The Tragedy of Amanda Todd

I know it’s not normal (or appropriate) that I feel jealous of the suicide of B.C. bullied teen Amanda Todd – jealous that she had the courage to actually go through with her suicide when all I do is daydream about it and then back away from the idea. Please don’t misunderstand – I am whole heartedly sorry for the pain she lived through, but I so respect the courage it took for her to take that final step.

I also feel anger – extreme anger – that nobody helped her. For God’s sake, the girl put up a YouTube video literally calling out for help and that wasn’t enough. What the hell does it take for this society to grasp that people who are the deepest depths of SAD can’t be fixed with a dismissive ‘don’t worry dear, things will get better’ or with superficial gestures of assistance.

A school board official actually stated: “The district was aware of the video prior to last night and there were supports in place for the student, both at the school and community levels”. (1) How can this official even live with herself making that statement when it’s obvious that the supports were woefully, tragically, fatally inadequate? Are you kidding me?! A girl felt completely hopeless and alone in the world, but it sure can’t be the school board’s fault because they had “supports in place” for her. YOUR SUPPORTS FAILED. Society is failing us.

Instead of defending your actions or lack thereof, why not call out to the world to step up their game? How about interventions that go further than weekly meetings with guidance counsellors and the occasional call to parents? Were there any consequences for the bullies in the years that Amanda was bullied? How about building an army of support to help make sure the bullies stop?

And why didn’t she feel she could count on her parents? God forbid we judge people’s parenting and make them feel bad, but obviously if Amanda had felt truly supported at home, she wouldn’t have felt so hopeless and may have had a buffer against all her suffering. Maybe her family could have advocated more for her to make the bullying stop, changed her environment, helped her build that inner self-love that protects people against psychological attacks like bullying. Something is not right here, in our world. Maybe it’s time to start talking about that. But we won’t. We’re not that kind of society.

No wonder I feel jealous of Amanda’s courage. Dear Amanda. I’m sorry for the pain you lived through while you were alive, and the sadness in your final moments. I’m sorry this world let you down. I’m sorry I don’t have the courage, strength, or faith to change the world. I hope you are in peace now.