“The Ugly Truth” – Letter to Amanda Todd

Hi Team Hollaback,

You may have read the recent news articles on CBC.CA regarding Amanda Todd, a young girl who lived in British Columbia, Canada. This 15 year old was bullied to death after an older male convinced her to flash her breasts while she was on SKYPE with him. He told her she was beautiful and she wanted his attention and approval.

After Amanda showed her breasts, the man waited a year and then attempted to black mail her. He told her he would send the picture out to all of her friends and family if she did not perform a lewd act on camera. She did not and her picture went viral. After that, the man created a face book page that used Amanda’s breast as his picture. Amanda was bullied relentlessly, moved schools a couple of times, attempted suicide a couple of times and unfortunately succeeded in killing herself at age 15.

While I am very happy that this man has been caught and is being jailed for his behaviour, I think that Canada is missing the main problem. The problem is with our Canadian society and values. We must acknowledge that the individual is only as safe as the community is harmless. In order for this single act to have led to her death our society must have decided it was a heinous act. Here is the ugly list of messages that this young girl received from our misogynistic society;

1. Good women are not sexual women

2. Displaying your breast means you are a person of low morals

3. Persons “low morals” have no right to survive and thrive in our communities

4. Canadians have a right to act as human garbage towards persons of low morals

5. Canadians have the right to marginalize, rape, and torment persons of low morals. (A boy at her second school pretended to like Amanda until he had sex with her. Then, he immediately dumped her and told his girlfriend that Amanda had sex with him. The girls then became vicious, not just mean. That is what I describe as a premeditated, well planned, rape.

6. Men and women in Canada support and embrace misogyny.

It is truly disgusting that Canadian’s do not see that their behaviour was truly barbaric in comparison to a young, 14 year old girl seeking love and attention. Amanda showed her breast to a man who was valuing her and making her feel beautiful. I cannot imagine a more harmless act. Human beings undress in front of each other daily, all 7 billion of us! So let’s get down to what is truly happening here. Male culture is criminalizing female sexuality and women are helping them do it. Amanda did not kill herself because she showed her breasts to a man. She killed herself because she became a target of the human garbage that she lived amongst on a daily basis. What conclusion must we come to? We must conclude that we are truly a heinous group of people who take a great deal of pleasure in hurting others. I can attest to the fact that people never seem to tire of hurting others in large and small ways. I also understand that there are people who do not behave in this manner. Unfortunately, they are rare in this region. So, my question is, can a few really change the nature of many? It is truly a daunting task.

Hollaback, you are a light in the middle of darkness and I am thankful for all of the work that you do. I struggle every day to feel the optimism that you have in your hearts. Being a female in Canada is similar to being a Jewish person surrounded by Nazis. As long as you are controlled and without power, they have no problem with you. The minute you act outside the acceptable range they attack. This is the ugly truth about our society. Clearly no transgression is too small to trigger the hate.

Amanda, I’ve got your back!! So very sorry it is too little too late. All I can do is share your story with people who would have helped you if they had only known about it in time.

With deep gratitude for all that you do Hollaback!!

- Linda Duff

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4 Responses

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  1. Jenni says:

    I am so thankful for this, Linda Duff you will never know how much the Amanda Todd story affected me and it makes me so happy there are people like you out there.

    • Linda says:

      Thank you for responding to my post and for your kind words. Amanda Todd has done so much good by sharing her story on YOUTUBE.

  2. Sara says:

    While I agree wholeheartedly with what has been said, I would also like to say that it isn’t just a problem in Canada. Misogyny is unfortunately prominent worldwide. As a Canadian, I haven’t had many problems in my city – which I’m certain is due to blind luck because I am from Edmonton. However, I recently traveled to Anaheim and was harassed. I was walking back to my hotel from Disneyland, in the broad daylight – a 10 minute walk from the gates. I was targeted very quickly as a female walking alone, and while it was essentially all verbal, it still is clear that it’s a problem all around the world, in every country.

    Canada is bad, no doubt. I do think it’s naive to think we have it the worst. Most places are just as severe, or worse, and that’s the truly frightening part.

    • Linda says:

      Hi Sara,

      Thank you for responding to my post. I do agree that many more countries are worse than Canada in terms of treatment of women. It is because I hold Canada to a much higher standard, that I am so disgusted with the behaviour. I actually was naïve….I really thought we were better than this. Unfortunately, once my eyes were open to the suffering of others, they cannot be shut again. Do some homework on domestic abuse, murder of aboriginal women, the sex trade in Canada and the culture of silence around rape and reporting it. It will then be impossible to ignore the “victim blaming” culture that we live in. There is an underlying brutality in our culture that only the most helpless are witness too. We can not be of any help if our first thought is to minimize the problem in our own Country. It is of no comfort to Amanda Todd,that Canada is not the worst. Like you, I love this country and my first instinct is to protect it too. However, imagine what a betrayal it is each time a woman finds out that Canadians and our legal system are just not there for them. I would like to change that.

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