A heartbroken mum has joined the ranks of Australian parents calling for tougher anti-bullying regulations after living in fear her 11-year-old daughter could take her own life - because cruel bullies 'told her to kill herself’ over her thick eyebrows.
Mum-of-two Aimee Cowen, 34, from Hobart, Tasmania, was horrified when daughter Halle confessed schoolmates had sent her a Snapchat video telling her ‘you’re ugly, you have a monobrow’ and ‘you should just go and kill yourself’.
The distraught single mum claims her daughter has been the subject of ‘cruel and relentless’ bullying for about a year, which she said all began with kids taunting Halle because of her brows.
Aimee, from Hobart, Tasmania, has revealed for months her daughter heartbreakingly told her ‘mum – I don’t want to live anymore. I want to kill myself’.
Aimee has now launched a campaign to challenge Australian schools on how bullying is dealt with after another youngster, 14-year-old hat model Dolly Everett, killed herself in Katherine in the Northern Territory earlier this year after also allegedly being taunted by bullies.
Halle’s school, which Aimee does not want to name, said it ‘does not tolerate bullying in any form’ and is committed to ensuring a safe environment.
‘Throughout Halle’s time at primary school there were a few little incidents of bullying here and there, but nothing too serious,’ Aimee, who is also mum to Bree, seven, said.
‘I didn’t see any major changes in Halle until last year, but I just put all the mood swings down to hormones and getting older.
‘But one day I asked her to clean her room and she had a complete meltdown, saying ‘you don’t know what I’m going through mum’.
‘Halle told me that she was being bullied every day. It all started with her eyebrows. Kids would taunt her and make fun of her because of them.
‘Boys would tell her that they would be her boyfriend if she ‘got rid of the monobrow’.
“Then kids would tell her she couldn’t play with them or touch their football because she had germs.
‘It’s just so horrible. She was coming home in tears every single day.
‘Then she started saying that she didn’t want to live anymore and that she wanted to kill herself.
‘To hear that someone has told my child to go and kill themselves is absolutely soul destroying.
‘She was thought that it was the only way that she was going to get rid of the bullies.’
However, the mum said she is ‘hopeful’ for change after some of the alleged bullies came forward and apologised to Halle.
‘There just needs to be more regulation from parents and schools, and constant monitoring of these kid’s social media accounts. Bullying doesn’t just end in the schoolyard anymore,' she said.
What's being done?
A spokesperson from the Tasmanian Department of Education, speaking on behalf of Halle’s school, said: ‘Senior staff leaders at the school are committed to ensuring a safe and caring environment and working to support all learners and their families
‘The school’s policy against bullying, which is fully endorsed by the school association, takes a clear and coherent stand against bullying, and states that the school ‘does not tolerate bullying in any form’.
‘The policy clearly outlines a range of responsibilities and actions that the school, students and parents are committed to.
‘The school has also established a number of successful partnerships with external, community-based supports to further extend the reach of their work to support student wellbeing.’
If you or someone you know has been affected by the issues raised in this story, help is available from Lifeline on 13 11 14