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Slut Shamed Teens: The Amanda Todd Story

by Sarah Devine

I have encountered several stories recently about slut-shamed teens who have taken their own lives, including Amanda Todd, who was harassed through Facebook and other social media after exposing her breasts to a much older man. Obviously, these stories highlight the continued need to address bullying and harassment–and to take it seriously, not dismissing it as a “phase” youth go through–and to teach young people how to protect themselves online (Amanda Todd’s harrasser found much of her personal information online, including where she lived and what school she attended).

Despite the internet’s centrality to many young people’s lives, some youth remain unaware of the dangers of posting personal information and photos to social networking sites–or even sending them to friends. Images and words can “live” on the internet forever, facilitating long-term bullying and harassment that the victim is powerless to escape.

Of course, there are larger concerns also, including how a 30-year-old man who could bully a 7th-grader and distribute a topless photo of her without punishment, or how she could suffer such extreme bullying at school without the intervention of parents, teachers or staff. And, perhaps largest of all, how patriarchy continues to enable slut-shaming in our society.

None of these concerns are going to disappear anytime soon, but as someone who works with teenage girls they are always present in some form or another. Many of the girls I work with can describe slut-shaming to a T, but they wouldn’t call it that. To them, it’s how life is; a girl expresses her sexuality somehow (or simply has rumors spread about her to that effect) and her peers come down hard on her with oppressive, shameful comments. I think that the first step is to help youth recognize how inappropriate and misogynistic these actions are. So may girls are growing up without a feminist vocabulary to help them make sense of the sexist and oppressive dynamics they are inevitably being exposed to at school and in the media. Here is a video of Amanda Todd made days before her suicide.

Update

To view archive visit this link: http://storify.com/SWUnited/slut-shaming-and-the-amanda-todd-story#publicize

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Written by Sarah Devin

Sarah Devine works for a domestic violence agency doing prevention education with teens.

4 posts

Hey perso Amanda is dead because of you. Isn’t it time to move on. You mention another young girl who was also screen capped….another one of your victims. You say you have over 9000 boys and girls whom you have sexually assaulted. we know who you are,

He is the one who screen capped Amanda and was so obsessed he drove her to her death and is still going after her mother. His name is fictitious and if you have his IP address, then contact me because I am now working with Carol Todd and the police to get this guy off the net. Read my reply to him to find out more.

Hey perso the pedo who was the one who capped Amanda and is so obsessed with her still you hve told her mother to go kill herself. Tick tock pedo. I have a blog with screen caps of you admitting to being perso and also to having sexually abused over 9000 boys and girls which is the number of fans you falsely claim to have on your insane psycho babble of a blog. It was not Kody. It was you. You are angry because no one figured that out but be happy because I did. You fit the pedophile stalker to a T. You lost your victim so you go after her mom. I have your real IP, have seen pics of you and have your admission so nothing you say anywhere on the net can be believed. You are using a fake name to target people. You will be stopped and our kids will be safe from you.

It appears you missed the entire point of the article completely or you’re ignoring it on purpose, where are your sources that Amanda did drugs, drank and GOD FORBID had sex? Even if it were the case, for the sake of the argument how does that make it okay for her to have hell unleashed upon her? Your statements are all basically saying that yes she was a “slut” and deserved everything that was coming to her. That’s exactly what the OP was saying, people like YOU are the problem. You’re victim blaming, slut shaming, passive aggressive misogyny is sickening and glaringly obvious. Good news is you don’t have to feel empathy for Amanda, because unlike you, there are individuals out there who have a clear, level head on this issue who can see past the smoke and mirrors of people like you Philip, I seriously hope that you don’t have any children.

I have no interest in providing a state of mind. I am only interested in what the evidence and the facts say. She was, for want of a better phrase, addicted to the Internet. She was also, mentally, very unstable. She got into drink, drugs, sex. This is not a story of old-man-predator, it’s a story of the complete failure to look after a very vulnerable child. She was crying out for help – in the video,she says she’s alone – where were the parents/carers. She enjoyed what she was doing online and got out of her depth (it reminds me slightly of the Jessie Slaughter story). If you turn it too much into a sensationalised story of online predation, or put too much emphasis on bullying, you risk, as a social worker, not seeing the underlying problems that were there. And btw – no, I’m not a pedophile, and yes, I have no empathy.

When I read your comments, my impression is not of someone who is looking at this incident as another internet viewer. You seem to be invested in providing a state of mind for a young teenager who can no longer speak for herself. Your lack of empathy for a young person who took her own life is astonishing. I have no other questions just observations. You do know this is a social work website, I analyze people motives, what’s said, and what’s not said for a living.

To a certain extent, you’ve misunderstood. If it is the 19 year old, he would possibly have still been a minor when the situation occurred. However, you have also perhaps misunderstood the story. Over a period of at least a year, Amanda Todd did live ‘shows’ voluntarily – she was not tricked, or coerced. Her photos were widely available; she was infamous online; she was mentioned on the Capper Awards. The story of her pics being distributed is, currently, not certain, and the age/existence of any online person is still vague. This is the story of parental incompetence, the dangers of BlogTV (from which she was banned) and other websites, the naivete of girls (as you have mentioned). But the ‘online predator/older man’ is a myth – she had multiple online identities (pretending to be 21 on one, 35 on another!) and gave away all her details freely – there was no need to ‘stalk’ her. She was taken off the Internet – it died down – but she went back on again and got into the same mess. I have a feeling there were no charges because there was no case – perhaps we will never know. But remember, the majority of the bullying came from kids her own age – she was hit by a girl. The majority of this story is either false (no history of moving, no one-off flash incident and so on) that it can’t really be used as a basis for anything. Please feel free to ask about anything else.

I have read your comments. However, I have a slightly different perspective. Whether it be 19 or 30, both under the eyes of the law is of adult age. She was 13/14 years old. One picture or 1,000 pictures, how does it alleviate one’s actions from spreading said photo or pictures? Because no charges were filed, does it mean in your view no wrong was committed?

Also the story of a one-off flash is wrong. There were tons of videos put out by her. Photos are available all over the internet. Most of the story is false. Please take time to research.

Please – take care. The 30 year old DOES NOT exist. This is false information put out by Anonymous at the time and has, unfortunately, become part of the story. The person you think you are talking about is 19; and there are no charges linked to the case.