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'I'm in hell': cruel twist in case of alleged sexual assault, cyber-bullying and suicide

Maria L. La Ganga and Kate Mather (via Los Angeles Times/ SMH) | April 19, 2013

At Saratoga High, the original assertion that the whole school knew about events that unfolded at a party attended by about a dozen young people left some students angry.

In a posting on the San Jose Mercury News website, student Angela Luu said that "by stating that the pictures went on Facebook or went 'viral', the media has falsely depicted Saratoga High as a heartless community that would laugh at the victim and sympathise with the abusers".

"We are NOT like that," she wrote. "We could have helped her, but we didn't know what was going on."

It was the school's newspaper, the Saratoga Falcon, that first reported about 10 students on the campus of about 1400 had been shown an image of Audrie at what Mr Allard described as her most "vulnerable".

On Monday, the Falcon's student editors posted a message on their newspaper site saying that, even though the picture had not been widely distributed, it still constituted cyber-bullying because Audrie believed it was.

Which, said cyber-bullying expert Brendesha Tynes, is exactly the point.

"If a teenager felt that everyone else had that negative perception of them," said Tynes, an associate professor at University of Southern California, "I could see it causing a person grave emotional damage, depressive symptoms, anxiety, suicidal thoughts - everything that we see Audrie Pott experiencing."

 

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