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Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Rest in Peace Ashley Duncan, 17: No One Listened

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Monday, Ashley Duncan didn’t go to school.  Instead, she used the Internet Sunday and into Monday, her Twitter and Tumblr accounts, to tell anyone who was listening that she was in too much pain to handle alone.  No one listened.  Friends say they thought she was joking even as she posted a picture of a revolver that she’d “…finally found…”.  Then, Monday, Ashley, 17, took that newfound revolver and ended her life.

She spoke of being in too much pain.  She spoke bluntly: “Life ain’t worth all the pain.”  She spoke of wanting to die “…every minute, second, hour, day, month, year…”.  No one took that seriously.  Now, sadly, she’s gone.

I’m involved in several anti-bullying, anti-suicide groups and communities online.  It’s not unusual at all to read distressing messages from young people.  In fact, I read them almost daily.  And, in truth, there have been one or two that have raised the suspicion “I wonder if (s)he’s serious or just pulling my leg?”  In a couple cases, my gut told me that I was just being played with.  However, I understand that they could also be serious about it and in a very precarious situation.  I take every call for help seriously until I find out otherwise.  And, even if then, I’ll follow up a couple time just to make sure things are ok.  A human life is too precious to do otherwise.  Unfortunately, now Ashley’s friends will have a lifetime of second-guessing themselves, wondering if they could’ve been the one to save her life.  The answer will never be known.

This won’t be the first time I’ve said this:  listening goes such a long way.  Not just hearing.  I’m hearing a wonderful song being played on the overhead music player right now; however, I’m not listening to it.  I’m focused on Ashley Duncan’s suicide right now.  Listening requires attention.  If every one of use can hone the fine art of listening, we can undoubtedly save lives.  There’s almost always a cry for help before disaster strikes.  We have to be able to pay attention, to listen, in order to hear it.  If someone had listened to Ashley, she’d be alive today.

Sadly, that’s not the case.  Sadly, her friends and family now must say goodbye.  Rest in peace, Ashley Duncan.  You have our attention now.  Sorry it came too late.

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Written by Ron Kemp

February 2, 2012 at 12:18 am

One Response

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  1. Ron,

    I’ve read a lot of what you write on bullying. Thank you. I’m the founder of the national youth led Monster March Against Bullying with The Rodemeyers, The Mowrys and many other bullying families behind our teens. Last Monday, we flew five headline making bullying families and many teens from around the country to help launch The Monster March.

    We would love your help spreading the news of our teens’ invite to Lady Gaga and to President Obama to be at our 10,000 teen march against bullying in San Francisco this October. If you can ask all your followers to Tweet both letting them know your fans want both to join us, it will boost our profile and more teens will join us. The October march is just the celebratory finale of our teens’ year long campaign of projects they’re leading online, in classrooms and everywhere they can influence peers.

    They want to recruit every teen they can.

    Check out our FB page and our “Top 10 Teen Solutions” list. We change it every two weeks pushing to the top, the best in that time frame.
    Also everything we have in our “Photos.”

    Our teens include best friends and siblings of bullied teens from all over the country who’ve killed themselves. These teens are committed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVzNKZpqDDo)

    Go to http://www.facebook.com/youthvoicetv

    Warmly,

    Christi O’Connor
    Founder “The Monster March Against Bullying”
    christitmb@gmail.com

    Christi O'Connor

    February 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm


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