MAKING THE WEB A BETTER PLACE, ONE PUBLICATION AT A TIME.

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Posted by Trini Kid - - 0 comments


Sup Travellers?! I think that most of you are very well aware of the public shaming internet trend performed by parents. It basically involves parents publicly cutting off their children's hair on video for the world to see as a form of punishment. Some people believe that it's just 21st century parenting while others believe that it's bullying to the highest extent.

I personally didn't care much about the trend. It seemed harmless AT FIRST! In Trinidad, where I'm from, parents aren't afraid to publicly shame their children. I've seen enough instances of children getting "punished" in public to know this. 

However, there is always a glitch in the system --- an unforeseen circumstance and on Friday, May 29 one family experienced that "glitch".

According to reports from Death and Taxes 13-year-old Izabel Laxamana of Tacoma, Washington committed suicide. She exited a moving vehicle and jumped off of a highway overpass. She was taken to a hospital in Seattle, where she died from her injuries.

Days before the fatal suicide, Izabel's father, Jeff, had posted a video on YouTube in which he appeared to be punishing her for an unidentified issue by forcing her to cut off her hair. The 15-second original video was later deleted, but a friend of Izabel's recorded the clip on his phone and re-uploaded it to YouTube. The video shows a young girl with a messy, freshly chopped bob, then pans to a mass of black hair on the floor as a male voice says, "The consequences of getting messed up? Man you lost all that beautiful hair. Was it worth it?"

"No," the girl responds, very quietly.

"How many times did I warn you?" the male voice asks.

"A lot," she replies, so softly you can barely hear.

Friends of Izabel have set up a website and Facebook page called "Justice For Laxamana" which cites her father's public shaming as the reason for the teen's suicide and seeks to "honor Izabel and raise awareness of the impact of the practice of public shaming."

Jack Cameron, a writer for a blog called Tacoma Stories, also emphasized the negative and catastrophic consequences of public shaming when reporting the teen's death: "There are those who believe that public shaming is an acceptable form of parenting. As this incident clearly shows, it's not. It's a form of abuse and it has consequences."

We can attribute her suicide to the public shaming video but we can't simply jump to that conclusion without the full story. Maybe she was depressed. Maybe the public shaming video was just the final straw but not the MAIN REASON. 

Just last year, she shared a Google Plus post in which she alluded to suffering from loneliness, depression and social anxiety: "I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged alot.... But what keeps me going is people like kian [a video blogger] who have gone through the same thing as me."

Meanwhile, several tribute videos honoring Laxamana have been posted on YouTube.

Rip Izabel. Her life didn't have to end this way but there's nothing that can be done about that now. All we can do is get the word out to the other parents who indulge in public shaming. Sometimes you just never know what someone is going through. Anyway, my name is Trinikid and you've just been informed.