When Amy “Dolly” Everett was 6-years-old, she got an opportunity that would change her life forever.
The cute little girl was offered a modelling contract and photographed in a big Akubra hat. The iconic Australian hats are a symbol of the unspoilt wilderness of the country.
Dolly soon became the face of the company, with images of her spread throughout Australia.
Sadly, the fame came at a high price – one no one should have to pay.
At the age of 14, Dolly took her own life.
Dolly was subjected to brutal and intense bullying. The harassment spread like wildfire on the internet – in ways that were difficult for the adults in Dolly’s vicinity to detect.
What her parents did notice, however, was that Dolly changed from being “the world’s funniest little girl” to an anxious and nervy teenager who barely spoke to others and didn’t want to attend school.
According to her mother Kate, Dolly had received several insults from boys calling her a “slut”.
“I don’t know whether 12 year olds even know what that means, they shouldn’t,” she told News.au.
“I used to tell her: ‘It will get better, you’ll fit in. Everybody’s trying to fit in and they’re just working out their pecking order. Try not to be mean’.”
Because Dolly was raised on a farm, far out in the country side, she already had a tendency to feel isolated. The bullies on the internet only made the situation worse.
Her father, Tick Everett, said his daughter wanted to escape from the world.
Tragically, Dolly committed suicide on the night of January 3, 2018.
The parents describe it as the “longest night” of their lives; it was all they could do to hold their lifeless daughter in their arms until an ambulance arrived. It took hours, because the family lived so far away.
Mere days after the suicide, Tick wrote a long and emotional message about Dolly’s life on Facebook.
The father thanked others for their support, but also took the opportunity to fire a message at the young people who pushed his daughter to suicide.
“This week has been an example of how social media should be used, it has also been an example of how it shouldn’t be. If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted,” he wrote.
Dolly was described as a “caring, beautiful soul”. Her family also added a painting that Dolly herself had done – one of a skinny figure bent over backwards.
Aiming at bullying
The message under the painting reads: “Talk, even if your voice shakes.”
According to her dad: “This powerful message tells us about the dark, scary place our beautiful angel had travelled to.”
Tick also had a brutally honest message designed to give a lesson to his daughter’s tormenters. He wrote on Facebook: “If by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created.”
He continued by trying to rally the “strong ones”, encouraging them not to let bullying win, and reminding others they must work together to put an end to it once and for all.
The company Akruba Hats, who made Dolly the face of their company, said in a statement that they were “shocked”. They’ve gotten onboard with the campaign to help spread awareness regarding bullying.
The Everett family, meanwhile, have created a foundation in Dolly’s name called Dolly’s Dream. The foundation aims to support charities and contribute to positive changes.
The foundation’s Facebook page has been flooded by tributes to Dolly and her dream for a better world.
Being able to show so much strength during this tragic time is an incredible feat by this family.
No one should ever have to bury a child because of bullying, but sadly it’s a problem that exists at large.
Please share Dolly’s tragic story to highlight the importance of this topic and help us make everyone aware of the consequences of remaining silent.
If we can get more people to read this story then perhaps we can avoid more suicides in the future.