Amongst the anger, sadness and public outcry that followed Amanda Todd’s suicide has come a sad song offering a simple message of hope.
At least that’s what its composer, Leah de Zeeuw, 14, hopes will come of her four-minute tune, Loneliness.
“I saw her story and it really moved me,” said de Zeeuw, a student at Sa-Hali secondary. “I saw a girl my age who had taken her life because of bullying and it needs to be spoken about.”
De Zeeuw decided to speak through song, capturing how Todd and countless other victims of bullying feel — herself included.
It’s a terrible feeling, she said, one that makes the victim feel like he or she is alone, which is where the song’s title and message comes from.
“I wanted to show how she felt and put people in her shoes. I think people were getting the story but weren’t thinking about how she was feeling,” she said.
Todd, 15, took her own life last week after enduring years of Internet sexual exploitation and bullying by her peers.
A month before she died, Todd posted a video on YouTube that described the webcam incident that set her down a path of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol abuse.
De Zeeuw heard about Todd’s death on Facebook and watched the video, which she called heartbreaking. She said the video is what pushed the story so far into the public consciousness.
She doesn’t believe bullies realize the harm they are doing, nor are they concerned about the consequences. De Zeeuw wanted to do something about that.
“If more people talked about it, then more people would get angry and try and put a stop to it,” said de Zeeuw, adding she hopes the song will also encourage victims to stand up for themselves.
“If people are upset in their own situation, they don’t realize that they’re not alone and can stop it.”
She posted her song to YouTube and it quickly caught on at her school and in the media. De Zeeuw said she’s glad Loneliness is having an impact.
So is her dad, Patrick de Zeeuw. He’s proud of his daughter for composing the song and hopes it makes just one person think twice about bullying.
And if someone is being bullied, maybe Loneliness will help him or her speak out and take a stand, he said.
The video has also struck a chord within the Kamloops-Thompson School District. Assistant superintendent Karl deBruijn said de Zeeuw’s song is thought provoking and brings attention to an important subject.
“Good for her for using her talents to get that message out,” she said.
De Zeeuw used to live in Maple Ridge and has relatives who went to the same school as Todd.