When is it time to speak up?
The news of Katelyn Nicole Davies' live-streamed suicide has spread across the world like wildfire (and sadly that includes the video in question). I'm sure many of you have heard the story by now and it's gut-wrenching to say the least. But it's not the suicide alone that has me upset, it's the fact that people are continuously circling her video in some deranged mission to "educate about suicide and abuse." It's not surprising that the majority of individuals doing so happen to be struggling with severe degrees of mental illness themselves, so they're clearly not in the right state of mind to see how fucking dangerous and exploitative this piece of film is.
Now I blog, but truth be told, I fucking hate social media and what it's done to our youth. I protest being tied in with the "millennials" because I view our generations as being entirely different. While my gen (Gen Y) has had to deal with rising un- and underemployment rates, and the perils of inflation, I can honestly say I have never worried once about cyber bullying, sexting, having my nude photos circulated as revenge porn, or feeling compelled to start a youtube channel just to feel accepted by someone; these kids have a shit load of problems. Social media is the bane of their existence and yet it's their whole world. And just think of how entirely isolating it is when a child living in this time has to deal with these social pressures on top of physical and sexual abuse!
People defend her video as a means of education and that she wanted people to see it. I have no doubt that she did want people to watch it but not in the way that everyone else thinks... I think she did it to hurt other people. It's not unlike a suicidal individual who picks up a gun and shoots everyone else before himself. It's a destructive, hateful act. She was twelve, crippled with depression and wasn't thinking clearly, but the impact of her actions has been devastating on more than just the home front. Psychologists fear the video will end up in the wrong hands and encourage suicidal youth to do the same. Anyone anywhere can search for the video, find it, and learn how to do it for themselves! It's a sick sad world.
To any asshat who ends up here defending the message of this video, take a moment to really think about how this works: by acknowledging this video as her way of speaking out and finally garnering attention, you're sending the message to other youth that the only way they'll be acknowledged is if they do the same, by committing suicide or self harming on video. The appropriate measure is to instead remove the video and generate conversation as to why suicide is WRONG. It's really that fucking simple. We need to take more active roles in preventing suicide in all ages and improving mental health. Conversation is easy, it shouldn't require the loss of a young girl to start it.
Suicide is not the answer. I'm saying this as someone who thinks about killing herself fairly often. I'm writing a screenplay/script with a suicidal protagonist, and coincidentally (in the worst possible way) I am adapting a short story into a wordless short graphic novel about a depressed teen whose been sexually abused by her step dad. No shit. Only my adaptation has a happy ending. I just wish I could have told this little girl the truth: that there's life after abuse.
Talk to me in person and I'm not overly shy about being honest with my past traumas. I've neglected to write about it here but it seems an appropriate time. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault and date rape. It does not define me. I don't let it. I used to, once upon a time. I used to have nightmares. I used to cut. I used to hate myself. And then one day I realized it's not my fault. It's not my fucking problem. Even after seeing psychologists, psychiatrists, and attending support groups, it was age and wisdom that allowed me to overcome the sadness, the anxiety and the depression that had held me down for years. I still struggle with depression but not for those reasons, and I combat an eating disorder daily, another lovely side effect of sexual abuse. But that's how I look at it. Objectively, like it was a car accident that happened so long ago. It damaged my soul but not beyond repair, never beyond repair, because I'm still here. I might have the odd nightmare once in a blue moon. I might get nervous around men at parties and watch my drink like it was my first born child. I might be suspicious and untrusting of new friends. It's just a day in the life of me.
It doesn't have to be sad anymore because I own this life and this world is my bitch.
I don't want to preach that I'm a survivor, I'm a victim, let's not take the emphasis off of blaming my attackers. We're all surviving. I'm living because I choose to live. I have surrounded myself with better people. I've adapted. If you think that there won't ever be a day where you can say the same, you're wrong. It'll take time, there's no band aid solution, but it'll happen. Like all problems, you have to stay committed to overcoming it, you have to want to change and work towards a better life. Maybe you might need medication, counselling, group therapy, or just a good friend who will listen to your problems; seek help. It's worth it. It's worth it like ice cream, or seeing a spring thunderstorm, or having someone tell you in earnest that they love you.
Stick around awhile.