On Friday a family said goodbye to their daughter at the age of just 14, something that no family should have to go through. Amy “Dolly” Everett is the girl who has been making headlines around Australia throughout the last week. She was the face of the hat company Akubra eight years ago, when she was involved in an advertising campaign. This week her face but due to some terrible news, Dolly couldn’t take the bullying anymore.
Australia’s suicide rates are high, with an estimated 3,027 people taking their own lives in 2015, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Even more horrifying is the number of suicide attempts, which averages around 65,000 per year. To put this into perspective, Footscray in Melbourne had a population of 16,000 in 2015 while Bondi in Sydney had around 10,000 people in 2016. When you compare those statistics with the attempted suicide, rate the problem is obvious.
Dolly was bullied online, like 25% of adolescence around our country. She had enough of the hate that she received and committed suicide, leaving her family fighting for awareness. It is now time for the numbers to drop, it’s time for the disrespect, the hate and the disgraceful treatment of others to STOP! A life is not a toy; it is something special that we are all lucky enough to have.
Dolly’s death has put anonymous message app ‘Sahara’ in the spotlight. Most teenagers will have heard about this app, if not used it. It can be home too disgusting messages and one mother shared a message her daughter received, “…is just a Bitch, she makes everyone hurt and I hope SHE KILLS HERSELF. Seriously no one would care.” This is one disgraceful message. This sort of targeted behaviour is what tipped Dolly over the edge, she was made to feel worthless and hated.
Dolly’s memorial service was held on Friday, attracting media attention from across the world. Her family is now standing up to the ever growing problem of online bullying, establishing a trust called ‘Dolly’s Dream.’ They want to stop other families from experiencing what they have gone through, they simply want to save lives. “It won’t bring our Dolly back, but it may just prevent the loss of another young life,” Dolly’s Dad said.
Social media has been a big talking point since Dolly’s death but it is important to stress the answer isn’t banning social media or stopping teenagers from using it. Like many platforms, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all have their downsides, but they have plenty of positives as well. The introduction of these platforms has connected the human race like never before, people just need to be educated on how to use them appropriately.
Dolly’s death has shown just how bad it can get, but we need to work out how to prevent it from happening again. Users need to be aware of the dangers, parents need to have a discussion with their children about the risks involved. When I say “discussion,” I don’t mean a lecture, rather a constructive conversation on what to do if they receive hate and negativity. I think the most important thing for parents is to establish an open relationship with their children. Being a teenager myself, I know how important it is to have someone to talk to when things aren’t so good. It can be hard for young people to open up sometimes, so understanding is needed.
The last note I want to make is the picture that Dolly drew before she passed away. The picture had the phrase, “Speak even if your voice shakes.” Obviously, the meaning of this was a challenge for Dolly and she thought there was an easier way out. This phrase is very important, especially when it comes to saying something even when you’re scared. It can also be interpreted as fighting back against the bullies which is what we need to do. It’s time for the bullying, harassment and disrespect to stop, let’s do it for Dolly.
Dolly was just 14.
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