Amanda Todd met an online sexual predator her 7th grade year. He coerced her into flashing him on camera. That man, unknown to her, then found her on Facebook and sent the photograph to all her contacts. Bullying from her classmates ensued. You can imagine what they called Amanda and how they treated her.
She switched schools trying to start fresh. Her predator followed her, stalking her through cyberspace. On October 10th, Amanda committed suicide at age 15.
Today, an organized and subversive group of hackers known as Anonymous hunted down the 30-year old man who stalked Amanda and revealed his identity and address to the world in a chilling video. The video was taken down this evening (perhaps they fear more vigilantism or even idolization within the accused’s “community”) but below is an image of the broadcast.
At the end of the tape, the masked man says:
“We Are Anonymous.
We Are Legion.
We Do Not Forget.
We Do Not Forgive.
Anonymous did what they could to right this wrong. They have a special skill to contribute. What about the rest of us?
I think it starts here. Don’t let your kids “slut shame” other girls. This cyberbully’s power multiplied when he enlisted the online help of teenage minions to do his dirty work for him. Would your kids have ignored Amanda, moved seats in the cafeteria, or called her names once they saw the photo? Kids pick up on our value meters in these situations. If they hear you comment on a woman’s skimpy outfit, they get that it’s ok to make character judgements this way. Maybe Amanda was hurting long before she flashed the camera or maybe she just made an impulsive decision the way teens sometimes do. Who are we to judge? Easy to say now that she’s gone. Let’s remember that the next time our kids tell us a girl at school is fast, loose, easy, or a slut.
Who are we to judge?