Win with MysmartkidJoin Mysmartkid today and stand a chance to win a LeapFrog LeapPad worth R1 999!
 
Are SA students spoilt rotten?Children who receive for financial aid from their parents get worse grades at university.
 
Search

Twitter suicide for abused girl

Do you know the story behind your teen's status updates?

depressed teen with computer

Repeatedly sexually abused at the age of seven at the hands of her stepfather, Ashley Billasano finally took her own life at the age of eighteen. The troubled high school student took the day off to Tweet repeatedly last week about her life and state of mind.

"No one would believe her"

Key to her emotional state was her treatment by the authorities. According to her mother, Ashley “gave up. She felt like nothing was ever going to happen, nobody was ever going to believe her”, Billasano’s mom told CNN.

Tweeted pain
She reportedly sent 144 messages in six hours, touching on allegations of sexual abuse, the pain it caused and her long struggle for justice. According to one tweet, the final straw for Billasano was a phone call telling her it was unlikely her alleged abuser would ever be prosecuted.

No help

Also according to reports, not one of her nearly 600 followers on Twitter attempted to intervene in what was clearly a period of intense emotional distress.
The prosecuting authorities have reopened the investigation into the alleged abuse, but it’s too late for Ashley, who had given up hope of being heard.

How to help your teen with social media
Many teens (and even pre-teens) have social media accounts, and it’s not uncommon for typically extreme teen emotions to end up as status updates, however, there’s always a chance that a social media account could be the medium of choice for a “cry for help”.

If you suspect your child is going through emotional distress, or contemplating self-harm or suicide, do intervene. Also, if your child is friends with someone who appears to be in distress, encourage them to help that person seek help, either through a counsellor, religious organisation, parent or a suicide help centre.

Infamous and sad last words
Ashley’s last Tweet, according to the Houston Chronicle: "That's the story of how I came to be who I am," she wrote, "well, the condensed version. I'd love to hear what you have to say. But I won't be around."

Does your child ever post status updates which make you nervous for their well-being?

By: Scott Dunlop

Results

Suggest a vote

NEXT ON PARENT24X

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 
 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.