Rosalie Avila, a 13-year-old girl from California with a beautiful, bright smile and dreams of becoming a lawyer, died by suicide after being bullied. Now her family is speaking out about the dangers of bullying.
The child’s death is but the latest in a string of bullying-related deaths of children or teenagers throughout the United States. Many of those deaths are linked to social media or cyber bullying. “My daughter is a victim of bullying. She was a beautiful person inside and out,” Rosalie Avila’s family wrote on a GoFundMe page to raise money for her funeral and medical expenses. Rosalie was from Calimesa, California.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rosalie’s Father Found Her Hanging in Her Room & the Family Discovered Writings About Bullying
The little girl’s death was horrifically sad. Her father has told the news media that he discovered the child hanging in her bedroom. “My daughter had the whole world,” her father, Freddie Avila said, emotionally. “Now, I just have to think about what she could have done or what she could have become. Now it’s just a memory.” He described, “I woke up and there was screaming. I had to find my daughter hanging in her room.”
The family later discovered a suicide note from Rosalie. “She left behind a letter apologizing and mentioned that she was ‘ugly’ and a ‘loser.’ Rosalie was taken to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital in extremely critical condition. She was taken off life support on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017,” reported NBC Miami.
2. Rosalie Was a Good Artist Who Wanted to Be a Lawyer
Rosalie’s family’s GoFundMe page revealed the child’s dreams were big. She was a talented artist who dreamed of becoming a lawyer someday. Tragically, her potential will now never be realized. The family included the above photo with the GoFundMe page; it appears to show the girl in the hospital. She lived a short time.
“She was a great artist, very lovable & loving. Her smile would light up the whole room with her laughter. She’s very smart and always had good grades. She loved the beach & liked going out to the snow. Rosalie had a great personality and was very funny,” the family wrote.
Rosalie enjoyed reading and “liked dressing up as her favorite characters like ‘Belle’ from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ & Stitch. She liked watching ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Stranger Things,’ & ‘Meet the Fosters.’ She always remembered her friends birthdays and would go out of her way to get them a gift. She truly cared about people,” the page says.
“She loved to drink hot cocoa while she watched her favorite shows or movies. She’s loved by so many people & by her family. She was daddy’s girl and mommy’s princess. She wanted to be a lawyer and wanted to help the world to be a better place. The world lost a treasure. We ask kindly with any donations from anyone willing to help us to bury our beloved daughter and with medical expenses for Rosalie Avila, From an unexpected tragic lost. We thank you all for your support and blessings.”
3. Rosalie’s School Held a Candlelight Vigil & Deployed Crisis Counselors
In a statement on its website, Rosalie’s school, Mesa View Middle School, confirmed her death, writing, “It is with great sadness that we send this message to share that one of our young Mesa View Mustang students has passed away. No one can fathom the heartbreak and confusion that we are certain many of our students and families are feeling right now.”
Crisis counselors “have been deployed to our schools, and are available for any student who feels he or she needs to talk with someone as they struggle to cope with their feelings. Please talk with your children as you feel is appropriate. There are resources on the district web site available for your support,” the school wrote. “In recognition of the Mesa View student’s life and support to the family, a candlelight vigil will be held this evening, December 1st at 6:00 pm at the Sanctuary Church located on the Mesa View Middle School campus, 800 Mustang Way, Calimesa.”
4. The Child’s Family Says She was Bullied for Two Years Before Taking Her Life
The bullying that Rosalie Avila suffered was sustained over a two-year period, her family said. Her mother, Charlene Avila, has described her daughter’s torment to the news media. “She kept a journal or a diary of the people who hurt her and people that called her ugly and just putting her down,” Charlene Avila said, according to ABC 7, adding that Rosalie had cut her wrists in the past.
“I remember a couple nights she’d come home, telling me that the kids are calling her names about her teeth. I go, ‘You have braces, honey, don’t worry. The braces are going to come off,’ and she said, ‘Yeah, but my teeth are straight and they’re still making fun of me,'” her father said, the television station reported.
Charlene Avila said that social media is part of the problem. “We had her in counseling, but I really feel like social media is such a big thing on kids,” Charlene added, according to the television station. “I think kids don’t have the maturity to handle it.”
5. Other Children Have Died by Suicide After Being Bullied
Mallory Grossman was a beautiful 12-year-old girl from New Jersey with a memorable smile who loved cheerleading and once made jewelry to help children with cancer. She also was allegedly being bullied on Snapchat and other platforms, according to News 4. The same day her mother complained about the alleged bullying to the school, Mallory died suddenly, according to NBC New York. Her family has now revealed that she died by suicide.
In Canada, Jolynn Winter, Chantel Fox and Jenera Roundsky, all 12, died by suicide since January 2017 in what was a possible suicide pact in Wapekeka, an aboriginal community. In 2016, Katelyn Nicole Davis, of Polk County, Ga., streamed her suicide on social media. She was also 12. Gabriel Taye, an 8-year-old Ohio boy, also died by suicide after being bullied.
A Pennsylvania family has written an emotional, heart-wrenching obituary for Sadie Riggs, a 15-year-old girl who hung herself after being tormented by bullies. Sadie was from Bedford, Pennsylvania, and her family decided to make a statement against bullies in the heartbreaking obit.
Her death is highlighting the growing concerns of bullying among young people in a social media driven society, and family members hope Sadie’s suicide will start a movement against bullying. Wrote one woman on Facebook after reading the widely shared obit: “Didn’t know Sadie, but after reading her obituary I have tears in my eyes. Her life mattered. We must cause change! We must treat others with kindness. We must teach our children that our words matter. This philosophy is so simple, yet as a society we are obviously failing.”
In California, a 10-year-old died by suicide after a video of her fighting with classmates went viral on the app Musical.ly. Ashawnty Davis was on life support for two weeks after her family found her hanging inside of her closet.