The death of Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett should be a wake up call. Words hurt

Cyber - bullying victim distressed
Image: iStock


Content warning; bullying, depression and suicide

People were understandably shocked and upset to hear the passing of 14 – year – old Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, the face of hat manufacturer Akubra. She took her own life after receiving abuse online.

This has sparked calls for Apple and Google Play to ban apps, like Saraha that allow users to make anonymous comments and posts.

While I sympathise with the campaignersa, I don’t think these calls for a ban get to the heart of the problem.


Here’s what people need to get: the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’ is a myth. I’ll go one step further. It’s total bull.


Words can kill. I thought we got this through our heads after the death of former model, Charlotte Dawson in 2014. Apparently not.


So, how can we stop this repeating? Maybe we can’t stop it completely. But what we can do is get honest, with ourselves and each other. We need to teach children and young adults that what they say matters. It has an impact and if they choose to bully someone, they will destroy both their lives and that of their victims.

People die due to bullying. That’s the reality. And there’s more. Last year, HealthDayNews reported  on a study that suggested that half of teens admitted into emergency were victims of violence or cyber – bullying. Nearly a quarter (23%) showed symptoms of post – traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings were published in journal General Hospital Psychiatry. 


Verbal or cyber bullying can and does have other affects, many arguably not so extreme. You’re ability to trust can be severely damaged. For me, it took me a long time to be able to trust people again.


Bullying also erodes your self – esteem. My self – esteem has hit rock bottom before. While it’s better now, I wouldn’t say it’s high. I’ve questioned my self – worth and to this day, sometimes feel like I’m not enough.

I wrote what I did above not to gain sympathy. I wanted to be honest about my own experiences and to demonstrate that often, the effects of bullying can last for years.

Fortunately, I’ve never been the victim of cyber – bullying. The rise of the Internet, especially various social media sites and apps, has made combating bullying complicated. This generation of children can’t escape bullying when they get home from school. Another complication is anonymity. They don’t have to see the impact of what their words have.

As I said near the start of this post, I don’t think banning certain apps like Saraha will work, nor is it necessary. Whether people like it or not, social media is the way most people, especially of this generation, communicate and a way they can get information and current events. The world needs to learn how to cope with social media, not avoid it. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” needs to be exposed for the myth that it is and discarded. Words do hurt and cyber – bullying needs to be condemned. Period.



People need better protection in the entertainment industry

TW: sexual abuse, sexual harassment and domestic violence. If these are triggering for you proceed with caution or skip this post. 


Hollywood star
Image: iStock

There is something sick in the entertainment industry in the US, UK and Australia that needs to be addressed.

As you probably know, producer Harvey Weinstein has finally had to step down after women alleged that he sexually harassed women over thirty years. There were allegations of massages e and public masturbation in front of an unwilling participant. New York Times said that Weinstein paid off complainants for years.


I won’t go into who knew what, etc. I want to go to a deeper question: what the hell is going on in the entertainment industries in Australia, US and UK? The Weinstein saga is the latest that has been exposed. You’ve had allegations against comedian Bill Crosby, JImmy Saville in the UK and Hey Dad star Robert Hughes to name a few.

It’s not just the movie industry that has been affected either. On Sunday, TV personality Kerri – Anne Kennerly told Sunday Night about domestic violence she suffered at the hands of her ex – husband who was a record producer. It stopped when Kennerly held a loaded gun and threatened to pull the trigger. She then escaped.



Also, former glam rock pioneer, Paul Gadd (better known as Gary Glitter), was convicted of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault of a ten  year – old girl, a thirteen year – old and twelve year – old back in the 1970’s. He was convicted of the rapes and in the 1990’s, was also charged with child pornography possession.


These are the incidents I can think of. No doubt there are countless more. My question is, why have children and women (and no doubt some men), who all they wanted to do was become a performer or see a performer they admired (as the Glitter case), only to be abused? What is with that?

More importantly, what has changed to protect those who are vulnerable? What can be done? Last night on ABC’s The Drum, writer, Jamila Rizvi made a point about how too few women become producers and how the movie industry is dominated by men. Maybe she has a point. But what about attitudes? What is the ethos in the entertainment industry when it comes to protecting children and not having anyone assaulted?


People should be able to follow their dreams. They should be able to do that without fear of abuse. Children and teenagers who have a particular passion for performing arts and have the opportunity should be able to do so without some sleaze taking advantage of them. That also goes for young people who see their heroes perform. Enough’s enough.

If this post has brought up any issues for you, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 – RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Blue Knot Foundation (formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse): 1300 657 380.

Feel free to put numbers/ contact details of any services in your area if you’re not from Australia. The more people we can help who’ve suffered sexual assault, childhood trauma, etc the better).