Sunday, 3 November 2013

How Would YOU Explain Suicide to an 8 Year Old?

Good morning Regina!!!

Another beautiful Sunday morning in the Queen City, and absolutely fantastic weather for November. Here's hoping that the rest of the winter remains relatively mild and snow-free, but as one who grew up in Saskatchewan, I know that anything can happen, and will happen without notice!

Originally this weekend, I had planned to unveil the First Edition in a series of reports on the Corruption and Collusion that is happening in and around Regina, but I have chosen to put that off a few more days. I have my own personal reasons for that, but publicly, I'll tell you that I honestly have had more important issues to work on, and unfortunately, this report has taken the back burner to those issues. Suffice it to say, though, that there is currently a great discussion happening on Twitter (@cavon76) regarding this Corruption and Collusion, where I've been talking candidly about some of the items that will appear in the First Edition of the Report.

What issue has occupied a majority of my time? Well, it relates back to the tragic situation that happened almost two weeks ago, and that being the Suicide of a very beautiful soul, Ms. Savhanah "Savy" Turcotte. This poor girl was bullied so intensely that she felt the only way to get away from the situation was to take her own life. Now, there are those out there who feel it isn't appropriate to be talking about Suicide, in the apparent fear that others may see this as a solution to their own personal situations, and "repeat" that same "way out". I find this attitude truly disturbing, even moreso when you consider the efforts of campaigns such as the "I Am Stronger" campaign, and the "Right By You" campaign, both of which are designed specifically to address this very situation. We should never be afraid to talk about situations where a poor, lost soul felt there only way out of the bullying was to take their own lives. Quite the opposite, in fact, we should talk about it openly and widely, so that others suffering from those very same circumstances know they are not alone, and that there are people willing to listen and to help.

Ironically, poor Savy continues to be the target of some pretty disturbing behaviour online, which is the exact situation that led to this tragic situation. In our City, there are those who feel it's pefectly acceptable to talk publicly about the recent homicides in our City, but somehow when the same situation happens but it's a suicide, it's time to shut up and say nothing until the grieving family is ready to publicly talk on their own. There are so many issues with this attitude, but one of the major things that I see is that suicides like this should very well be treated as a homicide investigation. Why? Because those parties who tormented this poor soul to the extent that she took her own life, should be just as guilty as those who physically attacked someone to the point of their death. Why should we differentiate between a physical cause and a mental cause? I know this viewpoint may be considered extreme, and is going to be attacked by many out there, but just give it some thought. It is something that we, as a society, should be pushing for, in the sense that there are parties out there that are responsible for her death, whether they like it or not, and it should be treated no differently than someone pulling that trigger on a gun, or plunging that knife into someone's body.

Finally today, I share with you a heartfelt email that I was provided by a grieving parent, Crystal Strong. This parent has an eight year old daughter, who was Savy's reading buddy. Obviously there are questions that her eight year old is asking that no parent should ever have to try to answer. Let alone try to answer why there were individuals at the memorial who accused the mother of poor parenting, and others who chuckled throughout the ceremony.

Here is the letter sent from the School. Note, they didn't even spell Savy's name right, if you compare it to the spelling in the obituary.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think suicides should be treated as a homicide for the simple reason it does not fit the definition of the word, or how it is used in legal terms. There are three very distinct differences, the first is if I chose to end another's life with a gun, knife or other method, that is a choice out of the victims control. I made the decision totally. Suicide, as difficult as this can be to grasp, is often the choice of the victim. It may be an influenced choice, and I concede sometimes there are uncontrollable mental health related issues, but I'm not sure when it comes to children if such health matters are the over riding causation. Truthfully being bullied in school is not a justifiable reason to end your life, as difficult as that may be for someone in such sensitive age ranges to understand. However at such ages naivety tends to be abundant. I'm sure many who were bullied in school with years gone by now as adults see what matters in the real world in hindsight, and understand such thoughts were not wise and are glad they didn't pursue them. In saying this, I do understand some are burdened with life long side effects that effect every day of their life.

    What makes it difficult to assess a murder type charge in relation to suicide is it is hard to come to the accurate enough conclusion as to how much bullying was the factor. I say this because there can, and often are, other factors such as life at home, b/f/g/f relationships, and feelings of self worth not directly related to being bullied. If a child is burdened with say the separation and divorce of their parents while they are being bullied, how do we differentiate the impact of those two? How can you say it was the school yard bullying and not the fact their home life has been destroyed? Do we charge the parents for incidents cause by the stress they inflicted on their child?

    In university we are seeing an increase in students committing suicide, and much of this is related to grades and how one views their own future prospects. High education tends to be a culmination of long term expectations, both internally (related to a persons life goals and dreams) and externally (parental pressure), and missing these targets is difficult for people in their early 20's to come to terms with, and I don't doubt for some these pressures begin to build from grade 8 right through to the end of high school. We are seeing a rise in mental health issues related to this. I think we need to understand there is often more than one cause.

    Finally we have to consider a word you like to use, intent. When a person bullies another, do they do so intending to drive the one they are bullying to death? Is that the end goal? I could be wrong, but I often feel bullying is a type of power trip, a poor means to raise one's self esteem by bringing another's down. A way to get laughs. With homicide there is a very clear decision by the perpetrated to cause death to another. Suicide has a different choice pattern than homicide.

    I don't at all disagree there needs to be consequences to bullying, however I think when it comes to suicide we need to keep things in perspective.