Cyberbullying ‘new face of violence against young women’


The aunt of 15-year-old Amanda Todd is calling cyberbullying the new face of violence against women and girls and is vowing to work tirelessly to stop it.

“My goal is to change things,” Leana Todd said in an interview Sunday from Truro.

“It’s horrendous what they did to her and it makes me afraid as a mother to be raising my children in a society where this happens.”

Amanda Todd of Port Coquitlam, B.C. died last week of a suspected suicide, a month after posting a YouTube video detailing her troubling experiences with bullying.

Her Nova Scotia family is organizing candlelight vigils and anti-bullying rallies in memory of her in Truro’s Victoria Park and Halifax’s Grand Parade, pending permission, this Friday at 6 p.m.

“Obviously, as a family we’re devastated,” Leana Todd said. “She was bullied and tortured and tormented and stalked. She was sexually lured and it’s criminal behaviour.”

Although Todd, 37, said there is increasing awareness about bullying, she said there is not enough being done to stop it.

“It’s still happening, and from my point of view it’s not being taken seriously enough and it’s not being addressed early enough and soon enough and young enough,” she said.

“The kids who kick and shove each other on the playground when they are eight and get away with it will continue bullying. It needs to be taken more seriously.

“How do we attack and challenge this as a society… I have no idea but I’m going to try.”

While Todd said any form of bullying needs to be stopped, she said young girls are facing a unique form of abuse.

“From my point of view this is the new face of violence against young women. She was lured to flash, she made a choice and they used that against her and threatened her. They destroyed her life, literally.

“She was a child. She didn’t make it to her 16th birthday.”

Guest speakers at the vigil in Truro will include Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann, Colchester North MLA Karen Casey and the Truro Police Service’s Cyberbullying Task Force.

The Halifax vigil is being organized with support from the V-Day Halifax community campaign members, a movement that works to stop violence against women and girls that Todd had volunteered with in the past.