Australians have been moved by the death of a 14-year-old girl who had everything to live for. Amy Jayne Everett, affectionately nicknamed Dolly, died on Jan. 3. She killed herself after being bullied via social media.
Her family—father Tick, mother Kate, and sister Meg—are devastated by the loss.
Tick wrote a post on Facebook four days after her death about why it occurred that touched many in Australia and beyond.
“I know for some suicide is considered cowardly but I guarantee those people wouldn’t have half the strength that my precious little angel had, Doll had the strength to do what she thought she had to do to escape the evil in this world,” Tick wrote.
“However unfortunately Dolly will never know the great pain and emptiness left behind.”
A combined commemorative and anti-bullying video has also been made that has been shared widely.
Media coverage of her death has been both national and international, allowing the tragedy to further touch people beyond those who knew her.
Eight years ago, Dolly featured in a Christmas campaign for iconic Australian hat maker, Akubra, who released a statement on the teenager’s death that supported the hashtags #stopbullyingnow #doitfordolly #justbekind.
The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also commented on Dolly’s passing.
“Dolly, you are loved and you will never be forgotten,” Turnbull wrote on Akubra Hats’ Facebook page, reported The Australian.
“As a parent and as a grandparent, my heart breaks for Dolly and her family. From pain and loss we must renew our commitment to say no to bullying. Any life lost to bullying, especially someone as young as Dolly, just 14 years old, is one too many,” he said.
“The rise of online social media platforms present new challenges. Cyber bullies can harass and intimidate their victims from any location and at any time of the day.”
In a statement, the Everetts said their world “came crashing down” when their daughter died.
“Our daughter Dolly was the kindest, caring, beautiful soul and she was always caring for animals, small children, other children at boarding school who were less fortunate than herself,” the family said, reported NT News.
Now the family, who live in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory, have started an anti-bullying campaign in the hope that it will help others.
“Out of all the sadness that the loss of our daughter has brought to our lives, we feel that through losing Dolly we would like to help other families by making an awareness of bullying and harassment that some people are sadly subject to,” they said.
“We are not concerned with the who or the why of who pushed our daughter to this point, we just want to save another family going through the sadness and tragedy that our family is experiencing.”
Not long before Dolly died, she drew an image of a young woman stretching while above her were the words: “Stand up, speak even if your voice shakes.”
“This powerful message tells the dark, scary place our beautiful angel had travelled to,” the family said.
The Everetts and their friends have also established a foundation called Dolly’s Dream to support charity groups that raise awareness around bullying, anxiety, depression, and youth suicide.
Those attending Dolly’s funeral on Friday, Jan. 12 will be encouraged to wear blue, Dolly’s favorite color, and to donate funds to the foundation, instead of giving flowers.
Friends have made their feelings known on social media such as family friend Derek Birse who also described the challenges kids that today face with social media.
Maggie Groves, who said she knew Dolly and her sister, wrote about her feelings and offered up some anti-bullying advice that has been shared nearly 1,500 times:
“I just can’t stop thinking about this beautiful girl and her poor family. I remember watching Dolly and Meg ride around the local drafts as kids, smiling from ear to ear. To think some not only took that smile away from her but pushed her so far she saw no way out has really shaken me,” she wrote.
“So how’s this for a New Year’s resolution: Be kind. Sometimes we forget how powerful and hurtful words can be and what an impact they can have. You never know what demons people are already dealing with, don’t add to it. Every person that serves you at a store, asks you for directions on the street or talks to you at all, whether you know them well or not, give them your attention and a smile.
“Be honest. If you do like someone, life’s short! Tell them … And while you’re at it tell them why you like them, what makes them so special because we all know beautiful people that have forgotten their worth or have been convinced that they aren’t worth much. Be brave. If you’re going through a hard time please tell someone, I for one will listen to anyone that needs a[n] ear to hear their story. When we get upset we forget how many people love us and cherish us and who are ALWAYS there for us.
“Be a legend. Stand up for someone if you see or hear bullying. Pull your mates up if they get nasty with someone. Let your coworkers know you won’t play along with their bitchy games. Remind the guy yelling at the young girl behind the counter that she’s just trying to do her job.
“Be aware. Notice a friend is avoiding social outings? Making uncharacteristic statuses? Or just down in the dumps in general? REACH OUT! Help them purely by showing them someone cares. Even if they’re not your friend! The internet is being used for bullying so it can definitely be used for comforting and supporting people. And when you’re talking to someone be present, put down your phone, look them in the eye and listen.
“Be a decent human. If you don’t like someone just leave them alone and get on with your own life. Don’t get mad, don’t get even, just get over it. Let people live their lives. Take a minute to think about how their loved ones would feel if they saw/heard you being horrible to their son/daughter/sister/brother/wife/husband. Or how you would feel if they lost that person thanks to some words that you said.
“Everyone deserves to feel happy, accepted, confident, and loved.”
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