All should ‘speak even if your voice shakes’

Amy Jayne Everett's death has led to an outpouring of grief on social media. The photo at the top is one of Dolly's drawings.
Amy Jayne Everett's death has led to an outpouring of grief on social media. The photo at the top is one of Dolly's drawings.

Speak even if your voice shakes.

These words have echoed across the nation – and world – in the past week as news spread of the tragic death of a beautiful young girl.

Fourteen-year-old Dolly Everett, who was the face of Akubra hats’ campaigns as a young girl, recently chose to end her life as a result of bullying.

It’s hard to fathom the pain and darkness someone must be experiencing to act on such a final decision.

I’m sure most people have their own stories of bullying to share; kids really can be brutal.

In the past week, I’ve watched as friends have shared their stories of bullying on Facebook, and had conversations with many people from many backgrounds discussing our own experiences.

As a relatively ‘young’ adult, who has been caught in the middle of the evolution of technology, I really feel for the kids of today.

Dolly Everett was the face of Akubra's Christmas campaign for many years, including in 2017.

Dolly Everett was the face of Akubra's Christmas campaign for many years, including in 2017.

When I was a child, I could escape the bullying when I went home.

I’d put on a brave face until I got off the school bus at the end of the day, feel a little sorry for myself as I walked home, and then hop on my horse and ride for hours through Mount Crawford forest, letting my worries fade away.

But in these days of social media, kids can’t escape their bullies quite as easily.

They follow them home by way of not only public shaming posts, but also the perhaps more insidious nature of private messaging.

It’s a malicious and dangerous form of bullying I can’t get my head around.

We need to educate our children to be kind, and to stand up for the underdog.

Don’t watch on as someone is targeted by bullies – speak up, even if your voice shakes.

And while we really need to address youth bullying, we also need to make sure adults are leading by example.

Those careless one-liners that get thrown around the workplace or sporting field?

They need to stop.

None of us knows the mental pain someone may be experiencing.

That one little throw away comment could be the thing to push someone just that bit too far.

And remember, you can never be too kind.

As someone said to me this week, smile at others as you walk down the street.

That simple gesture may be the one act that makes someone believe they are valued.

You might just save a life.

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