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13-Year-Old Pretoria Girl Kills Herself After Being Cyberbullied

It is understood that the girl was a victim of non-consensual image sharing, with the bullies using WhatsApp to circulate the private image. If you are being cyberbullied, follow the links throughout this article to our various support services or click the blue icon at the bottom right of the screen to open Cybersmile Assistant.

Education Department officials in Pretoria, South Africa are investigating the tragic suicide of a 13-year-old girl who took her own life after being cyberbullied by fellow students. Officials from the education department in Gauteng told reporters that a fellow student had distributed a private image of the girl via the social media app WhatsApp to other students which prompted a tirade of abuse and bullying. The girl reported the incident to her teachers and refused to go back to school because she was afraid of the bullies – she tragically took her own life a few days later in her bedroom at home.

“This heartbreaking suicide underlines how deeply young people can be affected by cyberbullying and how quickly things can escalate. It is crucial that young people have timely access to support resources at all times.”

Dan Raisbeck, Co-Founder, The Cybersmile Foundation

The nature of the image has not been made public but reports suggest it may have been an intimate photograph or a video of the girl. Devasted pupils and teachers have been supported by counsellors from the Sinoville Crisis Centre (SCC) who also asked that the child’s identity should not be disclosed.

“Typical bully behaviour would be for girls to spread ‘gossip’ or false rumours about a friend in a peer group. It is also not unusual for girls to target boys. Especially children who are soft-spoken and shy are targeted.”

Spokesperson, SCC

The bullying was reported to school teachers by the victim the same day, and her mother visited the school to talk with the Principle about what was going to be done a few days later but returned home later that day to find her daughter had committed suicide in her room.

Member of the Executive Council for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, spoke of the sadness surrounding the tragic suicide, saying, “On behalf of the entire education fraternity in Gauteng, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased learner. We hope that the family will find comfort in the knowledge that we too share their loss. No words are enough to express our sorrow at a loss of a child.”

If you are affected by any type of abuse to bullying online, we can help you. Visit our Cyberbullying and Online Abuse Help Center or learn how we can help you through our Total Access Support. You can also click on the blue icon at the bottom right of the screen to open Cybersmile Assistant. For further information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the suggestions below:

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