Amanda Todd: A Teen’s Take

Recently, a 16 year old girl from Canada named Amanda Todd committed suicide. Posthumously, she has become a figure head for a protest against “cyber bullying”. Frankly, I have been outraged too. But not at this supposed case of “bullying”. rather, I’m appalled at this blatantly stupid, misinformed, biased and bluntly idiotic appropriation of Amanda’s death to “cyber bullying”

Here’s the history of the case in a brief summary: When she was in the seventh grade, Amanda started using online forums and social networks to make new friends and chat with them(sometimes via web cameras). On one occasion, a stranger asked her to, in her words, and I quote “flash” (common euphemism for displaying breasts publicly) during their video chats and she did. He apparently snapped a picture. A year later, someone messaged her on Facebook and asked her, and again in her own words and I quote, “to put on a show”(common euphemism for getting naked publicly or privately for a person or a group of people). When she refused, he began blackmailing her by threatening to reveal those photos to her friends, kith and kin. However, she ignored this. That Christmas, the police informed her that photographs of her breasts were being circulated. Grief struck, she and her family decided to shift homes. Due to the incessant taunts and insults from the locale, she suffered from major anxiety, panic and depression disorder. As a resulting co factor  she took to drugs, alcohol and became what we call in popular lingo “emo” i.e. someone way obsessed with dark thoughts and a believer in self harm as a way of penance or sadistic pleasure. Sadly, the guy still didn’t leave her alone and a year later, he made a Facebook page with the a picture of her breasts as the profile picture. As a result, Amanda again changed her school.

Moving on with life, Ms.Todd got acquainted with an “old guy friend” (sic) who became close to her over text messaging. Over those messages, she learnt that he had a girlfriend. One fine day, he asked her to come over and “do it” (I sincerely hope I don’t have to explain that, yet I will. It means “to have sex”) when his girlfriend was on a vacation. Amanda did go to his place and yes, they did have sexual intercourse. A week later, the boy’s girlfriend, her friends and the boy himself accosted her. They verbally abused her, shouted derogatory comments and punched her. After this incident, Amanda attempted suicide by drinking bleach but she survived due to some excellent treatment at a nearby hospital. When she returned home, and found people posting abusive messages on her Facebook profile. After this, she changed her house again. A few months later, she was still depressed as her supposed friends were tagging her in insulting pictures and posts. This resulted in her switching to anti-depressants and therapy. On 10th October 2012, she was found dead. The circumstances and mode of her death are not yet revealed to the general populace but it was confirmed as suicide.

Now coming to my point and questions. Social media and the massive World Wide Web have spun this matter in a campaign against cyber bullying by using a video Amanda made to highlight her story. Not that I support cyber bullying but I’m honestly disgusted at the misappropriation and slander done by this campaign. Somehow, Amanda has emerged as an innocent girl who was purely angelic and suffered due to Satan’s evil doings. This is a complete and blatant lie.

Firstly, any seventh grader worldwide would be of the age of 12. What was Amanda doing on web chats or social networks? Most of them have a minimum age requirement starting from 13. Second: if she was a happy young girl, what was she doing talking to strangers? All websites have huge disclaimers and security suggestions clearly highlighting the dangers of interacting with strangers. She obviously ignored it. Also, I’m given to understand that by seventh grade; almost all children have received either the “birds and bees” talk or professional workshops or seminars to introduce them to sexuality. It was highly idiotic and excuse me for being stereotypic, but extremely “blonde” of her to show her breasts to an unknown person that too over a video chat! Being a teenager myself and an active user of the internet, I regard this as a violation of the dumbest of common senses. People may create an outcry by saying “the man charmed her into doing that”. To them all I say is “Listen. If some random stranger asks me to get half naked, even a small little kid would have the sense to say “Bitch Please””. Moving on to her embracing the world of drugs and alcohol. Again, idiotic. I know people my age who have suffered from actual molestation and are strong teetotallers. All teenagers suffer at some point in their life (sometimes multiple points) suffer from anxiety, panic or depression disorders. It is no reason to knock back some Tequila shots or smoke up weed. Personally speaking, I have survived some major depression without a drop of alcohol or drugs. Sure, it took me a psychiatrist, but I did. Also, as referenced earlier, teenagers collectively look down upon “emo” acts. Every human being in the world has the basic intelligence to know that cutting one up or self injury is not the solution to anything. I have gone through the “emo” phase myself but I had the common sense to realize that it was wrong.

Next, highlighting the next major “tragedy”; sex with a boy who already has a girlfriend. First of all, she committed a CRIME as she had underage sexual intercourse. She was not 16 when she had sex is a fact for the whole world to see. Secondly, I’m given to understand that girls share an innate bond and sense of “sisterhood”( All guys, “Bros before Hoes”). It is simply stupid to say that Amanda was the victim. She had sexual intercourse with a guy she knew was in a relationship. That actually raises some very odd points about Amanda herself. I accept that the guy’s girlfriend was a bit out of line legally to assault her, but I’ll simply call you stupid if you say that you don’t understand why she was livid. What did Amanda expect? The girl would come and hug her? Moving on to her being depressed from seeing posts and getting tagged in pictures. The first thing Facebook teaches you about is the UNFRIEND option. If she wanted to move on, why was she still connected to her so called friends whom she wanted to forget?

I sincerely apologize for the rhetoric but my point lies in the fact that Amanda always had a choice. In the first incident as well as the second, Amanda was partially at fault too. Also, I want to tell everyone shouting the term “Cyber Bullying” that in both cases, Amanda was not the one who was coerced initially. She always had the chance to back out. I in no way endorse the actions of the stranger or the group of people who beat her up but I do wish to make it clear that I believe that Amanda wasn’t the innocent angel as she is portrayed. I so don’t want to say that she asked for the trouble, but in reality she did. I mean sending a picture of your breasts to a stranger and having sex with a guy who already is in a relationship is not a “good cause” is it?

Social media is expanding at a mega-exponential rate. Nearly 1/7th of the world’s population is on Facebook. Miscreants and disgusting pigs have found new ways of destroying lives. Amanda was the victim and deserves sympathy. But at the same time, she serves as an example to everyone out their. To sum it up, all I’ll say is this. I have a 12 year old sister who reaches the age requirement for Facebook next year. This could easily have been her. A suggestion to all readers. Log on to your social networking accounts and make it secure. Don’t talk to strangers online and never stop standing up for people. As Che Guevara said in his parting words to his children, “Above all, always be capable of feeling injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. This is the most beautiful quality in a revolutionary.”

The Video Amanda Uploaded

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6 comments on “Amanda Todd: A Teen’s Take

  1. I agree with you… In fact I was wondering why everyone was sympathizing with her… I mean yes, maybe she was wronged in some ways, but mostly she called it on herself..

    A strong post Sid .. good stuff!

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  2. Agree, everyone is responsible for oneself. One should know where to draw the line. Suicide is escapism…If she felt injustice was meted out to her, she should have fought against it. But she knew she was guilty. Facebook or any social media can turn a monster if not handled carefully.

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  3. @Confused Soul : Thanks so much!

    My point exactly! She's not the angel everyone portrays her to be

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  4. Yes Meenakshi! Glad more people see sense in my point 🙂

    Like

  5. Well look at it like this… Sid
    We all make mistakes and none of us are perfect.
    You raised some serious points like :
    she was 12 and should not have been on the web chats .. be honest to your self .. you too have at some point done something that was not right .. like had an orkut account… driven a car or a bike before you had a license .. visited or watched a porn site/ adult movie.. done some thing and I am sure something that you knw be honest something you did was not supposed to be done but you did it … she did it too… the only difference you were protected or were lucky enough to have not taken a wrong way or made a mistake or caught doing so…
    She made a mistake.. we are unaware of the situations where by she made friends with that anonymous person and flashed her self ( her mistake ) I agree she was wrong.
    But then do you realise the constant fear she might have been under the time she was being blackmailed to give him a show ….
    She dint make that mistake and consequence was a viral spreading of her picture … Did she deserve that ..??? may be yes cuz she made a mistake… may be no as it was cruel
    Then she was bullied … imagine walking the hallway of your school and being called a slut, guys asking you things like for how much… people looking at you with dirty eyes… saying things .. put your self in her shoes..
    Being relocated, heart broken and depressed.. wanting someone to just come up to you and hug you and say … Its all right what ever happened was just a thing of the past… I am there for you now.. the need for someone like that was of desperation… Its the same thing like if u failed in an exam and hoped every one just stopped asking you what your result was .. and some one just saying its just one more opportunity to do it better this time..

    Amidst all that desperation she found someone who said he liked her … they had an interaction for some time and felt that there was that guy who would hold her through this .. but turns out he lust wants to have fun with a depressed girl have her like a trophy.. She makes a mistake..??? is it her mistake..??? U and me or no one is aware of how promising the conversations between her and that guy might have been that she was led to believe that he loved her … just think …

    And then being insulted in front of the school .. being joked about.. tormented .. being followed on social networking sites .. being teased … cuz u attempted suicide…

    try to lock your self inside of your house under the fear of being made fun of for an year… cuz if you step out everyone is ready to eat you raw..

    You think she could have fought it ….? I am sure she tried… and failed … thats when she accepted to give up .. the video was an attempt to fight… a request to people to stop chasing her like hounds… that was her last fight…

    I don't want to debate or hurt your opinion .. I am glad you expressed it .. but as a fellow blogger and an older (by age) friend would like to see a post where by you where you try to put your self in her shoes … see both sides of the standing coin and serve them justice…

    May be this was not a case of Cyber bullying but was definitely a case of social bullying.

    to err is human.. but can't we just forgive and give people a second chance..

    I am open for discussion .. Message me on Facebook if you feel like would love to have a chat 🙂 Cheers keep blogging and keep widening the horizon of your thinking with every passing moment as you grow… wish you enlightenment and a broad minded school of thought .. 🙂

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  6. Finally! Finally, someone who is echoing exactly what was in my mind. The situation here, in India is such that if a girl is being wronged and you try to say, “She invited it upon herself.” .. you are part of a Khap.
    Jokes apart, I don't say she invited it on herself, but what were her parents doing. 12 yr olds today are smarter than what we used to be, but how much? they still need parental guidance! When they knew their kid was doing the forbidden, why didn't they counsel and monitor her! Yes, she didn't deserve to die, but it's time parents and teens act responsible and learn from this. And we need to remember, every one who is suffering is not a vitim.

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