We, as humans, really need to change…
December 5, 2013
“That Dead Girl”: A Family And A Town After A Cyberbullied 12-Year-Old’s Suicide
In September, after a year of being bullied online, Rebecca Sedwick threw herself off a three-story cement silo, sparking an international freak-out over the responsibility social media networks like Ask.fm have in fostering this kind of harassment. But for Rebecca’s family, friends, and neighbors, the problem isn’t technology or opportunistic startups — it’s people.
By Ryan Broderick, Buzzfeed
Rebecca Sedwick told her mother she loved her before going to bed that Sunday night, September 8. The next morning, the Lakeland, Fla., 12-year-old was supposed to wake up her 19-year-old sister Summer to do her hair before school. She didn’t. Normally, Rebecca would put on her school uniform, grab her cell phone, and head out the door. But on this morning, Rebecca took out her phone and cleared everything on it, deleting all of the pictures, videos, and texts. She then sent two text messages to friends who lived out of state.
“I’m jumping and I can’t take it anymore,” read one, sent to a 12-year-old boy in North Carolina. The other said, “This is my goodbye for everything.” She then changed her online username from Rebecca to “That Dead Girl” and left her phone on her bed.
At that point, Rebecca would have been running late to catch the 6:45 a.m. bus to Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, where she’d recently started. Instead, she walked down her street, a swampy side road lined with sleepy mobile homes huddled under large willow trees and dangling Spanish moss, and turned right at the peeling McDonald’s billboard advertising an Egg White Delight McMuffin. (“Great taste, all yolks aside.”)
As she walked down Main Street, her aunt drove by. She braked and asked Rebecca if she wanted a ride. Rebecca told her that she was headed to the bus stop, though she had already walked past it. She also wasn’t wearing her school uniform.
Rebecca’s aunt — her stepfather’s sister — called the girl’s mother, Tricia Norman, as she drove away. She was unnerved by what she would later describe as Rebecca’s “zombie”-like behavior. Tricia, who’d already gotten to her customer service job, didn’t answer her phone and didn’t return the missed call, figuring that if it had been an emergency, there would have been a message. [READ FULL STORY]