Friday, 15 November 2013
This should be important to everyone
Today's blog is about a name that is big in Australia right now.
Chloe was a typical 15yr old. She loved taking selfies, talking about boys and make-up. She never got the chance to grow up and do all those things that people should experience in life - love, marriage, children, a job. She had aspirations to become a hairdresser or a beautician and always took immaculate care of her appearance.
Chloe lost her mother to breast cancer in 2006 and, as if that wasn't hard enough, Chloe was abused, tortured and assaulted for years at school and online, by her peers.
These children will get off lightly, because, in the eyes of the law, while what they did was morally wrong, it was not illegal.
Taken from The Mercury:
"We could not believe that the girl we knew as so happy, confident and compassionate could be seen as otherwise by anyone else. We were horrified," said Chloe's oldest sister, Cassie Whitehill, 30.In the days before the tragedy Chloe caught the bus into town after school, as she did every weekday.
Ms Whitehill said two people were waiting for Chloe at the bus mall.
She was king-hit from behind, kicked, and the assault filmed on a phone camera by the attacker's accomplice.
Ms Whitehill said the video was posted on Facebook that night. It has since been removed.
Two days after the attack, Chloe was found in her room after taking her own life.
"I got a phone call and it was a big, massive shock. No one saw it coming. I saw her a couple of days before and she was her usual, happy self," Ms Whitehill said.
The assault and video were reported to police on Monday.
Chloe's family is distraught and in shock.
"She was a bright, intelligent girl. Always happy and confident and never really let anything, that we knew of, worry her," Ms Whitehill said.
She moved schools in the middle of last year after being bullied at her previous school.
"She was getting picked on for absolutely horrible things, like not having a mother ... it was awful," Ms Whitehill said.
"We saw the principal and spoke to him about it. He said he would look into it, and keep an eye out. But the bullying kept happening.
"We knew it was an issue at the new school but thought it wasn't as bad as at her previous school."
Ms Whitehill said the bullying took a number of forms.
"There was physical bullying. She was assaulted ... obviously there was name calling, mental stuff and the cyber bullying was the big one."
Ms Whitehill said she was shocked to discover that although bullying is illegal, there are no formal anti-bullying laws in any Australian state except Victoria.
"I have made a promise to myself and Chloe that I will make these laws recognised in every Australian state and territory," she said.
"It may not bring her back but it may save the life of another victim of bullying one day and her suicide will have not been in vain."
Unfortunately, Chloe was not the first, and will not be the last person who has been affected by bullying to the extent of taking their own life.
In a time when we have children feeling like they have no other choice but to take their own lives, something is wrong. In a time when people are getting away with making each other feel so badly that THIS is the action they take to make it stop, humanity needs a wake up call.
I was bullied in school, high school and primary school, and teachers didn't have the power to stop it then, and they have even less power now.
My eldest daughter is 7 years old, and she's just starting to get picked on and bullied, and her school does nothing. Parents need to pay attention and put a stop to their children's behavior, schools need to treat all reports of bullying seriously, and police need to be called and also treat it seriously.
It's not a matter of kids being kids. It's not something that is going to make them stronger or better people.
Bullying kills. Bullies are murderers.
Say NO to bullying.
Chloe's sister has started a petition to change the laws so our children are better protected against bullies.
Sign it here.
Want to see Chloe's story?
See it here.
If you are feeling distressed, talk to someone you trust or call one of the following free 24/7 crisis support services
Ø Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Ø Lifeline: 13 11 14
Ø Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Ø Online & telephone counseling for young people is available via headspace.org.au or call 1800 650 890
Ø ReachOut.com www.reachout.com
*Pictures from Chloe's Law facebook page.*