Child abuse effects nearly 700,000 children under the age of 18 annually.
Of these children, nearly four out of five are abused by at least one of their parents. Constant abuse and belittling can have negative impacts on a child’s self-esteem and personal life. Whether the abuse is physical, verbal, or simply emotional, the child if often left feeling as though they aren’t good enough and may never rise to meet life’s high expectations. Many take their own lives.
In 2014, nearly 1,500 children in the U.S. either took their lives or were killed by their own abusers. While these tragic events might not have been national news 20 years ago, with the creation of social media and streaming services, every suicide attempt can quickly become a worldwide event.
Twelve-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis of Cedartown, Georgia, revealed a traumatic family secret to her friends and followers during a live stream on her social media accounts.
The young girl broke down in tears as she shared with the world that her stepfather had emotionally, sexually, and verbally abused her since marrying her mother.
During the live broadcast, she could be heard saying her final goodbyes as she is prepared to take her own life.
Sadly, she hung herself from a tree in her backyard while her friends watched in horror from their mobile devices.
Despite their best efforts to save Davis, emergency responders were unable to resuscitate the poor girl and she was pronounced dead on December 30.
In the days leading up to her death, Davis kept an online journal in which she detailed many incidents involving her stepfather and his abusive tendencies. She also said that she'd begun self-harming.
In prior broadcasts on Davis’ social media also revealed that she was having a hard time managing life while dealing her family troubles.video-player-present
As more and more people received word of her publicized suicide, Davis’ video spread across social media.
Police were able to remove the stream from her own Facebook page, but as of now, they can do nothing to prevent the video from being shared across platforms online.
Some fear that the spreading of such a tragic video could inspire others in similar living situations to attempt copycat suicides.