Cyber Bullying Pushed This Teen To Suicide

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons BlogHashtags (#) are powerful. You don’t need to use social media to understand what a hashtag is. They’re used on most social media platforms to draw attention to an event (#FootballGame), a product (#Cola), or a person (#TeacherOfTheYear).

Children understand hashtags very well. One component of cyber bullying is to use social media and associate someone’s name with cruel hashtags: #filtywhore #stupid #liar #skank #dumbslut.

Cyber bullying is devastating and destructive. And too often a child is embarrassed to tell their parent what’s going on.

BLOG POST #125: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving three high school boys and one high school girl.

Party Time

It was a holiday weekend, no school on Monday and her best friend’s parents were going to be out of town. One girl told her parents she’d be staying at the other’s home and vice versus.

The girl whose parents were out of town invited a dozen friends to party at her house, where the alcohol was accessible.

After sipping vodka mixed with Gatorade, the victim became super drunk and went to a bedroom to sleep. Three boys accompanied her. The boys removed her clothes while she was passed out, and then used markers to write and draw on her partially naked body.

Heartless Boys

They then digitally violated her and took photographs.

When she awoke the next morning, she had no memory of how or when she had arrived in the bedroom or anything else.

The victim asked her mother to pick her up. Her mother recalls she was quiet and locked herself in her bedroom.

She was frantic to learn what had happened to her so she contacted several kids who had been at the party. She learned there were photos and many kids at her school had seen them.

Poor Self Image

The victim, like so many teenage girls, had an issue with her body image. Does this sound familiar? She wouldn’t eat in public; she wouldn’t eat breakfast, and she ate very little lunch.

No Way Out

She was so tormented by the thought of nude photos circulating she hung herself in the bathroom at her home and did not survive.

As you read this post, you might have wondered if the school she attended served troubled teens or if she and her friends were from struggling households. You’d be wrong. Her high school catered to the affluent in the heart of Silicon Valley.

At first, her mother didn’t understand what had pushed her daughter to take her life. Her daughter’s friends began to talk to her.

The Truth

The boys were identified. Lucky for them, their cases remained in juvenile court. Sharing child pornography on the internet can result in prison time for adults.

The judge sentenced one teen to 45 days in juvenile hall; the other two received 30 days. To be served on weekends so as not to miss school.

And they were required to make public statements of regret and remorse for their actions.

Within a stipulated two year period, each boy was also required to give ten presentations at any high school. The presentations were to include: Sexting, Dissemination of Nude Photographs, Soliciting Nude Photographs, Slut Shaming, Spreading Rumors, Dangers of Alcohol and Drugs.

Something Good

The victim’s parents continue to fight to change laws in hopes what happened to their daughter doesn’t happen to any other family.

Worth Mentioning: A documentary was made about this case and a similar case with a different outcome. The film was one of the official selections for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and is a Netflix Original. Here’s the trailer: Audrie and Daisy

My sincere condolences go out to all who have lost a loved one to suicide.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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