Online harassment blamed for Australian child model’s death

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Australian child model Amy “Dolly” Everett killed herself after becoming a victim of cyberbullying, her family has said. Mourners drove many hundreds of miles to attend the memorial at her family’s isolated cattle ranch.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in a remote part of Australia’s Northern Territory on Friday to honor the 14-year-old victim of cyberbullying.

According to the parents of Amy “Dolly” Everett, the former child model took her own life after facing intense harassment online.

Everett was the well-known face of Akubra hats, one of Australia’s most recognizable brands – a picture taken of her wearing one of its iconic rabbit-felt hats in 2009 is still regularly featured in the company’s ads, most recently this past Christmas.

The firm is also known for making hats for the Australian military as well as Harrison Ford’s iconic fedora in the Indiana Jones adventure “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

“We are shocked and distressed to hear of the passing of ‘Dolly’,” Akubra said in a statement. “To think that anyone could feel so overwhelmed and that suicide was their only option is unfathomable.”

Anti-bullying campaign

The Everett family has launched a campaign called #StopBullyingNow, which spread rapidly on social media following the news of Dolly’s death.

“This week has been an example of how social media should be used; it has also been an example of how it shouldn’t be,” said her father Tick Everett in a statement. “If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted.”

Everett called on those who had bullied his daughter to “witness the complete devastation you have created.”

Australia’s National Centre Against Bullying reports that one in seven Australian children is subjected to cyberbullying and that youth suicide in the Northern Territory is the highest in the country.

es/tj (AP, AFP)

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