Emily Bazelon over at Slate wrote a piece, “Suicide victim Amanda Todd was stalked before she was bullied” and got the story’s sequence mostly right, but I think she missed the salient connection between the stalker and the bullies. Bazelon looks at the bullying as a secondary and lesser important of the two events and intimates that it was the former and not the latter that pushed the 15 year-old Amanda over the edge.
Let’s review. The stalker, may he burn in hell, a male predator on-line convinced a 12-yr-old Amanda whom he befriended in a chat room to flash her breasts over an internet connect and did a screen grab of the event. For the next few years, he continually threatened and then followed up those threats with action sharing the photos of Amanda within her peer population when she declined to do whatever he was demanding of her – via Facebook where he had set up alias accounts and assimilated himself into Amanda’s new circle of friends.
Where could Amanda and her mother taken some direct action? Hindsight being 20/20 they should have gone directly to the police the very first time the individual disseminated the pictures of Amanda’s breasts. Even in Canada this activity would constitute child pornography (see wikipedia on Canada’s child pornography laws). The very first time it happened, the RCMP would have been able to begin the search for the individual hiding behind an alias, with a cooperative Amanda to assist.
The bullying of Amanda by her peers appears from afar to have been the impetus for her final spiral into depression. We won’t know as she is gone. What you can do, however, is ensure the lines of communication between you and your child are open so that when they get themselves in over their head or make a poor choice they will know that it won’t stop the sun from rising and that they know you, the parent, will have their back.