Sexting, Shame and Suicide. A tale that is shocking of attack within the Digital Age

Camfuze.CimSexting, Shame and Suicide. A tale that is shocking of attack within the Digital Age

Nina Burleigh

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Sexting Shame & Suicide

Illustration by Jesse Lenz

O n the final day’s her life, Audrie Pott stepped via a crucible of teenage torment. A sophomore that is curvaceous Saratoga senior school, wearing the cool-girl’s uniform of the low-cut top and supershort skirt, she seemed exactly like constantly, but inside she had been quivering with humiliation. Into the since school had started, girls had been giving her looks, and guys had congregated around phones, smirking week. On Twitter, messages had been pinging into her inbox, each one of these delivering another gut punch: “shit went down ahah jk i bet u currently got enough ppl talking it to myself haha. About any of it therefore ill continue. ”

“honestly like really no laughing matter everybody else knows…. ”

“u had been one horny mofo. ”

A grown-up monitor handed her a violation that is dress-code her dress had been too brief – and even though all of the girls inside her class dressed like that and monitors seldom objected. She cut exactly exactly exactly what classes she could, blowing down chemistry for 2 days in a line, looking in order to avoid confrontations with disapproving girlfriends. Then Kathy Atabakhsh, certainly one of her close friends, tore she was, of becoming a different person into her on the school quad, accusing her of drinking, of forgetting who. “She have been, literally, the most effective individual you can fulfill – constantly honest and trustworthy, ” Kathy says, recalling the episode nearly per year later on. “And I became therefore upset that she had changed. It absolutely was hard for her to know that from an in depth buddy. ” She recalls the final terms she believed to Audrie. “You need certainly to get back to truth, ” Kathy informed her.


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At lunchtime, Audrie texted her mother at your workplace: “Mom, please pick me up. ” Sheila Pott, a mortgage-loan officer, asked why and whether Audrie could wait for her n’t in order to complete a company conference. Audrie was insistent, after which stopped responding to texts.

Whenever Sheila pulled up inside her vehicle later that Monday afternoon on September tenth, 2012, Audrie jumped in but stayed quiet in the brief drive house. Sheila ended up being familiar with her 15-year-old daughter’s moods and stopped pushing her. If they surely got to their ranch-style house, where that they had been residing alone together since Sheila had split together with her boyfriend the entire year before, Audrie retreated to her bed room, having its Audrey Hepburn poster and silk-upholstered screen chair. Around 20 mins passed before Sheila chose to check up on her child. She wandered over the home and down the long carpeted hallway towards the restroom home adjoining Audrie’s room. The entranceway ended up being locked. Audrie did answer that is n’t. Sheila knocked and knocked once more. One thing about the silence pressed a panic key inside her. She grabbed the thing that is first may find to jimmy the lock – the tiny steel pole at the conclusion of her phone’s earplug – and jammed it to the doorknob. Flinging the door available, she confronted a sight now completely etched inside her memory. Into the pale-peach bathroom, featuring its shell-shaped sink, gold fixtures and slim tub, her only youngster was hanging from a belt connected to the bath head, mascara streaking her face.

Sheila sprinted down the hallway, back in your kitchen, grabbed a knife and down cut her daughter, attempting to keep in mind just how to perform CPR while dialing 911. Paramedics arrived within a couple of minutes. They restarted Audrie’s heart, however it was far too late. The girl that is brown-eyed enjoyed horses, art and pranks would not breathe on her own again.

There clearly was no note, absolutely nothing to explain why her popular and daughter that is pretty done it. When you look at the medical center, Sheila started retracing current occasions, trying to find some clue about what may have pressed her child to just simply take her very own life. She seriously considered Audrie’s silence that is strange the afternoon after a sleepover the weekend before. And she remembered the ink that is green noticed around her daughter’s cleavage, strange markings that Audrie had refused to describe.

S aratoga senior school, featuring its country-club-worthy­quad, Olympic-size pool that is swimming plush tennis courts, is regarded as those affluent Ca schools US teens recognize from movies and television. Found in the heart of Silicon Valley, the educational college houses high-achieving young ones of moms and dads working at Apple, e-bay, Netflix as well as other technology corporations headquartered within 50 kilometers. In the event that Saratoga Falcons would not frequently field a fantastic soccer group, there’s consolation into the proven fact that each graduating class has propelled a large number of children into Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Berkeley.

The summertime before her death, Audrie had began to alter, getting off the kids she’d hung out with since middle college. She had began to take in a had and little dated a somewhat older guy. Whenever she drank, the self-consciousness which had afflicted her since junior high melted away. She loosened up. Often, she loosened up a whole lot.

On work Day week-end of this brand new school 12 months, Audrie’s friend, let’s call her “Sara” (lots of the children’ names in this story have now been changed to safeguard their identities), stated her moms and dads had been away, making their white cottage-style house or apartment with its long green yard inside her care. Sara – 15, pretty, slim and that is blond Audrie had become close that summer time and had been checking out a fresh world of males, containers and little events, ideally at parent-free homes, that the Saratoga children call “kickbacks. ”

That Sunday, Sara shared with her moms and dads that she would definitely be resting over at Audrie’s, and Audrie informed her mother that she’d be resting over at Sara’s. Whenever Sheila drove Audrie to Sara’s, she assumed girls is investing the night inside their jammies while watching tv, or giggling over ice cream and Facebook. But Sara had currently texted around a dozen friends to drop set for her kickback.

Ultimately, 11 children arrived, most of them to sip vodka and Gatorade cocktails. All of them belonged for their class’s popular clique, girls dressed as provocatively as you can, even because of the free criteria of Ca high schools. “See-through shorts and thongs pulled up, shorts pulled down, ” recalls a mature woman. “That’s just what the girls that are‘cool wore. ” The guys they hung down with preferred a uniform locally dubbed “swagfag” – snapback hat, PacSun tank tops, knee-length chino shorts and Vans.

A few children had brought some bottles of alcohol – rum taken from Safeway, vodka purchased for them by a grown-up at a alcohol shop. They sooner or later guzzled a container of tequila that Sara’s moms and dads kept in their own personal case. The mixer of preference ended up being Gatorade, or straight that is downed. Audrie drank most difficult of most.

When Audrie’s old friends that are middle-school Kathy, Amanda Le and another girl, appeared around 9 p.m., there was clearly no music, simply the noise of sloppy-drunk talk. Audrie had been stumbling and incoherent, taking shots and making down with various men from the living-room settee. Her buddies had been appalled. “I never ever saw, I’d just heard of times she had gotten drunk, ” says Kathy. “She was therefore distinct from the way I knew her become. Because we had been sober, we noticed precisely what ended up being taking place, and so they didn’t understand what these were doing. ”

Sara seemed therefore trashed whenever she greeted them during the home that Kathy does not even think her classmate recognized her. “There ended up being stuff throughout the tables, ” Kathy says. “Superdirty. That they had meals and a bunch that is whole of every-where. Individuals falling over, travelling. At some time, I became like, ‘I feel superuncomfortable, everyone’s so trashed and then we are only sitting right here. ’ therefore we left. ”

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