A grieving family has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of cyber-bullying after their daughter killed herself last week.
Fourteen-year-old Amy “Dolly” Everett was the young face of the iconic Australian hat manufacturer Akubra as a child and lived with her family in the Northern Territory.
Tick Everett, Dolly’s father, invited his daughter’s bullies to her funeral in a Facebook post on Thursday, in which he also thanked the community for its support.
“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,” he wrote.
“If by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created.”
In a statement to the ABC, the Everett family asked for respect and time to grieve: “Our daughter Dolly was the kindest, caring, beautiful soul, and she was always caring for animals, small children, other children at boarding school who were less fortunate than herself.”
A trust, “Dolly’s Dream”, will be formed by the Everetts to raise awareness of bullying, depression and youth suicide. The hashtags #StopBullyingNow and #DoItForDolly are also being used.
Akubra Hats released a statement on Facebook on Tuesday: “To think that anyone could feel so overwhelmed and that this was their only option is unfathomable. Bullying of any type is unacceptable. It is up to us to stand up when we see any kind of bullying behaviour.”
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd, one of many Australians to comment on social media, said Dolly’s death was “a tragedy”.
If you need to talk to someone, you can call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue Australia on 1300 22 4636.