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What women want - March 2014

06 Mar 2014

Oh, dear Charlotte, no

As tears bounced off the botoxed cheeks of so many celebrity friends, as sorrow filled the hearts of her followers and supporters, as disbelief was expressed by friend and foe alike, the news was shocking – Charlotte Dawson was dead. At the youthful age of 47, by her own tender hand.

Charlotte was found on the morning of February 22. Charlotte must have truly believed that the pain of living one more breath far outweighed her ability to fight the darkness and, in that splinter of time, in the absence of friends or support, she took the path she had been battling between embracing and fighting for so long, and she ended her life.

The public anguish has been raw. Where was her support? Where were her doctors? Where were the barriers that would protect her when she needed them the most. And then, edging deeper and deeper into dialogue, was blame. If she couldn’t handle publicity, why was she a celebrity? If she couldn’t handle the limelight, why didn’t she walk away? And even more sinister – where were her so called “celebrity friends”.

They were there. And they cared enormously, and deeply. They were worried, they took action, they showed Charlotte the pathway to health. Like a horse to water, you can only lead a person there. Like any grieving circle around a “successful suicide” decision, there are those that are left wishing they’d been there in the minutes previous to this final action. And it is easy for them to forget, they’d already been there for 10,000 potential final moments previously. The friends, celebrity or not, are not to blame.

Mental health issues are prevalent amongst so many of us, and nothing to be ashamed of. Seeking help, whilst hard, is encouraged and supported. But there was something more with Charlotte’s particular situation, which is unfortunately not an isolated story.

Charlotte, without doubt, was bullied in the most horrendous and violating way. Cyber bullying, in its sheer numbers, is an evil force where somehow persecutors feel safe in the anonymity of numbers. A victim is targeted, and like a swarm of killer bees, no one feels the responsibility of one sting that ended the victim’s life, but rather an attack that just couldn’t be outlasted in the end.

Sadly, I have seen and heard questions or derisions on social media, social circles and even closed groups of friends, which simply ask “if she was finding it so hard to deal with the inevitable negative energy that putting yourself out there as a celebrity can attract, why didn’t she quit?” Fair enough. I understand that if “life” had a voice and could say to the mother of a potential “successful suicide” decision-maker, “Wait on – if you send your child to school for an education, they will, with 100 per cent certainty, be dead at the age of 15” then there is no doubt you would forego their education.

If life could say “Charlotte, if you pursue your dreams and your life goals, it will become too much, there will be too many bullies for a person to survive and you will be dead before you’re 50, with 100 per cent certainty” – then perhaps she would have packed up her dreams.

But people, we are talking about bullies here. Do you truly think that the answer is satisfactory – that if my child is being bullied at school, then they are simply not strong enough to handle an education. If my daughter is beautiful and walks down the street, she may attract a stalker or come to harm – so she is not strong enough to handle a life outside of closed protective doors. If my child believes in something strongly enough to have a voice, then they may be subject to someone wanting to overpower their voice – so they should stay home and be silent.

No. Not now. Not then. Not ever.

Bullying is the behaviour that must be stopped. Let those who shine in their own light, be free to walk confidently towards their dreams. And let those who focus their energy on putting out the light of others, be told loudly and clearly, that this will not be tolerated.

In life, Charlotte dreamed of eradicating negativity off social media. In death, we will continue fighting for her and make her proud of our continuing battle. Charlotte’s death cannot be in vain.

I ask that the Australian and state governments introduce cyber-bullying laws to tackle serious online abuse – not just for kids, but for adults too.

I ask that together we unite to change the cyber bullying platform. I ask that Charlotte’s Law – Tougher Cyber Bullying Legislation be passed. Please go to and sign the petition to help change this terrible trend that is occurring.

I applaud our Ed, here at Docklands News. We receive some wonderful letters and comments from our readers, and we take great delight in replying to them. Unfortunately, as with nearly all platforms, we occasionally receive unwanted or inappropriate comments or correspondence. The Docklands News screens all correspondence to ensure that all material is not only appropriate, but that there is awareness in the team of potential problems – bullying, stalking, aggressiveness is not tolerated. For that, I am eternally grateful and feel secure, respected and privileged to have the opportunity to express opinions and views safely.

Rest in peace Charlotte Dawson.

Yours always
Abby Crawford
You can always write to me – and Ed – at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
If you need support, contact Life Line on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. You don’t have to feel alone.

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