11-year-old Bethany Thompson was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was three and had been cancer-free since she was eight years old. The treatments she received caused nerve damage, leaving her with a 'crooked' smile, paralysing half her face. That, and her curly hair, led to bullying, says Wendy Feucht, her mother.
Before killing herself, Bethany confided in her best friend that she couldn't take the bullying anymore and said she was going to take her life. On that same afternoon on October 19, Bethany shot herself with a gun kept in her house. It is not known if the gun was securely locked away or if Bethany had easy access to it.
The school where Bethany attended was aware of the bullying and Wendy had spoken to the principal of the school regarding the issue just days before. This systemic and on-going problem is one that plagues not only our friends in the West but is an ever-present cloud hanging over schools here as well. With the rise of social media, words are so easily thrown about.
If you've been harrassed before and need some help, we wrote an article about cyber-bullying
and spoke to hip-hop artist Caprice about it. The artist had been campaigning about this issue for a while and we got his insights into the problem. You can also watch this Ted Talk entitled "4 Things To Do About Haters" here:
In the video, former contestant on Asia's Next Top Model
, Melissa Th'ng, tells her method for dealing with haters in a talk to college students at INTI. Don't suffer in silence. If you're a victim of bullying, reach out to someone. Stand up against it.