12-year-old girl jumps to her death after online bullies urge her to kill herself
A young girl from Lakeland, Florida committed suicide by jumping from a tower, leaving hundreds of family members and friends in mourning. Despite getting help from her mother as well as a counselor--which included transferring schools--Rebecca Ann Sedwick continued to be mercilessly bullied and ultimately gave up the fight. "She appeared to be beat down. She appeared to have a defeatist attitude," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
That's not even the worst part: What drove poor Rebecca to her death will shock you.
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The teen just stopped fighting after being bullied by as many as 15 of her peers over the past two years
Tricia Norman, Rebecca's mother, says that in the past her daughter had told her everything that was going, and she believed that everything was under control after confiscating Rebecca's cell phone, monitoring her online accounts and removing her from the school where she initially encountered the bullies.
However, since her death, investigators have discovered that the girls involved had continued to taunt and harass Rebecca via social media accounts on Kik Messenger, Instagram and Ask.fm, that Norman was unaware of.
One of the most startling messages Rebecca received read: "You haven't killed yourself yet. Go jump off of a building," Norman told reporters. "She put on a perfect, happy face. She never told me," Norman told a local newspaper.
Many of Rebecca's teenage friends--some of whom had received online goodbye messages from her before she committed suiced--arrived at her funeral wearing bright green anti-bullying T-shirts. Authorities are currently trying to figure out whether cyber-bullying charges can be filed, and Rebecca's mother has launched an anti-bullying Facebook page which now has nearly 8,000 likes.
As a mother, this tragedy of inhumanity deeply saddens me. As parents we must be vigilant not only about protecting our children from bullies, but about ensuring that our kids are not the ones doing the bullying. Someone has to take responsibility for the damage that is being done, and I firmly believe it starts in the home.
In the words of young Rebecca: "Every day more and more kids kill themselves because of bullying. How many lives have to be lost until people realize words do matter."
Image via Facebook