Amanda Todd, the teenage girl who killed herself after prolonged bullying.
As we all know, or should be brutally aware of, is, that there are all sorts of reasons that cause people to commit suicide. Bullying of the type that Amanda experienced, and so desperately tried to talk about in the video – but sadly that went on deaf ears, to the detriment of her young life – is one major cause. There are also more insidious and deleterious ones that can have similar catastrophic consequences, but I shan’t go into them here.
My reason for pasting the picture here is because of the actual words that are written on the piece of paper. I have nobody… I need someone. 😦 They stood out so loud and clear to me like flashing-warning lights. So, it is these words I would like to concentrate on from the standpoint of survivors of industrial *schools*.
Suicide, from the perspective of survivors of industrial *schools*, is something I can talk about here. I know all about it from the angle of having being in the thick of the institutional child abuse scandal, that in the last two decades rocked the Irish nation to its very core.. It’s utterly devastating pondering on the taboo subject.
The words – I have nobody… I need someone – would have encompassed the total summing up of past lives of innumerable survivors of industrial *schools* who, like, Amanda had also chosen to commit suicide because of having nobody, and I literally mean NOBODY. Nobody in the world to depend on. Perhaps even in their entire lives before committing suicide. Nobody to run to. Nobody’s shoulder to cry on that normal people with families and friends take for granted. Nobody to feel safe with in times of strife; in times of pain; in times of loneliness; in times of despair, in times of fear, in times of trouble and in times when they felt they needed a listening ear. Their pleas also went on deaf ears, just like Amanda. They had no parents. Let alone parents to whom they could or could not confide in. No choice given them at all. The majority did not even hardly know their surnames, as they did not know their true biological identities. So, they wouldn’t really have been missed by too many people at all when they decided to commit suicide. There wouldn’t have been queues lining up to shake hands with relatives in the aftermath, as they were just mere nonentities during their lifetimes. Relatives, in the main, would have been non-existent. No genuine mourning rituals where weeping and wailing is the norm would have been afforded them. They would have gone to paupers grave with nobody to keen for their loss.
In the aftermath of the commission to inquire into institutional child abuse, there were a spate of suicides. 75 all-told committed suicide since the outset of the CICA. There have been many more since. Well, it does come with institutional industrial *school* territory. Suicide is not a phenomenon to survivors. Most survivors accept that it’s inevitably going to happen and are geared up for such sad outcomes. A lot of them would have a different concept on death, having yearned it so often in childhood in their respective institutions. Death meant freedom to a lot of them.
Apart from the anger I felt towards injustices meted out to survivors of industrial *schools* I was so cut up about all the lives that were being wasted. I decided that an outlet for me personally was to try to express in writing the anger that was bothering me. That way the demons would stay away from my door as I would be in the position of being able to fight them. I came storming on to the Internet to vent my spleen nearly seven years ago. I do wonder if those who had literacy skills to express themselves to tell of their pain would some of them be alive today?
It may come across as whining and self-absorption to outsiders who are not attuned to the psycho-social sequelae pertaining to the lives that were lived in industrial *schools*, where it was not uncommon for little children to want to die.
To the people out there in the blogosphere who cannot comprehend the sort of bullying they cause to survivors of institutional child abuse, I can give them a few examples. Stepping over them in blog conversations, because they have not got the same educational skills is one big factor, as it feeds further into the powerful negativity that they already have of themselves, that they’re lesser beings. It can cause survivors to hold unnatural longterm animosity towards those who pretend they don’t exist, because they already have had a life-time of being told they were inconsequential. The emotional consequences are far-reaching and can be exacerbated to the point that they honestly feel that the whole world is against them. They feel they are nobodies, just like Amanda, who felt “I have nobody” I need someone… Yes, one must tread very carefully, as it should be a moral duty to be all inclusive of those who have been marginalised. It is bullying of the highest order and does not serve the person who thinks they’re too grand to speak to the lesser educated, because they’ll eventually sow what they reap. Hive-minds stink. Classicism stinks. It’s hypocritical to be championing educational, humanitarian, social justice causes when you find it so difficult to chat to the uneducated classes within your midst. Survivors of industrial *schools* are not expecting to be included in academic conversations, but if they talk about stuff like child abuse, suicide, religion especially, please give them the benefit of the doubt that they may know something. They may not be able to articulate stuff as well as those who were privileged to be educated and loved by parents and the world in general. Survivors have breathed religion from their very guts every single day of their childhood incarceration. They have a concept of the harm it has done to generations and generations of Irish children.
Shunning survivors of industrial *schools* because they don’t have adequate emotional skills to handle stuff is not a very good idea either, as it also feeds into the hurt they already felt as children in their respective institutions where they were abysmally systematically shunned by adults. I don’t think shunning people by a long chalk is the correct thing to do to anyone. Yes, by all means shun bad behaviour, but, not vulnerable survivors who themselves are probably acting out because of some other things going on in their lives. Go out of your way to find out the causation factor. Survivors of industrial *schools* have written all over their foreheads that they unlovable and resultantly are deemed unlovable and unwanted by the wider world. People are generally afraid of survivors because they’re so needy and they feel that they’ve no responsibility towards them, as they’re not related or tied to them in any way. Yeah, but they were never related or tied to anyone all their young lives except to the gates of their respective hellholes. So, they see the unkindness of the world being mirrored back to them, and it brings out the need to survive albeit aggressively. The 75 and more survivors of industrial *schools* and Amanda would in all probability be still alive today if there were people who went to the very depths to find out what was bothering them. So many bullies live in denial, and like crime scenes, where those who have committed crimes are invariably on the scene to help out, and speak to the media, so too are the bullies who speak out about bullies, but, are sometimes the biggest bullies of all. I see them all the time on the Internet standing up for causes, yet they would walk right over a survivor of an industrial *school* because it appears they consider themselves superior. Think Dunning-Kruger effect. Survivors of industrial *schools* and Amanda Todd were all on their tod when the going was tough and gave up. So spare a thought the next time you find yourselves wanting to avoid those whom you consider to be lesser than yourselves, ask yourselves honestly what it is that causes you to vehemently deny the humanity of already very vulnerable beings.
*school* = euphemism for child labour camp.
Note: Firstly: am making equation here with Amanda’s words “… I have nobody… I need someone…” in relation to her being bullied and her eventual suicide. And how survivors of industrial *schools* would have been able to relate to the same words “…I have nobody “… I need someone…” because they would have resonated on their institutional lives. They too would have suffered horrendous abuse and finally committed suicide because they had nobody. Both reminders instantaneously leapt to mind when I saw the visuals Amanda was holding in her hand.
Secondly: because comparative studies is part and parcel of the Leaving Cert syllabus. I find it hard work. I don’t even know if I’m doing it correctly here. Considering the emotionality of the subject, I guess it hardly matters here.
However in making comparisons it was basically meant to touch on the words “… I have nobody… I need someone…” and bullying. Not an in-depth analysis on Amanda’s suicide. Such heartbreaking stuff. The Lord hears the cry of the poor not. However one interprets the Lord. One can link to: www.commission to inquire into institutional child abuse and the link at start of post for more details on the cause of Amanda’s untimely passing.