The tragic story of a Canadian teen who was driven to suicide by bullying has gripped thousands of people across North America and inspired countless tributes.
Amanda Todd, who was 15 when she was discovered dead earlier this week, first started her spiral into depression after being intimidated into sending a picture of her breasts to an anonymous man on Facebook when she was just a seventh grader. The man distributed the photos to Todd’s friends, family and everyone in her life, according to the Edmonton Journal. Todd then tried to kill herself by ingesting a cocktail of bleach and other chemicals.
Although her initial suicide attempt failed, Todd’s classmates taunted her even further by posting pictures of Bleach bottles on her Facebook page and threatening her with violence. She also developed a severe cutting problem before filming a silent video of herself holding up index cards that told her sad story. The same video -- which you can watch below -- has inspired friends and strangers alike to come together to celebrate Todd’s memory.
Although the Todd family has requested privacy, the Province reported that the number of testimonials from Todd’s classmates was staggering.
“She could be very funny,” said cheer teammate Alexa Ishikawa. “One afternoon she convinced me her father was Bill Gates.”
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Ishikawa also told the Province that Todd’s death has shown a harsh light on the cliques in their school, and it has made her reconsider her own friendships.
“If there’s someone sitting alone in my class I’ll go over and say ‘Hi,’ instead of just sitting with my friends.”
Police have launched an investigation into Todd’s death, and although they would not comment to the local news about the effect her bullies had on her, Todd’s case has reignited the bullying discussion that’s been taking place for the past few years. The issue has taken a new, scarier turn with the rise of cyberbullying.
The cruelty that’s present when people harass each other through profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites has been an issue many have struggled to deal with.
Now, multiple Facebook pages have been devoted to Todd’s memory and have already attracted hundreds of thousands of “likes,” as well as countless of supportive comments. Similarly, “R.I.P. Amanda Todd” was a nationally trending Twitter topic in Canada and the United States through the weekend.