Trisha Prabhu – TRANSCRIPT
Students like myself often hear the phrase: we are the future. While that is true, I genuinely believe that we are also the now.
That philosophy has guided me through all of my work and my journey, to help make this world a better place. And for me, that journey began in the fall of 2013. I was 13 years old, I came home from school one day to read an article online about an 11-year-old girl. Her name was Rebecca, and she had been cyberbullied for over an year and a half. One day, she decided she couldn’t take it any longer, and she climbed to the top of her town’s water tower and jumped off.
I’ve told that story more times than I can remember. And there is never a time that it becomes easier to tell, because Rebecca is not the only person that had suffered like that. Megan Meier was three weeks away from turning 14, when she started to receive messages online, like, “The world would be a better place without you.” Her mother found her in her bedroom closet, where she hung herself.
And Tyler Clementi, 18 years old, a freshman at Rutgers University, had just come out to the world, his family, his friends as gay. And one day, one of his roommates thought it would be funny to live stream a video of Tyler with his boyfriend in one of their most intimate moments. And the next day, Tyler jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death.
Those stories haunt me, because more than anything, I wish I could rewrite those stories. I wish that I could go back in time and make every perpetrator rethink what they did. And the question will always haunt me: If I could, would Rebecca, Megan, and Tyler still be alive today? Cyberbullying is a big problem: 52% of adolescents in the US alone have been cyberbullied. We’re talking about 12 million people. Many of these victims suffered from low self-esteem, depression, in rare cases, suicidal tendencies.