Life

Wednesday 18 July 2018

'Kids from all different schools were calling her a slut, wh**e, disgusting' - Irish mum says 'ostracised' teen getting 'upwards of 50 messages a day' taunting her

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Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A heartbroken Irish mother has shared her daughter’s story of cyberbullying on Facebook in order to save her life.

The Munster-based mother detailed on Monday the sheer hell that her daughter has been enduring over the past year.

The 17-year-old was getting “upwards” of 50 messages a day from schoolchildren telling her “to kill herself, calling her slut, whore, disgusting”.

The cyber bullying started when the teenager was tagged in a video with a dog which wrongfully tagged her as the girl in the video.

Her “only crime”, her mother says, is that she kissed the ex of a girl who wanted revenge.

The concerned mum has said she felt compelled to tell her story so publicly because her daughter had tried to take her own life.

“As you are all aware suicide in Ireland is an epidemic at the moment, and suicide among teens from online bullying is something we should never see.”

“I can't help thinking of the parents of children who have committed suicide from bullying and wondering whether they were even aware it was going on, and whether they felt they had done enough to try stop it. That's the reason I'm posting such sensitive details of what is going on for my daughter right now.”

“It’s been going on over a year. It all started with a video involving a dog shared online by a girl who named [her] as the person in the video. [My daughter’s] only crime was she kissed the girl’s ex and this girl wanted revenge.”

“[My daughter] was getting upwards of 50 messages a day from kids from all different schools around Limerick telling her to kill herself, calling her slut, whore, disgusting and she attempted suicide to get away from the constant torment and abuse. Thankfully she was unsuccessful but ended up in hospital.”

“She was being sent the video by numerous people and was even followed around town by the said girl and her friends attempting to attack her.”

Friends in her own school slowly started to ignore her, and she felt “ostracised”, the mother says.

“She was being called whore and barked at in the street by complete strangers and it was even done in front of me when she was representing the school in UL for athletics by a kid from another school. Kids can be so cruel and nasty.”

“The rumour and video got into her school and instead of supporting her and telling her to ignore it, her so called friends ostracised her, ignoring her and walking away from her when she approached. The kids in her school at the time did not share the video or message nastily, just ignored her. She attempted suicide again and had a breakdown after, refusing to go back to the school and wouldn't even get out of bed for weeks.”

Even when the family thought the ordeal was over, the video was once again posted on Snapchat.

“Things seemed to have blown over recently until last night the same girl posted the video as her snapchat story falsely naming [her] as the girl in the video. [My daughter] was inundated with messages again telling her to kill herself and calling her whore, slut. No one will understand fear until you wake up to your teen screaming from inability to cope with online bullying coming in through their phone into what should be the safety of their own home.”

“This is going on for [my daughter] as I write this. She woke up to 57 Facebook friend requests from teens wanting to taunt her and call her names. Numerous kids shared the video as their snapchat story. What is wrong with teens these days? No empathy. So cruel.”

“Maybe they don't understand the damage they're doing from behind a laptop, tablet or phone. Maybe if this post is shared and awareness is created of the effects it has on the victim of online bullying, it will stop for her and others. Maybe their parents will see the post and question them if they are involved.”

The Limerick mother said she lay beside her daughter at night because she was so afraid to leave her on her own.

“I will not lose my child because of online bullying. I will fight it. I lay beside her last night as she slept frightened to close my eyes in case I lost her.”

“To the teenagers reading this who messaged her or shared the video, think before you do that to anyone. Don't always believe what people tell you. That is not [my daughter] in that video, she is disgusted by it. [My daughter] needs kindness and empathy right now.”

“To [my daughter] you are a kind soul, beautiful inside and out and I am so proud of you. Be strong. You've your whole life ahead of you. Please share,” the mother wrote on Facebook.

One day later, on her daughter's 17th birthday, the mother thanked people all over the world who had shared her Facebook post over 10,000 times.

"Look how much support you are getting from around the world from people who are putting a protective shield around you, saying NO, THIS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED to the bullies," the mother told her daughter.

"To all my friends and family who commented on and shared the post, I thank you so much. You have changed [her] life as she now has people besides Nick, the rest of her family and I telling her the bullies are wrong, her life is worth more than letting the bullies win, and she sees she has people behind her from all over the world sharing their stories with her. Thank you xx"

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