-boyfriend and his friends wrote a barrage of offensive messages that affected her daily life at school and in the community. According to the prosecutor’s office she received thousands of vulgar messages from a messaging service adding to her pain.