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Bullying – The Amanda Todd Case


Silence is consent, so refuse to be quiet.

By Chantelle (Tilly) Wark, Staff Writer

Amanda Todd, a grade ten student from British Columbia, broke the hearts of Canadians when she committed suicide on October 10, 2012. Like many teenagers, she made a mistake due to a lapse in judgement and paid for her mistake as the result of bullying.

This tragic outcome is one that occurs all too often with today’s youth. Few people speak up for the victims until after they’ve taken their lives. It’s not fair that the price of a child’s mistake is cashed in with a life, and tragic for parents who lose what they love the most.

Amanda was one child out of too many who had been bullied. All too often the news reports of suicides committed by homosexual teenagers because they couldn’t face the gay slander any longer.

What is wrong with our society? How are bullies able to live with themselves, knowing the victim took her life away? How can these monsters sleep at night knowing they said something so soulless that a child would rather die than face another day?

Youth bullying and suicide is more common in Canada than people may realize. The Canadian Mental Health Association statistics are unsettling. With Canadians between the ages of ten and twenty-four, suicide is the second-leading cause of death.

In British Columbia, a survey was done with 15,000 students in grades 7-12, and the results were disturbing. 34% of students knew of someone who had either attempted or died of suicide, 16% had considered dying, 14% had made a suicide plan, 7% made an attempt, and 2% needed medical assistance after attempting suicide.

Each year, on average, 294 youths die from suicide. Bullying increases the risk of youths ending their lives, especially with the advent of cyber bullying. 73% of cyber bullying victims report that the most common forms of harassment involve aggressive or threatening emails and instant messages.[pullquote]Each year, on average, 294 youths die from suicide. Bullying increases the risk of youths ending their lives, especially with the advent of cyber bullying. 73% of cyber bullying victims report that the most common forms of harassment involve aggressive or threatening emails and instant messages.[/pullquote]

Meanwhile, one in three adolescents report being bullied recently, while 47% of parents in Canada have children who are bullied. Given these statistics, it’s, sadly, no longer as shocking that Amanda Todd committed suicide.

These kids need a voice, someone to bring them some calm amongst the stormy seas of slander. If just one person could speak out and show support for someone being bullied, a life could be saved. After all, as the Canadian Mental Health Association states “communication is the first essential step in assisting youths at risk of suicide.”

As for the bullies themselves, they need to be held accountable for their actions. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, such driven-to-death actions come with a maximum sentence of fourteen years. Though this sentence is extreme for a youth, it would definitely open up a bully’s eyes to how serious the personal consequences can be. While the bullies ought to be sent to juvenile detention, they should also be rehabilitate.

Let’s put an end to bullying. Stand up for the victims, and remind them that they’re not alone. Silence is consent, so refuse to be quiet. You might just save a life.

For more information on youth mental health and help groups, please refer to:

Canadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Kids Help Phone

KidsNowCanada

Better known by my alias “Tilly,” I’m a proud Canadian who’s sixth- generation on the family homestead.  I’m currently working on my B.A in English with Athabasca University by correspondence, and I firmly believe in using our freedom of speech to its fullest potential (it’s just as important as voting). For more of my idiosyncrasies, feel free to check out the following:

 

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