She was 12 years old when she decided life was not worth living. Twelve. So a week ago today, Gabrielle Molina of Queens Village hanged herself with a belt from the ceiling fan in her room. Individual tragedies don’t get much worse than that.
And what was it that drove poor Gabrielle to her fate? She was being bullied online, by other kids mocking her over a breakup and the fact that, like an apparently rising number of girls in pain, had taken to cutting herself.
Cyberbullying, committed without the face-to-face contact of the traditional kind, “turns the child into a piece of paper,” in the words of Queens College Associate Professor of Psychology Yoko Nomura, dehumanizing the victim and allowing the tormenter to go even further overboard.
Gabrielle’s death reminds us that parents must monitor what their children are doing online, as difficult as that is. Those who need help, or just more understanding of the issue, can also visit the website stopcyberbullying.org. for information.