Cybersexual Violence Series Part 1: Amanda Todd and Why We Need to Quit Calling it (Cyber)bullying

Roxanne May

Amanda Todd: November 27th 1996-October 10 2012

Amanda Todd: November 27th 1996-October 10 2012 (WikiCommons)

 An Introduction to the series: 

This series examines the deployment of sexual violence online—referred to in this article as (cyber)sexual violence—and its misrepresentation in mass- and social-media through an intersectional analysis highlighting the roles of sexism, racism and ageism in the production of sexual violence in online spaces.

Part I examines the hyper-publicized suicide of Amanda Todd in which the Internet served three functions:  a battleground between her and her abusers (peers and pedophiles alike); a tool and location through which Amanda could articulate her struggle in a YouTube video; the primary location through which her suicide and exploitation could be exposed to the world.

Part II focuses on the suicide of Felicia Garcia and outlines the commonalities and divergences in mass- and social-media’s approaches to this tragedy, juxtaposing her representation with that of Amber Cole’s.  Part II also examines the role of racism in the portrayal of young female victims of (cyber)sexual violence.

Part III moves away from the media and analyzes another facet of how the ageism/sexism cocktail manifests itself: the “Respect Yourself” campaign, an extremely problematic youth-aimed programme injected into schools with the goal of teaching potential victims to avoid being victimized. Part III also contains a brief conclusion.

Roxanne May would like to thank Kim Katrin Crosby, Renleigh Spencer and a friend of Felicia’s for their valuable encouragement and feedback on this piece.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Part I: Amanda Todd & Why We Need To Quit Calling it (Cyber)bullying

Four months ago, 15-year old Amanda Todd of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, hung herself, just one month after posting a video entitled “My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide and self harm”.

The 9-minute black-&-white clip featured Todd holding up a series of flashcards in which she relayed her heartbreaking struggles against the intense backlash that followed the unauthorized distribution of sexually explicit pictures that she had sent an online friend. This backlash included several defamatory Facebook pages featuring sexually explicit photos, as well as consistent emotional abuse on- and off-line that Todd was unable to escape, despite moving schools three times. Amanda confessed that this treatment culminated in her first suicide attempt wherein she ingested bleach, and was taken to the hospital to be “flushed out.” Her peers reacted by mocking her online for not having succeeded in her attempt. In fact, a Facebook page entitled “RIP Bleach Consumed by Amanda Todd” was still active weeks after Todd’s eventual death.

The daunting power of social media, so instrumental in breaking this young woman down, became the means by which her story went viral after her death: mirrored videos of “My Story: Struggling, Bullying, Suicide and Self Harm” have garnered over 20 million views on YouTube, the “RIP Amanda Todd” Facebook page currently has over 351 thousand “likes,” and is becoming the 6th most popular trending topic on Twitter just two days after her death.

Traditional mass media, of course, also flocked to this story. Though there are notable exceptions, the dominant angle quickly became evident with headlines proclaiming, “Port Coquitlam teen driven to death by cyberbullying,” “Amanda Todd tragedy highlights how social media makes bullying inescapable,” and “Vancouver area teen kills herself after posting YouTube video about her being bullied.”

Indeed, the attention ultimately culminated in an anti-bullying forum held by BC Premier Christy Clark in November.

“Bullies need oxygen, and their oxygen is attention. And if we don’t give them attention or if we give them negative attention and we call them out on what they’re doing, they won’t do it. And we can save other potential victims out there,” she told the Vancouver Sun.

It’s worth nothing that October 2012 was “Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month,” providing a ready-made, youth-centered context that amplified the relevance of Amanda Todd’s story to politicians and the media, and strengthened its viral presence in popular discourse. That being said, the media and British Columbian government’s decisions to reduce Amanda Todd’s suicide to a case study on the effects of what the Vancouver Sun calls “an insidious extension of… schoolyard bullying” erases the accountability of a society which, across all age groups, is deeply lacking in a sincere, widespread, uncompromising valuing of sexual consent. Combined with a culture of deep disdain towards the sexual agency of women, this ethical void produces the circumstances in which tragedies like Amanda Todd’s and Felicia Garcia’s are bound to happen.

These attitudes—that may take the form of  “slut-”shaming, or expressing hostility, disdain or judgement based on perceived sexual “promiscuity”—are expressed in and through online mass- and social media. They are both reflected and reproduced in the societies and cultures that consume them. Again, people of all ages—from young teens bashing Todd and Garcia on Tumblr to the creators of “slut”-shaming programmes such as “Respect Yourself”—participate in this process.

However, in misrepresenting this violence as “bullying,” the politics of sexism and racism are conveniently erased, instead promoting a narrative that absolves non-youth of responsibility in producing the conditions in which (cyber)sexual violence proliferates.

In short, (cyber)sexual violence is not a “youth” problem, an “Internet generation” problem or a “bullying” problem, nor is its misrepresentation in online mass- and social-media properly explained through common narratives against (often racialized) “slut”-shaming. Rather, its prevalence and misrepresentation is the result of a disastrous intersection of sexism, racism and ageism.

While this last term is more often associated with the systematic and institutionalized discrimination against elderly people, many activists fighting against ageism acknowledge that it also affects youth because they are as well excluded from the capitalist workforce, including mass-media. It’s time that we, as the young adults most affected by (cyber)sexual violence, speak back to this harmful discourse. But first, let’s examine Amanda Todd’s own take on the events precipitating her suicide.

Amanda’s Suicide: Blame “Bullying”?

In the 9-minute long, black-&-white video Amanda posted online just weeks before her death, she didn’t speak. Instead, she held up flashcards detailing her ordeal: “I got a msg on facebook… Don’t know how he knew me… It said… If you don’t put on a show I will send ur boobs… Christmas break, knock on my door at 4am… It was the police… my photo was sent to everyone.” A year later, this same person created a Facebook page featuring her naked breasts as the profile picture, and added all her peers at the school she transferred to in order to escape the impact of the initial violation. “[I] cried every night, lost all my friends and respect people had for me… again… then nobody liked me…name-calling, judged…” Amanda hooked up with “an old guy friend” who then stood by and watched, presumably unharmed, as his girlfriend humiliated and beat Amanda in front of her third school. After her father found her lying alone, hurt and freezing in a ditch nearby, he drove her home. It was then that Amanda drank a bottle of bleach. Subsequent to being treated in an emergency room, Amanda described the ways in which her peers degraded her online: “ ‘she deserved it… I hope shes dead…6 months has gone by… she should try a different bleach… I hope she dies this time and isn’t so stupid’. ” They also tagged her name on Facebook to pictures of bleach, chlorine and ditches.

There’s no doubt that the “name-calling,” “being judged,” and public beating were highlighted as the media’s focal points of Amanda being “bullied,” a term used by the young woman herself. However, there’s also an abundance of events and factors leading up to Amanda Todd’s suicide that would best be described as “sexual violence.”

The still unidentified  pedophile person first sexually exploited Amanda when he manipulated her into sending him pictures and webcam footage of her bared breasts – legally defined as child pornography given Amanda’s age – and later attempted to use these images as leverage to coerce her into “putting on a show.” When she refused, he violated her yet again in posting these pictures on Facebook against her will. Finally, though a high school-aged youth does not quite possess the maturity and status of power necessary to be held accountable as an adult perpetrator, it still stands that every single adolescent who knowingly accessed, promoted and redistributed sexually explicit photos of Amanda Todd is nevertheless guilty of additional acts of sexual exploitation.

It is clear that much of the "bullying" faced by girls is highly inflected with gendered expectations shaped by the adults that came before them.

It is clear that much of the “bullying” faced by girls is highly inflected with gendered expectations shaped by the adults that came before them. (WikiCommons)

Given the common knowledge of these legal facts, it is intellectually dishonest—not to mention ethically dubious—for the media and government of British Columbia to attribute Amanda Todd’s suicide to the common sins of “schoolyard bullies.”

Instead, it is imperative that we resist this narrative and recognize “My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide and self harm” for what it really is: a brave public disclosure of a young woman’s struggles against repeated, unchecked sexual exploitations at the hands of  a sadistic  pedophile, but also at the hands of her peers.

When we reframe the violations committed against Amanda as instances of sexual violence instead of (cyber)bullying, it becomes clear that Amanda’s “hook up” with her “old guy friend” is also worth further scrutiny. Was Amanda’s consent legitimate considering her psychologically/socially vulnerable state and the power imbalance that reared its ugly head when it was Amanda, not her “friend,” who was publicly shamed and attacked for the affair?

There is also little doubt that this young man’s girlfriend capitalized on Amanda’s fragility so that she could inflict physical violence upon her without consequence.

The reasons for this have roots in a culture that was more than ready to blame the victim.

This draws our attention to the dynamics and values present outside the demographic of young teenagers. These values and dynamics enabled a whole school to watch a 15-year-old suffer a public beating. In short, when we eschew the euphemism of “(cyber)bullying,” we gain a much larger scope and deeper sense of nuance in examining the dynamics and actors that drove a desperate, traumatized young woman to commit suicide.

An alternative perspective on the young teenager who is usually portrayed as an  angelic portrait of innocence or, more commonly, a "slut".

An alternative perspective on the young teenager who is usually portrayed as an angelic portrait of innocence or, more commonly, a “slut”. (WikiCommons)

And in the public’s reluctance in adopting this lens, we are reminded that this is not the first time a young woman’s life was crushed by sexual violence, and are assured that this might happen again. No one wants to address the ease with which a pedophile could pass on his torch of sexual degradation to the same youth we’re trying to protect. In the coverage of Amanda’s story, the media proved that it would rather pat itself on the back for decrying the actions committed by a handful of teenage “cyberbullies” than take this opportunity to examine its very grown-up role in promoting a culture that devalues the lives and dignity of sexually expressive young women.

So few recognize the function of “slut-”shaming in creating a hierarchy in which some women’s bodies and consent are valued more than others. So many are eager to excuse sexual violence committed against those who’ve been determined to be in the lower rungs.

And even further down those rungs of respectability than Amanda Todd, I will argue, there was a young woman named Felicia Garcia of Staten Island, New York.

To be continued in Parts 2 and 3

42 responses to “Cybersexual Violence Series Part 1: Amanda Todd and Why We Need to Quit Calling it (Cyber)bullying

  1. Poor. Very poor. You have fallen into the trap of believing the story, when most of it is lies. But you are also reporting wrongly. ‘followed the unauthorized distribution of sexually explicit pictures that she had sent an online friend’ – where did you get that from? There is no record of that. Neither is there any record of ‘The still unidentified pedophile person’ – you have assumed that. Anonymous supplied false information, and there is absolutely NO evidence of pedophilia. In fact, there never can be, as pedophilia entails pre-pubescent children, and Amanda wasn’t. ‘manipulated her into sending him pictures and webcam footage of her bared breasts’ – well, you’re also mistaken there. If you believe the video lies, she flashed once and once only so there’s not ‘pictures’ sent to anyone. However, if you do your research (‘Amanda Todd BlogTV’) you will see that she was regularly naked online to the extent of being banned, so it was hardly a story of manipulation. Her channel ‘Announcing Amanda’ doesn’t really show coercion now, does it? And certainly not exploitation. ‘Given the common knowledge of these legal facts’ erm…what facts are these? ‘There is also little doubt that this young man’s girlfriend capitalized on Amanda’s fragility so that she could inflict physical violence upon her without consequence.’ No – not really. Amanda was vehemently disliked by a lot of people. You are simply reading too much into the mentality of her aggressor. ‘a whole school to watch’ – that’s a slight exaggeration, unless 50 people is a whole school. The media has avoided the tough questions in all this because it knows one thing now – Amanda certainly wasn’t an angel; she told lots of lies; she wasn’t well liked; and most of the story is fictitious. If they pursued the pedophile route too much in mainstream media, then all of Amanda’s history would also be shown – and it’s not very nice. My blog philipjrose.wordpress.com tells a lot truer version of the Amanda Todd story. Please read it and join in the debate.

    • Hey p rose pr perso365 who was one of Amanda’s stalkers in life and now in death. Thought you moved on but still trying to take the heat off you. My blog site shows your screen comments admitting to being perso365 so your fake pen name outs you there. From the UK. Is stalking Carol on her own blog. Admits to sexually assaulting over 9000 boys and girls. Just block him or laugh because nothing perso says is true. lol My blog on him with screen caps is http://bewytchme.com/philip-rose-when-fiction-becomes-the-insane-reality/

  2. Okay, I’m going to address this comment section by section.

    “You have fallen into the trap of believing the story, when most of it is lies. But you are also reporting wrongly. ‘followed the unauthorized distribution of sexually explicit pictures that she had sent an online friend’ – where did you get that from? There is no record of that.”
    This is from the video posted by Amanda Todd herself, and police involvement has confirmed the blackmail. That’s the record. And I don’t care if she posted pictures/videos once, twice or a hundred times after that. I don’t care if she dedicated a blog to these pictures. SHE WAS 15 YEARS OLD; YOU ARE A GROWN MAN. YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY NOT TO EXPLOIT THE VULNERABILITIES AND NAIVETIES OF A CURIOUS TEENAGER.

    “Neither is there any record of ‘The still unidentified pedophile person’ – you have assumed that. Anonymous supplied false information, and there is absolutely NO evidence of pedophilia. In fact, there never can be, as pedophilia entails pre-pubescent children, and Amanda wasn’t. ”
    When the hell did I ever bring up Anonymous? Also, I cannot fathom any reason to make this argument besides attempting to justify sexually exploiting children because you can’t tell the difference between breasts on an 11-17 year old and breasts on a grown woman. Bravo; you’re really demonstrating that my article is COMPLETELY irrelevant.

    you will see that she was regularly naked online to the extent of being banned, so it was hardly a story of manipulation. Her channel ‘Announcing Amanda’ doesn’t really show coercion now, does it? And certainly not exploitation.
    She was 15. It was child pornography. She could’ve been personally spamming your email with videos and your knowingly opening them would still be exploitation, because YOU are supposed to understand the implications of using a 15 year old’s body for sexual purposes. She, as a child, IS UNDER NO SUCH OBLIGATION.

    “Amanda was vehemently disliked by a lot of people. You are simply reading too much into the mentality of her aggressor. ‘a whole school to watch’ – that’s a slight exaggeration, unless 50 people is a whole school”
    Her school was 50 people in total. And if you think her unpopularity does ANYTHING to alleviate the severity of what happened to her, you’re even sicker than previously thought.

    “The media has avoided the tough questions in all this because it knows one thing now – Amanda certainly wasn’t an angel; she told lots of lies; she wasn’t well liked; and most of the story is fictitious. ”
    You are the reason this piece was written. Period.

    • Poor. And getting poorer. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said: “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
      I don’t quite understand why you’re getting into such a tizz. I simply asked you to report facts. She didn’t send pictures to an online friend – she flashed online, many times over a period of months, to the extent of getting banned. She wasn’t 15 – she was 12 at the beginning, and got banned just after her 14th birthday. And why do you think she was naive and exploited? BlogTV told her to get off. They IP banned her, which is pretty steep, and STILL she came back to flash. You are seeing what you want to see in this story – not the real truth. She wasn’t a ‘curious teenager’ – by the time she was 14 she was described as an ‘online celebrity of sorts’. If you want, I can supply the links, but I get annoyed when people can’t be bothered to do the research themselves – just got to my blog.
      No blackmail has been confirmed. You really need to get this sorted. Amanda SAID she was stalked; she also said it was a one-off flash (a complete lie). There is very little truth in all this. Closer to the truth is that the police went round to her house due to complaints from the public.
      She wasn’t sexually exploited in the slightest. I’ve seen the video – have you? She was having FUN. Just realise that. She was having fun, it became addictive, she did a lot worse, and the pictures got seen. She just got caught out, that’s all. She know what she was in to – she was on good terms with the Daily Capper. If anything, SHE exploited the interests of young teen males for her own attention-seeking desires. But you will put that down to misogyny or something, whereas I put your views down to misandry and laziness.
      There was no pedophile. And there never will be. Get that straight.
      What she did was to perform live to whoever watched. And the vast majority of them would also have been anywhere between 13 and 17. Indeed, even the main ‘suspect’ in all this tomfoolery would have been 15 or 16 at the time. So the same rules apply to them. They were not capable of making informed decisions because they were too young. But note well: Miss Todd registered on these sites as being over 18 – she knew that what she was doing was against the law.
      The whole school wasn’t 50 people. And please – resorting to bad language is completely unnecessary. You are just twisting things to suit your purpose. She broke the schoolyard rules by knowingly sleeping with a boy who had a girlfriend, and she got hit. Simple playground rules. No need for any deep intellectual inspection. And she was disliked. No doubt about it. Which does make a difference to the story, because you have to ask why was she disliked so much, and it was nothing to do with gender problems or any other nonsense you want to attribute to it – it was because she simply wasn’t a nice person.
      So just get off your high horse, take a deep breath, and learn the facts. Thank you.

      • It’s funny how you’re just picking and choosing what you want to believe. You believe Amanda was IP banned from Blogtv, even though there’s no proof that she was. Yet you refuse to believe she was blackmailed even though there is proof of that online and it comes from the same source who said she was IP banned from Blogtv.

        I despise when people like you try to speak as if you know what you’re talking about when clearly all you’ve done is read articles written by people who are just as misinformed as you are.

      • WAnt to know who this fake person Philip Rose is? I have a ton of info including screencaps of all his lies he has spread. He admitted to being perso who is an anagram of p rose and who has abused over 9000 boys and girls. He has threatened to punch Carol Todd in the head and has led to major harassment against whom he things are the boy and girl involved. I do speak with Carol and the girl and boy and know what really happened and guess what? Everything he claims is a lie to get attention for himself. I have a few blogs dedicated to this troll/pedophile on my page bewytchme.com He was the one who capped her and he has so far admitted to searching for child porn and watching the video he claims of her nude which does not exist. He is a lunatic. Oh and his real name is Colin. Check my blog to find out more. Not seekign attention but rather support in taking this crazy psycho offline where he can do no further harm to Amanda or any other child or grieving family. In his latest rants now he claims that Rhetaeh Parsons is also a hoax. Guess the Amanda story is not giving him the attention he craves.

    • Absolutely. Philip J.Rose appears to be saying that this CHILD deserved everything she got. Wow.

      Also, strictly speaking he is correct in that the term ‘paedophilia’ relates to pre-pubescent children; ‘hebephilia’ relates to pubescent children. However legally the terms are used synonymously as most people recognise that a paedophile abuses children below that countries’ legal age of consent. In this case, 15 years old is below the age of consent. And given the coercive nature of the abuse, I’m not sure it would have made much difference had Amanda been of age. Sexual violence is sexual violence, regardless of age.

      • Please – don’t read things into this that aren’t there. But I can see your point. In the Amanda Todd story, many people have used the word ‘deserved’ either through ignorance or laziness. It’s difficult. The Amanda Todd story is a catastrophe, and it needs to be looked at thoroughly and truthfully, something I have attempted in my blog – philipjrose.wordpress.com It has raised a huge amount of problems, and each one has been clouded by ignorance, bad reporting, knee-jerk reactions and much more. And the problem is, there’s not enough time and space for me to even give a slight explanation here.
        The ‘deserve’ problem stems from Amanda’s repeated behaviour. In short, it simply stems from her warnings NOT to put her head in the lion’s mouth, so to speak, and her continuation in doing so. Something went horrendously wrong in this story, and many people are simply to dumbfounded to offer coherent responses. And so many people arrive at a simple conclusion – she in some way is to blame, and they can move on and forget it. But it’s never that simple.
        There is one more addition to the pedophile problem. Firstly, it’s a medical term, not a legal one. To be a pedophile is not illegal – acting upon it is. But there is also one more stipulation – the perpetrator must be at least six years older than the victim. In the Amanda Todd story, it is very, very, likely that the so-called pedophiles are in her age group. The falsely accused main suspect would have to be 22 years old – he is 19, possibly 20 – born in 1993. Indeed, the leader of the Daily Capper community is 19 now, and would have been 17 at the time of the main problems.
        So – if you choose to make an issue that by being a child Amanda is in some way blameless, this applies not just to Amanda, but her bullies, both online and in the real world, her underage sex partner, and, most likely if he exists, the stalker/blackmailer. So you get stuck – if Amanda was not at fault due to her age, then neither are the malefactors in all this.
        And Amanda was 12-14 throughout the main part of this story – not 15. Which really does raise problems. At what age is anyone considered capable enough of knowing all the connotations of going naked online? The story is further complicated by the fact that Amanda went back online after being banned – did she not have an inkling that if BlogTV was trying to stop her, that was serious? But even if you put it down to some sort of compulsion by her, you still need to ask a more important question – just why wasn’t she protected?
        I think you should avoid the words ‘coercive’ and ‘violence’. She was certainly not coerced into going online – her triumphant return after the BlogTV ban shows this. And she remained online AFTER the photos went locally viral. And like I’ve said – if you’ve actually seen the videos she was in, her enjoyment is undeniable. If the stalker story is true – and I have many reasons to believe it isn’t, such as why nobody has been named or caught after two years – remember that the photos were supposedly released because she DIDN’T respond. So, although there may have been an attempt at coercion, it failed.
        And I’m not sure where ‘sexual violence’ comes into it. She was not physically sexually abused. You would have a better case with ‘mental violence’ – the hatred and persecution aimed at her, though using her image, was predominantly aimed at hurting her mentally, and not because of her sexual behavior – it was far more to do with an online and real-life hatred of who she was, and she was more often and more damagingly abused because of her attempted suicides and her learning difficulties, though I believe the term ‘pornstar’ was used on occasion. The pictures of Clorox and the messages left for her go much further than a simple case of sexual violence.
        Please – carry out more research. I have endeavoured – not well, but at least I tried – to shine more light on the Amanda Todd case in my blog. Please take the time to read it through, and please leave comments. These problems can only be addressed through debate and discussion. Thank you.

      • He is obsessed with her because he is who capped her. He has admitted that and to abusing over 9K girls and boys. He has threatened to punch Amanda’s mom, Carol, in the head and has electronically impersonated not only me but many others. He is a complete psycho. He keeps changing the “truth” to fit his idea of reality. I live here. I do speak with Carol and we are trying to stop him from any further slander and lies. My blog outs him completely and he hates that now. bewytchme.com Just look for the ones with Philip or Perso or Colin and you will find a lot about him and his alters. It’s because he screen capped this girl and then passed it around that she eventually took her life. It’s not bad enough she took her life but even in her death he wants to slam her and her family. One day he says he knows she is dead and then another he claims she is alive and this is all some elaborate hoax. I can tell you that her family is grieving and that though they would love for this to all be imaginary it is not. Amanda is never coming back. Why should her troll be allowed freedom?

  3. To whoever the moderator is, thanks for showing my comment. The whole story is extremely complex, and difficult to cover within the confines of commenting. But it is important to bring all the problems out and discuss them, I think.

    • Hi Philip,

      I think Roxanne spoke to your comments thoroughly but there is one thing I’d like to add or press on a bit further.

      Why is the matter of whether or not Amanda is “liked” a relevant or meaningful piece of information? Why and since when did the groupthink of teenagers – probably the most vicious and spineless age group there is – become relevant in documenting the “real story” (something you seem interested in doing)? If anything, I would think the fact that Amanda was disliked, as you say, would lend credence to Roxanne’s argument.

      • Hi Rachel;
        Thank you for replying. I agree with your conclusion: that Amanda was disliked lends credence to my argument because, as anyone who actually read my article *properly* could attest, she was disliked on the basis of her non-conformity to gendered expectations of young women’s sexualities. Yes, in desperation for love and attention Amanda slept with a guy who wasn’t single, but in my piece I de-emphasize the ethical issues with her decision because I’m sick of people bringing this up like it’s supposed to justify the INTENSE violence she suffered both before and after this incident PARTICULARLY in light of the guy in question not experiencing any backlash at all. Considering how this vulnerability was manufactured by a school which victim-blamed her for the sexual exploitation she’d suffered thus far, it makes a lot more sense to examine how this reflects on the school population; not her. So thanks for pointing that out.

        However, I disagree with your premise that teenagers are, “probably the most vicious and spineless age group there is”. One of the things I wanted to make clear in this part is that teenagers are taking a disproportionate amount of blame in a situation where people across all age groups have demonstrated how cowardly and cruel our society can be. Since Amanda Todd’s death, men of all ages took vicious glee in reblogging pornographic images of Amanda Todd, “journalists” failed to restrain themselves from victim-blaming Amanda Todd and her mother in pursuit of a marketable story, social media authorities were FAR too slow in taking down pages like “Bleach Consumed By Amanda Todd” and, as you might remember from Part III of my piece, even government-funded anti-exploitation organizations don’t have the spine to be critical of the ways in which our society holds young women accountable for “letting themselves” be exploited.

        So, in short, I absolutely agree that teenagers need to held accountable for their part in this disaster, but I also think this discourse around teenagers being inherently cruel and spineless serves to alleviate the responsibility of older demographics in fostering environments for their children–especially schools–which actively fight rape culture, let alone ignore it (a la Premier Christy Clark) or encourage it (eg: “Respect Yourself” campaign).

        Not to mention that I think it’s unfair for an adult-dominated media to exploit their active exclusion of youth voices to recycle a very profitable moral panic about “kids these days”..

      • You know, you’re right. Thank you. Excellent points and I definitely rethink my stance.

        However I have to say that my comments aren’t drawn from any sort of rhetoric of “kids these days.” I was in high school ten years, long before the dawn of this rabid social media (perhaps the most defining point of ‘these days’), and teenagers were horrible then too. Teenagers are pretty awful, that I stand by. More precisely, teenage groupthink is dangerous. But you are right, adults are and can be just as awful, in both different and near-identical ways, and adult groupthink is FAR MORE dangerous.

      • Roxanne is deliberately misreading this issue. Amanda wasn’t disliked because of a gender thing – she was disliked because she was a show-off, an attention-seeker, and a breaker of playground moral rules. She was a cheer leader – one of the most despised sub-division of kids there is. So of course it makes a difference. If she was liked, she wouldn’t have got bullied. Or she would have found more support. You should try to look at the reasons for the hatred from a broader perspective.
        She seeks to romanticise the under-age sex bit by saying it was out of desperation for love – but it could also have been a rather nasty attempt by her to lure the boy away. It is purely down to interpretation. And guys not getting backlash is just the name of the game. It’s just the way things are. And who knows – maybe he did at some point. But it’s not exactly a shock – unfair maybe, but not a shock.
        Forget the sexual exploitation will you? That’s just part of the myth. But I have to agree – teens can be evil little shits, whatever the society around them is like. There are no ethics in the playground – only the rule of the jungle!
        Amanda exploited herself on BlogTV for likes. Get over it.
        Kids these days are in much the same dangers as all kids throughout history. It’s just that flashing your tits to a couple of blokes behind the bike sheds now means the likelihood of it being seen by the whole world on the Internet. But just stop with the gender bollocks – simply warn the kids of the dangers. And get real!

      • Philip,
        You seem to have pre-determined my personal views and politics. Why must I “get real”? In what fantasy land am I living? What exactly do I need to “get over”? …. Do I know you?

        Most of your comment is pointless to reply to because it rests on assumptions about my beliefs, and it seems silly to dismantle these prods.

        But COME ON PHILIP:
        “And guys not getting backlash is just the name of the game. It’s just the way things are. ”

        So because things happen, that makes them right?
        “Blacks as slaves is just the name of the game. It’s just the way things are.”
        “Women voting is just not the name of the game. It’s just not the way things are.”

        Yuck.

        Embracing progress doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from staying grounded in social reality. Stop being so dogmatic and nuance your point of view.

      • Rachel – I’m sorry there was confusion. I thought I was replying more to Roxanne’s remarks than yours. Within the constraints of the comments (my time and space for text) it is not easy to properly discuss things, and it is simply easier and lazier to be dogmatic and unnuanced. But one of the things I really must try to get across is that any debate or discussion should begin with facts – not hearsay or assumption – and the Amanda Todd case is very, very complex. I think that by pursuing the gender issue, and thus, it would seem, inevitably ending up pointing the finger at males, there is a risk that other things are overlooked. In the new freedoms for girls/women there are also a lot of dangers. If you see nothing wrong in Amanda Todd performing nude online at the age of 14-15, that’s all well and good. But the pitfalls of her behaviour are enormous, given the culture we are in. And what I’m trying to say is that the task of trying to educate the average testosterone driven NOT to look at kids like Amanda online, or to look at them in an artistic rather than masturbatory fashion, is too Sisyphean. I’m just suggesting that it would be easier to try and get young girls to REALLY respect their bodies by NOT using them to get attention online. But the author of this piece seems to think that, in some way, girls are being dragged kicking and screaming to their webcams, and that simply is not true. Regardless of what is going on around them, regardless of any prevalent culture (think Amish, Buddhist, Muslim or whatever) some young boys will always be interested in boobs, and some young girls, once they realise that, will be willing to exploit that fact. What is REALLY important is for girls to understand the dangers.
        I’m conscious that I have waffled on too much, and I have no idea what all the above ‘sounds’ like. But thanks for listening.

      • Hi again Philip,
        Here’s where moral relativism and cultural relativism collide. I agree, it is important to have a view on this case that is grounded in social reality. Social reality is, young female sexuality is often exploited, and not just by “pedophiles” and all that conjures up in the imagination, but yes, by young females themselves.

        Roxanne’s point is that one’s sexuality is their own currency to trade, and exposing one’s self sexually doesn’t, or shouldn’t, beget bullying, nastyness, etc. Also I don’t think Roxanne would ever argue that Amanda was “dragged kicking and screaming to her webcam” (indirect quote); she would argue the opposite.

        You’re right. This issue is complex. Roxanne has one view on one set of concerns, and you have another view on another set of concerns. You are claiming things are very grey but speaking in black/white terms. Why not explore the grey together? I’m sure there is a productive way out of your disagreements… perhaps by framing them in broader, or even more specific, terms and theoretical questions.

      • Thanks for that, Rachel. Let me just say – probably for the 100th time, so I apologise if I’m boring – that my main concern with all this is to try and report things as close to the truth as possible. Although things are never quite as black and white as I wish they were, it’s not good to simply fill in the grey areas with what, essentially, are one’s own thoughts, but then portray them as if they were factual.
        If you want to approach this story with any intellectual vigour, it is important to steer clear from words like pedophile. It simply doesn’t belong in the Amanda Todd story, or many of the other stories for that matter. In short, a pedophile is only interested in pre-pubescent kids (Amanda wasn’t) and legally there has to be a 6 year age gap between victim and perpetrator. The vast majority of the people involved in the Todd story were kids – 13-17.
        Now we get to the problem. It would, indeed, be a nice world if everything that shouldn’t happen didn’t happen – but that would be some sort of fantasy Utopia. Like you say, there should be nothing wrong with Amanda going online and taking her clothes off for likes – but she, or someone close to her, should have been aware of all the dangers – not just for her own online safety, but also the psychological impact and the possible backlash in the ‘real’ world.
        But I’m not sure which way to approach it. My way is close to telling girls ‘For God’s sake stay away from the Internet because it’s a godforsaken hell hole’ whereas you seem to be wanting to say to boys/men ‘Don’t go on the Internet and look at these girls for sexual satisfaction’ – both seem to be impossible to achieve.
        I apologise if I have read things into what you say – it’s one of the pitfalls of online communication and time constraints.
        White/black/grey – the Amanda Todd case is really quite odd. But it would help to start off with as many basic ‘knowns’ as possible, and to avoid emotional terms that are wrongly placed in this context.
        The unfortunate thing with the Amanda Todd case is that it is too close to the stuff of legend. The issue has been clouded by too many different thoughts and opinions – most of them wrong. Once people realised that her story of the ‘one-off’ photo was a lie, the rest of the story sort of fell apart.
        If you are REALLY interested in extremely puzzling but well-documented cases, then I recommend the Megan Meier or Jessi Slaughter cases – those are where truth is stranger than fiction!
        Thank you for being polite. That’s more than other people have been. I hope our discussion can continue. Take care.

      • Thank you, Phillip – I will read about those cases. It’s interested to see how reporting varies. And even more interesting that I’ve never heard those names…!

        I think, perhaps, you have received some vitriol because our comment reads quite a bit like what you are against: replacing grey with black/white.

        I agree: the word pedophile is highly incendiary. I think in the context of journalism, though, it is a useful tool in considering how we define criminal behavior, appropriate sexual acts/practices, etcetera.

        I’m not familiar with the details of Amanda’s story. While you say that most people involved are 13-17, my understanding – and Roxanne’s argument – is that there are adults involved, and in some seedy ways: not simple “steering the little lamb to safety,” but oggling, ‘slut-shaming,’ etcetera.

        I would never argue, as you suggest, that boys/men should avoid the internet/imagery for sexual satisfaction. To be perfectly honest about my politics, I am more likely to argue, as you say, the internet is a godforsaken hellhole. It sure is. But inappropriate adult, and youth, practices, are a big part of the architecture of this hellhole, and we shouldn’t just accept them as the way things are.

      • I think the Megan Meier story will have you wondering. That truly was tragic. As for Jessi Slaughter – well, it has a certain entertainment value but like all these things it’s tinged with sadness. Of course, I HAVE to disagree with you about the use of the word pedophile. It’s become too incendiary. It conjures up too many stereotype cliche thoughts – most of them wrong. Google “Toddlers and Tiaras” – that’s where the pedophiles are, but for some reason nobody thinks to look there. I know what some of them are like, I know their games, but I’m not going to get bogged down in that kettle of fish! As you know by now, I am about as close to being an Amanda Todd expert as anyone is going to get – and although that might sound borderline bonkers, it’s not too far away from reality. I assume you have heard of 4chan? You must have heard of 4chan! Those are the types of people involved in all this. “4chan – where both God and Satan have vowed never to go”. LOL. Maybe I need to give you some background. When I came to the story, I was convinced it was to do with pedophiles and/or evil people. But after LOADS of research, believe me, it’s not. Like I said, the vast majority will be 13-17. You might find the odd 11 and 12 year old at the lowest age range, and you will find a certain amount of 18 and 19 year olds. A tiny, tiny percentage will be older, and of course it would be stupid to say that there aren’t a few perverts – Catholic priests, politicians, 1970s pop celebrities and so on. LOL. But these are not the kind of people you think they are – they are simply the idiotic type of men epitomised by Danny Dyer and co. Amanda got involved in a mad community of Cappers – people who handed out awards for ‘Camwhore of the Year’ and ‘Blackmailer of the Year’. She was friends with them. And the bloke who runs the whole shebang is supposedly only 19 now, so he would have been 17 at the Amanda Todd time. It was all some sort of mad game. The press latched on to a stalker story because it was salacious tittle tattle.But even their prime suspect was 17. I hate this thing about slut-shaming. It’s become yet another phrase to be wheeled out as soon as someone disapproves of a woman’s behaviour. But that’s another argument! And yes, you’re right in your last statement about inappropriate youth behaviour, but I am just slightly miffed by this article’s reluctance to investigate the possibility that Amanda’s behaviour could be considered inappropriate. Girls are capable of bad behaviour, surely?

      • Yup, they are. But that’s where moral relativism creeps in and what is bad behavior to you, or to me, might be considered acceptable to someone else… or, put more finely, still “bad” as opposed to “good,” but not worthy of the contemptuous behavior it begets.

        The Meier story is pretty appalling. The Slaughter story I tried to unpack and unpuzzle but I got way too confused by all the internet lingo that is foreign to me. I guess in internet years I’m some sort of antique.

        Also, I do understand how one can get caught up in a story and investigate it down to the very bottom. It’s not bonkers to me. You may just arrive at a different place, partially based on your personal politics, than someone else.

        Thanks for commenting here. You’ve added some contrast to this argument. Contrast is always good, even IF it just serves to instantiate one’s original views 🙂

      • This moral relativism malarkey is an interesting point to follow, as it is, as you will know, used by some types to justify their actions – ‘we’ don’t understand that the liking of young girls/boys isn’t a bad thing, and that it’s not worthy of the contemptuous…..Similarly, there are many people out there who are able to justify acts of terrorism, murder, theft in much the same way. So there has to be a point at which some things are sanely judged good or bad. Or maybe not. Who knows?
        The rules of the school playground are pretty vicious, and that, to a certain extent, is what we are talking about here. Forget about slut-shaming or whatever for a moment – girls or boys can be victimised for something as simple as having a different haircut, not wearing the ‘in’ clothes, or quite literally not coming from the right side of the street. It’s all about fitting in. I went to a posh school. Everyone there was relatively well-educated, civilised, it was pretty much a single-sex monoculture. But the boys who got into the school through scholarships (by merit, in other words) were given badges as a mark of pride. LOL. They were picked on for not being able to afford the fees. I wondered off a bit there, but it was just to show that kids will find ANY reason to pick on people.
        I thought you would find the Meier story appalling. And the Jessi case is just plain weird. Anecdotally, there’s another Internet showpiece that may or may not be relevant in all this. On some channels, people can go online and perform for money (50 dollars and I’ll flash, 100 dollars for more etc.) So if 10 people send in 10 dollars, they get whatever. And one of these performers got abused – ‘you’re too fat’. She went mad, the more she got mad, the more she got abused, and so on. It’s all too mad. And it is alleged that Amanda Todd was into that, except it was ‘100 likes and I’ll flash’. And that is what caused some (not all) of the abuse. The kids had certain boundaries – sext = OK, flashing = OK, but for likes? no way! Amanda just pushed too far against the tolerance levels of those around her. And then, when she claimed she was the victim, it all went berserk.
        It’s interesting that you say I can arrive at a different place. I’m semi-influenced by ‘sat shri akal’ – a translation of which can mean ‘truth is eternal’. If I get involved in something, I will mull it over, do the research, mull it over again, and I like to think that I can overcome personal politics. Remember – I came to the Amanda Todd story almost ready to join in the pedophile witch hunt, and I’ve ended up far away from that. Have I added contrast? There is no contrast. The author said that Amanda was 15. She was 12-14 throughout the story. You can’t have a contrasting opinion about the verifiable age of the girl. And there’s the erroneous mention of pedophile; and the mistaken story of picture/pictures. If I say that the one litre of water weighs one kilo, I might expect some clever dick to say that that’s not always true, but I don’t expect someone to have a contrasting opinion that, in fact, it weighs a tonne, and then to expect me to say ‘OK then, thanks for that valid remark’. That’s the problem with this black and white thing. I say she was 12, the author says 15 – one of us is right. If we split into down the middle (grey) and say she’s 13 and a half, no-one is right. To a certain extent, people can extrapolate what they want from this story – but at least they should make an effort to start from basic facts.
        PS – there’s no excuse for being an Internet antique! Join le 9gag army!

  4. Okay, I’m going to address this comment section by section.

    “You have fallen into the trap of believing the story, when most of it is lies. But you are also reporting wrongly. ‘followed the unauthorized distribution of sexually explicit pictures that she had sent an online friend’ – where did you get that from? There is no record of that.”
    This is from the video posted by Amanda Todd herself, and police involvement has confirmed the blackmail. That’s the record. And I don’t care if she posted pictures/videos once, twice or a hundred times after that. I don’t care if she dedicated a blog to these pictures. SHE WAS 15 YEARS OLD; YOU ARE A GROWN MAN. YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY NOT TO EXPLOIT THE VULNERABILITIES AND NAIVETIES OF A CURIOUS TEENAGER.

    “Neither is there any record of ‘The still unidentified pedophile person’ – you have assumed that. Anonymous supplied false information, and there is absolutely NO evidence of pedophilia. In fact, there never can be, as pedophilia entails pre-pubescent children, and Amanda wasn’t. ”
    When the hell did I ever bring up Anonymous? Also, I cannot fathom any reason to make this argument besides attempting to justify sexually exploiting children because you can’t tell the difference between breasts on an 11-17 year old and breasts on a grown woman. Bravo; you’re really demonstrating that my article is COMPLETELY irrelevant.

    you will see that she was regularly naked online to the extent of being banned, so it was hardly a story of manipulation. Her channel ‘Announcing Amanda’ doesn’t really show coercion now, does it? And certainly not exploitation.
    She was 15. It was child pornography. She could’ve been personally spamming your email with videos and your knowingly opening them would still be exploitation, because YOU are supposed to understand the implications of using a 15 year old’s body for sexual purposes. She, as a child, IS UNDER NO SUCH OBLIGATION.

    “Amanda was vehemently disliked by a lot of people. You are simply reading too much into the mentality of her aggressor. ‘a whole school to watch’ – that’s a slight exaggeration, unless 50 people is a whole school”
    Her school was 50 people in total, you numbskull. And if you think her unpopularity does ANYTHING to alleviate the severity of what happened to her, you’re even sicker than previously thought.

    “The media has avoided the tough questions in all this because it knows one thing now – Amanda certainly wasn’t an angel; she told lots of lies; she wasn’t well liked; and most of the story is fictitious. ”
    You are the reason this piece was written. Period.

  5. I’m going to keep this comment brief, because otherwise my arguments will slip into the ad hominem range due to your obviously slimy nature, Phil.
    I think Roxanne dismantled your comment pretty thoroughly, so I’ll just address it a little more holistically.
    Roxanne is using the Amanda Todd case to illustrate some very serious problems, like the reality that we currently live in (to borrow the eloquence of the author) “a culture that devalues the lives and dignity of sexually expressive young women.” A culture perfectly exemplified in not only your comment, but your (disturbing) blog. As Roxanne said, you are the reason this piece was written.

    Revaluate.

    • Sam – why so rude? Maybe you should try re-evaluating. This is nothing to do with a culture that devalues the lives and dignity of sexually expressive young women. It’s far more complex than that. If you follow the path that the author takes – that Amanda Todd was too young to really understand what she was doing – then it also follows that her bullies and online viewers were also too young to have formulated any real values and they were, to a certain extent, making up their own culture. If you choose to believe that the bullies DID have some sort of innate sense of values, then it should also follow that Amanda should have had some idea of what she was doing. Which one do you want? But surely even you can see a difference here. There is a huge difference between sexually expressive women (like Katie Price) and children (like Amanda Todd). The author seems to want to call Amanda both a young woman AND a child, depending on what definition suits the argument. And there is a HUGE difference between, for instance, going topless on a beach and going topless for likes on BlogTV. Amanda Todd simply overstepped the mark amongst her peers: no-one minds a bit of under-age sex, but NOT with another girl’s boyfriend; no-one minds a bit of sexual activity, but NOT in excess and when it’s boasted about; no-one minds a bit of sexting, but getting your kit off for attention on BlogTV is simply too much.
      Maybe your problem is that you don’t want to understand a couple of things: there are girls aged 12-16 going on BlogTV every night for fun and they are FULLY aware of the pulling power of their boobs, and there are boys in the same age group only too willing to watch. You just need to get in touch with reality. It’s not some great new thing – kids have been doing this stuff for centuries, just not online. Instead of trying to make it into something it isn’t – some sort of gender war – acknowledge it for what it is THEN think about how to deal with it. If you want females to be proud of their bodies, tell them NOT to cheapen it all by flashing online to strangers. And if you’ve got the idea that you can get young boys NOT to be attracted to the sordidness of BlogTV, then you are mad.

      • This isn’t a gender war because you do not represent men and boys.

        This is not a gender war because most grown men can understand that even if a girl is sexually expressive–and can be called a young woman–that does NOT mean she is no longer a child. I’ve been called a young woman since I entered primary school, the same that my brothers have been called young men since they’ve learned how to walk and talk.

        This is not a gender war because there are plenty of men who do not see women and girls’ self-respect as being in direct correlation with how sexual they are.

        This is not a gender war because most men can understand that just because a girl isn’t “dragged kicking and screaming” to a webcam, doesn’t mean that tuning in as a grown man isn’t sexual exploitation. Again, YOU have a responsibility to learn that young teenagers are unaware of the power dynamics that occur between adults and children in sexual situations; CHILDREN DO NOT HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP THEMSELVES FROM BEING EXPLOITED.

        THIS IS NOT A GENDER WAR BECAUSE MOST MEN WOULDN’T DREAM OF SPENDING HOURS ON A BLOG WHICH SERVES NO OTHER PURPOSE THAN TO DEFAME A DEAD 15 YEAR OLD IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THEIR ENJOYMENT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.

  6. Oh great. If you read my blog – which, I admit, may not exactly be Pulitzer Prize material – you will see that I do not promote sexual abuse. The Amanda Todd story – by being dishonest – has actually weakened any possibility that you or your friends might use it as a weapon against sexual abuse. People have chosen – erroneously – to mention pedophile behaviour (which doesn’t exist in the story AT ALL) and to refer to the imaginary stalker as a man, when none of this is proven, and it might even be a pack of lies. All this has diverted attention from the REAL core problem – that hundreds of girls are going online each night – voluntarily and for fun – and some of them are not equipped to deal with the possible problems. The Amanda Todd story is almost unique in its complexity – it’s by no means straightforward. But to cloud it with errors makes it even more difficult to understand. Just how am I promoting sexual abuse, when my blog has gone on and on about how Amanda should have been protected? We have two possible instances of sexual abuse in the Amanda Todd case, both of which are weak. If you think there was a stalker, it’s certainly not the story of enticement and coercion that the media would have us believe. And it’s hugely likely that it would be one of her peers. And you have to ask many questions – why wasn’t Amanda protected from the cyber person instead of being allowed unfettered access to webcams, and really, how come – in a period that is now longer than two years – has there been no name mentioned by the family or police? And if you think that the mystery boy she slept with is a sexual abuser, then he’s the same age as her, has the same moral values as her, and is a child just like her. And according to you, being a child makes you innocent. Unless you’re a boy of course. But seriously – stop all this nonsense that makes you write a silly statement like that, and take a grown-up and informed view of the whole thing.

    • You really have absolutely no clue what “power dynamics are”, do you?

      Cybersex is a sexual act. It is subject to the laws of consent.

      If you are an adult participating in cybersex with a child, you are exploiting them.

      If you are a person of ANY AGE distributing sexual pictures ANYWHERE without the person’s consent, that is not just “the consequence of their actions”, you are exploiting them.

      If you fail to report adults who are sexually exploiting children through cybersex on blogtv, you are facilitating sexual abuse.

      These are all statements which are backed by anti-rape organizations including the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape, where I work. I can tell the difference between ignorant ass hats and predators who try and justify their violence by saying that it isn’t violence at all.

  7. Cybersex? – really, you do need to understand things more clearly. OK – go to cameracaptures.com and complain. Didn’t know it existed? Why am I not surprised? You are losing the argument here – badly. Just because you couldn’t be bothered to get your facts right, there’s no need to get aggressive with me. LOL.

    • Most of the “facts” you have brought up are references to amateur porn sites.
      They exist.
      We know.
      Keep your personal time personal, I don’t need to know your browser history.

      And are we really losing the argument here? I’m almost struggling to see there is one. It’s an exchange more akin to something between Beatrice and Virgil:
      On one hand, a well-versed and eloquent individual, guiding an audience through a damaged, sordid world, and on the other hand, an ass.

      • I think that calling someone an ass in a web forum does very little to raise the calibre of discussion, or promote balance and co-operation, if that is indeed your goal.

        There are going to be people who read our articles here and disagree, and for reasons that might piss us off or just rub us the wrong way. There will be language and arguments that are frustrating or upsetting. The point of this group, as I understand it (as a member), is to promote conversation and keep learning, in a non-oppressive environment.

        Philip makes some points worthy of serious consideration. Here’s one (he calls “REAL core problem”)
        “hundreds of girls are going online each night – voluntarily and for fun – and some of them are not equipped to deal with the possible problems. ”

        I agree that this is a core problem.
        Ultimately, Amanda lost her life. This is deeply tragic. This tragedy and the facets of it that Philip highlights do not stand in the face of the fact that adults behaved horridly in this case, that cyber/sexual/”bullying” is unacceptable, etc. It, in fact, EMBRACES these points. There is common ground here.

      • I have to make a small observation here. Although I might not have written my comments quite as politely as perhaps I should have done, it is interesting to note that, following an article that raises issues about cyberbullying, my remarks were meant with rude and offensive baseless allegations stemming in some part from, I believe, deeply entrenched gender perceptions, e.g. that a male seeking to show an opinion contrary to yours in this case must be some sort of ‘ass’ who is also a ‘slimy’ promoter of sexual abuse. Thanks.

  8. philip, it’s not ‘deeply entrenched gender perceptions’ that make your comments so offensive. it’s your words. your opinions. when i read your comments, i figured you were a troll; how anyone could have such little self awareness is mind blowing to me. utterly baffling. i thought your comments were someone with a poor sense of humor trying to be funny.

    philip, hopefully you’ll grow and change. hopefully for yourself, your future partner, for anyone who ever listens to you speak, for the sake of your own children – hopefully you’ll open your mind and see how utterly uninformed and sexist and blind and ignorant your comments are. your comments have been addressed in detail and don’t need to be addressed again by me. but i think as many people as possible need to band together and decry your comments, just so that a voice of common sense is heard somewhere in the cosmos and wisdom is proven not to be entirely dead in our confused and often lost society.

    • Until you know the facts, your opinion is valueless. The Amanda Todd story is one of uncontrolled narcissism. The fallout she received was nothing to do with gender perceptions – she was attacked by as many, if not more, young girls as young boys. If you prefer to think that she didn’t bring all this upon herself – a view prevalent amongst her peers – then you have to take a far more in depth study of what really occurred. If you haven’t seen the videos and pictures involved, then you cannot supply a valid response. You speak of common sense and wisdom, yet you know very little about the background to the story. You are simply applying your own prejudices – that all young girls are sweet and innocent being one of them. Amanda knew what she was doing, and very much exploited her own sexuality to fulfill her own desire for attention, yet you choose to make this sound like she was some sort of innocent victim, unaware of what she was doing. If, at the age of 14, she was not aware of the significance of what she was doing, then there was something dreadfully lacking in her upbringing – a question you don’t seem to wish to tackle. If there are predators, stalkers or blackmailers involved in this dubious story, then just get a few things straight. Amanda Todd was aware of the Daily Capper community. She has been described as ‘a celebrity of sorts’ in that community, and she knew them well enough to communicate with them, and she was featured in one of their videos. So she would have been fully aware that this community encouraged blackmailers with awards. Even after the supposed incidents around December 2010, she continued online with a massive presence, so it doesn’t seem that the online threats provided much discouragement. She put on shows promising flashes for likes – not the behaviour of someone who feels threatened or out of depth. She was simply exploiting her body, relishing in the fact that she was viewed. But for her, or indeed you, to believe that she was in some way the victim of a culture of shame is ridiculous – what she did was shameful in any society. If she had been your child, you would have done everything in your power to prevent it. So I can rest easy, knowing that my future children will at least be educated enough and sensible enough not to do it, and that if they do, I will do everything in my power to protect them. I guess I can look forward to your children exposing themselves online aged 13.
      Amanda Todd and others are not victims of a culture that oppresses sexuality. If anything, it’s the opposite. They are simply victims of a culture that doesn’t know how to handle these problems. She wasn’t shamed for being a female – in fact, she has been almost deified since the event BECAUSE she was female, white, and pretty. She was shamed by those who put shame upon her simply because she wasn’t exhibiting herself for the sake of art and civilisation, she wasn’t enhancing the beauty of her body, she was showing off for likes.
      What would your answer be? You seem to imply that what Amanda did was OK. Perhaps Playboy should lower the age limit of their models to 13. That would be empowering, surely? Then, there would be no shame in 13 year olds stripping – we might all accept it and move on. And perhaps we should learn that sex with a football team is actually quite fun, to be watched on video with impunity.
      People seem to be at a loss in dealing with teen sexuality, and there is unfairness all round. But you have to keep some sort of balance. Just as much as boys seem to avoid major repercussions in some cases, there is also a one-sidedness is some prosecutions – boys will get punished for possessing images, but the girls who supply them are ignored. In underage sex cases, in many instances the boy is put on an offenders list, not the girl – girls in this case using the beneficial-to-them culture that says they will receive the benefit of the doubt.
      As far as rape culture goes, then you have to open your eyes to a MUCH worse aspect. There is more and more evidence coming out to show that male rape goes vastly unreported because of the shame involved, at child and at adult level. And male rape is much more likely to lead to suicide – it just doesn’t get reported much because of the SHAME.
      So – there you have it. Open your mind. Get educated. Know the facts about cases. Until then, take care that it’s not YOUR prejudices that you are promoting.

      • Philip is really Colin and I have a blog all about him exposing him for the pedophile he is and was to Amanda. He says he is perso (anagram of p rose) and has sexually abused over 9000 boys and girls. He knows nothing about the case and what he does know, is because he was the one who targeted Amanda and is continuing to target her even almost 7 months since her death. He has threatened to punch her mother in the head and is now posting direct links to child porn video’s and images which he says he is researching. Why would any grown, sane man want to research child porn, download images and video to photoshop and target a dead girl? Simple. He is not what he appears to be. He is the one who capped her which is why he keeps talking about BlogTV. I have screen caps proving what I am saying and he has nothing proving what he is saying except images and links he has no business having and which are considered illegal to view. He is completely fake and has gone by a number of different fake names, some which he claims are from children’s stories like David Sanders from Winnie the Pooh, and he also sinks low enough to electronically impersonate anyone who goes against him or gets too close. The problem with me is that I will not back down to this pedo and my goal is to get him to apologize to the family and friends and then to quietly just go offline into the darkness where pedo trolls like him belong. This guy is very sick and the poster boy for what an online child predator really looks like.

  9. Philip Rose, we have all heard over and over again what you think and you know what there is one thing I know for sure and that is you need to just move on to another rant because you have flogged this one to death and really Philip Rose non not one of us care what you think!

  10. I have returned to this thread by some sort of serendipity. By now, the Sextortion documentary by the Fifth Estate will have at least shown that Amanda was deeply involved online, and that she was, indeed, in chatrooms and so on. I had forgotten about the loony comments. Anyways, here is more of an overview of Amanda: https://philipjrose.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/laura-lynn-edwardson-not-exactly-an-inspired-title-but-come-on-cut-me-some-slack/

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