Original release: September 7th, 2012
Running time: 9 minutes
Country of origin: Canada
Made by and featuring: Amanda Todd
What is it like to be bullied? Many of us have experienced bullying before, either at school, sometimes as work, or even at home. We know then what it’s like to wake up in the morning and not want to face the day ahead, to think of excuses and to come up with plans to avoid doing certain things if it’ll help us avoid that encounter. We know the dread and fear and the anger that builds inside, threatening to swallow our light. We know what it’s like to rest our heads at night and not fall asleep at all because our minds are filled with worry that tomorrow we’ll have to go through it all again.
For all what we know about what being bullied feels like, how many of us can put ourselves in Amanda Todd’s shoes and say we know what her life was like? Not many. The bullying we experience eventually ends either through intervention, standing up for ourselves or other external causes. They don’t end because we decide to take our own lives, and this is what makes her story different.
I was shocked and appalled when I first read the news about her, and in my mind I kept thinking why didn’t anyone see the signs that this child was in terrible trouble and so desperately needed help? Not a single one of her so-called friends stood by her. Is it just a sign of the times we live in – the age of communication – that Amanda Todd could’ve reach out to so many people via social networking and still meet such a sad end? The 15-year-old Canadian teenager posted a black and white video on her Youtube channel on September 7th 2012 and in it she uses flashcards to describe the bullying and blackmailing she’d been experiencing both on and offline.
Amanda then goes on to tell us that over the Christmas break there was a knock on her door at four in the morning. It was the police. Her picture was sent to everyone. As a result of this news Amanda started to suffer from depression and panic attacks that got so bad she was unable to leave her home – she began drinking and taking drugs as a way to cope. Eventually her family relocated with her but the story doesn’t end there.
As she took to cutting herself, her family moved her to a different school again and though she says things were ok, she was still terribly lonely. That’s when she hooked up with an older guy who had a girlfriend and she confesses this was a huge mistake. He led her on and made her believe he liked her. At school he came with his girlfriend and fifteen other kids and told her no one liked her. It was in front of fifty other kids and they were egging the others on to punch her. His girlfriend threw her to the ground and punched her several times.
Watching the video it’s hard to imagine the scope of what this girl went through in her short life; how frightened, confused and alone she must’ve felt with no one to turn to. While it’s easy to criticise her and say she lacked self esteem, was one of these teenage girls who needed compliments on her looks to feel any self worth or was a victim of Facebook’s ever changing privacy settings where users are constantly losing control of information once its shared, we don’t really know what it was like to be here, which is why she made the video. In the description she states:
Within a few weeks it went viral, and so far it’s received over five million views, but after several attempts, which included drinking bleach and overdosing on pills, Amanda was found dead at her home on October 10th, 2012. There are now dozens of fanpages on Facebook dedicated to her memory and the internet hacking and activist group Anonymous has identified 32-year-old Kody Maxson as Amanda stalker and bully, but what remains is a clear message of one girl’s heartbreaking struggle and cry for help, and that as a society, no matter how young or old we are, there’s no excuse for what she had to endure from those around her.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .