Suicide of Dolly Everett

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Amy Jayne "Dolly" Everett (1 May 2003 — 3 January 2018) was an Australian teenager who died by suicide after becoming the victim of cyberbullying.[1]

Everett was from Katherine in the Northern Territory and was attending Scots PGC College in the Queensland town of Warwick.[2] Everett had previously been the face of an advertising campaign for Australian hat company Akubra.[1]

Reactions[edit]

Dolly Everett's death prompted tributes and reactions from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Australian boxer Jeff Horn and American entertainer Bette Midler, among others.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Memorial services for Everett were held in both Katherine and Warwick on 12 January 2018.[2][6] Mourners at the services were encouraged to wear something blue, Dolly Everett's favourite colour.[9][10] Following her death, Everett's parents launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #DoItForDolly to raise awareness of the effects of bullying, prompting a national discussion in Australia about the issue. They launched a foundation called the Dolly's Dream Foundation with support from the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. The family also shared a drawing by Everett, depicting a figure underneath the words "stand up, speak even if your voice shakes", a quote which has since been used to encourage young bullying victims to speak up about their experiences.[11][12] In the three months since a GoFundMe page was created for Dolly's Dream Foundation, over $106,000 was raised.[13] A number of community events and fundraising initiatives have been held across Australia to raise money for the foundation.[14][15][16][17]

Criticism[edit]

Although there was an outpouring of sympathy for Everett's family, the media were criticised for over-simplifying Everett's suicide, with some doubts expressed about whether bullying alone caused her death.[18] Professor Peter Jones from Bond University said that while bullying may have played a role in Everett's death, he believed she had a severe mental illness such as depression, which caused her to reach the decision to take her own life.[18] Jones believes the media were too quick to blame bullying as the unequivocal cause of Everett's death.[18] Jones also said apportioning blame to bullies could lead them to also take their own lives due to guilt and shame.[18]

The Australian Government media initiative, "Mindframe",[19] also raised a number of concerns about the way the media were covering the death of Dolly Everett.[20] It criticised the media for sharing a memorial video[21] released by Everett's family, suggesting that the promotion of such public memorials should be avoided, due to the risk it posed to those experiencing similar life circumstances, or who were having suicidal thoughts.[20] Mindframe also urged the media to stop implying Everett's suicide was preceded by bullying, or caused solely by it.[20]

In the wake of Everett's death, there were also calls to ban or police social media apps known to be used for cyberbullying, such as Sarahah.[22][23] However, some commentators such as Ginger Gorman described the calls as knee-jerk reactions that would likely be ineffective and could potentially remove online support for bullying victims.[24] Other commentators viewed the substantial media interest and public outcry generated by Dolly Everett's death as an example of what they perceived to be an indifference to an ongoing youth suicide crisis among Aboriginal Australians, which attracts little media interest.[25][26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Akubra girl Dolly's bullying suicide shocks Australia, BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation, 10 January 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b Wurm, Elyse (12 January 2018) Goodbye: Warwick farewells Dolly in intimate service, Warwick Daily News, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  3. ^ Sullivan, Rebecca (10 January 2018) Tributes for 14-year-old Dolly Everett flow in following her tragic suicide, news.com.au, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  4. ^ Roe, Isobel (12 January 2018) Dolly Everett: 'Heartbroken' Malcolm Turnbull joins bullying debate in wake of 14-year-old girl's suicide, ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  5. ^ Marsh, Vanessa (14 January 2018) Jeff Horn pledges to beat bullies after suicide of Amy 'Dolly' Everett, The Courier-Mail, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b Sorensen, Hayley (13 January 2018) Heartbroken mourners say goodbye to Amy 'Dolly' Everett in Katherine, NT News, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  7. ^ Ingall, Jennifer (22 January 2018) Star Maker winner pays tribute to 'Dolly' Everett, ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  8. ^ Smith, Ella (17 January 2018) Tamworth singer-songwriter Hattie Oates pays tribute to Dolly Everett, Northern Daily Leader, Fairfax Media. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  9. ^ Bullying suicide: Mourners were blue for Akubra girl, BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation, 12 January 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  10. ^ Wurm, Elyse (12 January 2018) Blue Day: Wear Dolly's favourite shade today, Warwick Daily News, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  11. ^ Graham, Ben (11 January 2018) Dolly's family release their daughter's final drawing, news.com.au, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  12. ^ O'Brien, Kristy (10 January 2018) Cyber-bullying campaign launched after suicide of Akubra face Amy 'Dolly' Everett, ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  13. ^ Dolly's Dream, gofundme. Accessed 8 April 2018.
  14. ^ McKay, Pam (13 February 2018) CQ rodeo raises huge amount for Dolly's legacy, Central Queensland News, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  15. ^ Shafik, Danni (23 January 2018) Ale and hearty drinkers top up Dolly's Dream fund, Danni Shafik, Townsville Bulletin, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  16. ^ McCormack, Madura (7 February 2018) Koumala to do it for Dolly, The Daily Mercury, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  17. ^ De Kruijff, Peter (23 February 2018) Cattlemen's drive helps Dolly's charity, The Kimberley Echo, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d Stephens, Clare (31 January 2018) The part of Dolly Everett's story that perhaps wasn't told, Mamamia. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  19. ^ About Mindframe, Mindrame website. Accessed 8 April 2018.
  20. ^ a b c Media alert: Reporting on passing of Dolly Everett, mindframe website, 12 January 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  21. ^ Video: Amy 'Dolly' Everett's family released this video montage as a tribute to their daughter, ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 11 January 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  22. ^ Marsh, Vanessa (12 January 2018) Cyberbullying: Parents want app shut down, The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  23. ^ AAP (15 January 2018) Queensland mother's petition to ban social media app Sarahah passes 100,000 signatures, The Courier Mail. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  24. ^ Gorman, Ginger (15 January 2018) Banning social media apps wouldn't have saved Dolly, news.com.au, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  25. ^ Dolly Everett exposed Australia's indifference to the Aboriginal suicide crisis, Welcome to Country website. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  26. ^ Georgatos, Gerry (18 January 2018) The death of a child by suicide, The Stringer. Retrieved 8 April 2018.