-The death of a 12 year old live streamed on social media –
Writing about social media and its many nuances.
I happened across the heart-breaking story of a 12 year old girl who committed suicide on social media.
The video was taken down a few days later but watching the 42-minute tragedy play out where Katelyn Nicole Davies carefully prepared a noose, broke down, cried, apologised for not being strong and finally jumped from a tree in Cedartown, Georgia, I felt compelled to explore her story. This blog is not looking to answer questions, it simply wants to discuss what happened.
Maintaining an online diary under the title of “Diary of a Broken Doll” the girl admitted to depression, self-harming, sexual, physical and mental abuse, extensive trauma and suicidal thoughts.
“I feel like hanging myself with a cord. Just tying a cord around my ceiling fan and getting a bucket. Then tying it around my neck and jumping. Then greeting death. That’s what I feel like doing.” – Katelyn Nicole Davies
She indirectly reached out to millions of readers out there, in an unconscious call for help before she hung herself in a very similar manner to what she wrote in her diary. She is gone now, but her diary is still online. Perhaps all that we will ever have to understand about her.
The problem here is not social media. Not by a long shot. In fact, Facebook, Twitter and other social media apps have helped in saving lives many times. A biker suffering severe injuries after a crash, lost snowboarders in the Swiss Alps and a rare donor who was found in time to save the life of a Leukemia patient are just some of the many examples where social media went above and beyond fun, selfies and popularity.
I think it’s important to think of why Katelyn got no help, why nobody stopped her before she did this.
Reading through her diary, she did seem to be infatuated with a character named Ben Drowned on Creepypasta, who seemed to have met and equally gruesome end, despite being fictional. The fact that she went public in her “search for true love” that was not real, could have seriously undermined the gravity of her reality.
Depression is often associated with schizophrenia and hallucinations and it is quite possible, that readers could have simply brushed off the details of abuse she gave out as part of her imagination. Maybe, that is why nobody alerted the nearest police station or child protection services on time.
Once the video was streamed on Live.me it was duplicated on YouTube and received almost 40,000 views.
“We want it down as much as anyone for the family and it may be harmful to other kids; we contacted some of the sites. They asked if they had to take it down, and by law, they don’t.”- Police Chief Kenny Dodd to Fox 5 News.
It is sad that while the majority out there truly mourned the loss of a talented and young life, the rest were determined to make the maximum profit out of a terrible situation. But that’s how it plays. This was certainly no exception. Perhaps, what bothers me most is the fact that there is no closure to her death; the fact that it was indeed in vain and could have easily been prevented.
Here’s hoping that social media, being the powerful tool that it is today, continues to save lives as it has done in the past…and to never seeing another Dolly Hanging.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough. Goodbye” – Katelyn Nicole Davies