Something has been on my mind and I need to write about it. Below is an interview that aired on ITV’s This Morning earlier this week. Normally, I’m not a very emotional person. But every now and again, something I see or hear will have tears threatening to appear and a lump in my throat forming. This was one of those times.
Seeing both the utter devastation, and incredible strength of this woman to share the story of how she recently lost her teenage daughter to suicide, was heartbreaking to watch. This type of thing just shouldn’t be happening. Megan Evans was a fourteen year old girl, with the world at her feet, and for her to have been driven to the point of taking her own life is horrendous.
Megan was a victim of cyberbullying. Sadly, it is a story that we hear far to often these days as a recent report has found that one in ten children has experienced cyberbullying. The internet and social media are wonderful inventions, but only if they are used correctly. And they play an especially big role in the lives of teenagers. It might be easy to say get off social media if you don’t like what’s being said, but the reality is that a teen may feel they are being left on the outside looking in if they did leave.
Often we try to live by the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. But that isn’t the case. Sticks and stones will bruise or cut, but we ultimately heal. Hateful or bullying words have the ability to burrow deep , take root on a person’s soul, and change them in such a way that it is much harder to heal from it.
Megan was relentlessly subjected to vicious taunts, mocking and insults, until one girl posted a final comment that made her feel she had no other alternative than to end her life. To think of the pain that she must have felt at that point is unbearable; I cannot imagine what her family and friends are feeling. Suicide will never end that pain, it will only pass it on. The reality is that this just shouldn’t be happening. Megan should still be here, spending time with friends and making plans for her future.
I think that everybody should learn from this tragedy. Think before you hit send on something, because you just don’t know how that might affect somebody. It might end up being the last thing they ever see. That girl who sent the message to Megan, telling her she should hang herself, will have to live with the knowledge that her words have resulted in a death for the rest of her life. And that is something much, much harder than choosing to be kind to somebody
And to anybody out there who might read this, and is being bullied (especially teens), believe me when I say this…there is always somebody there who loves you, even if it feels like the world has turned it’s back. Your life will be filled with tough times, brought on by nasty people and hard situations, but you have the strength to get through it, and your life will also be filled with so much good. You have so much to offer the world, and your self-worth should never be defined by what somebody writes in 140 characters on Twitter or a post on Facebook.
This world has enough problems without us tearing each other down as well. I think this quote from the late great Maya Angelou says it all:
Let’s all just be kind to one another.