Sunday, 15 January 2017

Mad world.

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.

10 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear that you have endured such traumas but also uplifted that you survived them and are not letting the heinous acts of others define your life.

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    1. Thank you! I wish all women could find the path to healing from these traumas. My hope is that in the future there will be more open discussions and support groups locally.

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  2. Our paths sound very similar. I am a survivor of sexual assault, attempted suicide twice and I choose to live. I agree with you on the video. There is a reason why when there is a suicide, they don't announce it on the news. I feel sorry for that young lady who took her life and my heart goes out to kids today. I am in a much better place today, just like you but if ever you do need to reach out, please dont be shy to contact me.

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    1. Thanks, hun! :) You're right, it's not just a matter of taste when it comes to censoring these kinds of videos. Authorities have been diligent in their efforts to remove the video from social media sites, but can you believe one hosting site refused to take it down because it didn't in fact violate it's guidelines? I'm more disgusted with social media than ever before. It's so damaging to her family, her friends; I can't even imagine the pain and trauma her classmates are enduring. It's such a sad story.

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  3. Such a devastating subject but your courage to write about it and your own personal past is great.

    What distresses me most about those constant uploads of that video is that the people uploading it do not seem to realize that it is just another way of using the girl. They strip her from her humanity and make her an 'example' or a thing to be ogled at. The people who now view the video are no better.

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    1. I absolutely detest the people who are viewing the video. They try to defend their curiosity as being simple human nature. In the comments section on a recent article, there was one woman who tried to excuse her actions because she said she thought it was a "hoax", all I could think was, you really thought it was a hoax and still felt compelled to watch a child hang themselves? Even if it was fake that's a totally messed up thing to do. I can't imagine sitting on your coffee break and thinking, "I'll just take a peek at this." It's disturbing and it is dehumanizing. She becomes a spectacle, to some perverts a joke or worse. She's no longer this little girl, plagued with sadness, one who must've had immense dreams for the future, instead she has literally become her suicide. :( It is the saddest thing I've ever heard. It makes me wish I could reach out to other little girls struggling with these problems, but because they are minors there are so many laws that protect them and it's almost to a fault. It's not like us as adults. I could attend an anonymous support group, but I don't believe children could do the same without some significant confidentiality risk involved. :(

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  4. I am so sorry to hear what you have been through! This post you wrote is very powerful and truthful! I could give you a hug right now! Keep being you! My heart goes out to this young girl and to you!!! I hate social media too!!!

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    1. Thank you! Your words of support mean a lot to me. :)

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  5. Ugh I havent heard about this yet but in my opinion things like this should not exist and i also think personal videos in whatever form of people younger than maybe 18 should not exist. I am happy that during the time I had been raped and got depressed (...) as a young girl we had no youtube thing, dunno... these days, as a grown up, it already is difficult enough to understand where your very own personal space starts and what you are willing to share (older events or current bad things...), i don't think this lovely girl was able to understand what was happening :-(

    hugs to you for being that strong person you have grown into! <3

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    1. Hugs to you too! <3 I completely know what you mean, we suffered in silence. We had no youtube, the best we had was ICQ, and it was before blogs too. I don't think these kids understand what they're doing, they almost treat youtube like it's a diary. Apparently Katelyn had posted video diaries explaining that she had been abused and nobody did a damn thing about it. That's contrary to what I always thought speaking out would accomplish. The best people could offer her is not taking action, they'd give words of sympathy maybe but friends didn't call for help, no one did anything as far as news articles have indicated. I would've tracked her ass down. I would've called social services, had someone intervene and help her. I had no idea about her video diaries, but some people *did* and I find it incredibly distressing to know that nobody took action. I see her picture every time I check on the blog and it leaves a hole inside of me. My hope is that in the future I can somehow reach out to girls like her and help them in some way.

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