A Vancouver-area teen who used YouTube to share her heart-wrenching story of being bullied online and beaten at school has killed herself, unleashing a torrent of social media condolences and soul-searching.
Amanda Todd was found dead in Coquitlam on Wednesday night, less than a month before her 16th birthday.
News of her torment and death are being shared on social media through Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, where #RIPAmanda is trending.
"I'm saddened to see that this was the only [way] this young girl could escape such torment. May she rest in peace," posted one woman on Facebook.
Last month, Todd posted a nine-minute video on Youtube featuring her holding up cue cards that chronicled the cyber-bullying and cruelty she suffered, despite changing schools and cities.
In the video, the teen reveals she started doing webcam chats with her friends to meet new people when she was in Grade 7. One day, she agreed to flash someone on a whim.
A year later, a male contacted her on Facebook threatening to circulate an explicit photo if she didn't "put on a show." Todd says the male knew her address, school and names of her family and friends. A few months later, police arrived to tell her that the explicit photo was sent to "everyone."
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A Facebook post from <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151108737498527&set=pb.245559443526.-2207520000.1349995284&type=1&theater">G Force Gym - Home of the Vancouver All Stars</a>: "Today we feel the loss of our former VAS family member Amanda... I ask that we all watch her video and share her story so that her loss is not in vain. Allow this to be her legacy... Allow us all to look around & find the next Amanda before another precious spunky teenager is lost. We have a responsibility today... Is there a kid in your school that made a mistake and is being shunned? Your challenge is to be a LEADER ... Be the Game Changers you are and sit with them today... reach out... smile... let them know that they are NOT alone in this harsh world. It's always EASY to do the EASY thing; we teach you to NOT do what is easy and instead, do what is right!! You will be surprised, how many people will follow YOU when you stick up for what is Right and honorable AND, forgiving those that have made mistakes in their YOUTH is the RIGHT thing to do!! Please share Amands's Story... SHARE IT & LIVE IT!"
That sent Todd into panic attacks, anxiety and depression. She changed schools and experimented with drugs and alcohol.
One year later, she says the male created a Facebook page and featured the explicit photo of her. "Cried every night, lost all my friends and respect," reads one index card Todd holds in the video. She says she started cutting herself.
Todd moved schools again and things were improving – until she began texting with a former male friend. Their relationship culminates in a schoolyard fight where Todd is punched several times by the boy's girlfriend.
Todd reveals she tried to kill herself by drinking bleach and overdosing on anti-depressants after the torment continued on Facebook despite her changing schools and cities again.
The description that Todd posted with her YouTube video is haunting:
I'm struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I'm not doing this for attention. I'm doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I'd rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don't hate, although im sure I'll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I'm still here aren't I?
The Vancouver Sun reports that Todd went to school in Maple Ridge and then Coquitlam.
RCMP in Maple Ridge told CKNW their school liaison officer had previously directed Todd to support services.
Coquitlam RCMP said they were called to a Port Coquitlam home on Wednesday evening for the "sudden death of a teenager." The death is not considered suspicious, said police, adding that the family does not want to speak publicly.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark posted a short YouTube video in response to Todd's death on Thursday, stating that no one deserves to be bullied, and all kids should feel safe in school.
Last month, Todd also posted a presentation on how to deal with online bullying on Prezi, where she urged people to stand up to bullies:
Are you in crisis? Need help? In Canada, find links and numbers to 24-hour suicide crisis lines in your province here.
"I’m sorry I didn’t see the signs before it happened. I’m sorry no one was there for you, or protected you from the vicious world that hurt you so much, it drove you to take your own life. I want you to know, that even though I didn’t know you well, you’re in my heart. You will always be that girl I could relate to, who was the new girl with me. -- Chloe posted on Tumblr
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