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