Posts on Gympie Facebook page make light of Dolly's suicide
POSTS in a Gympie Facebook group have been condemned by several of its members, after making light, and even mocking, the recent suicide of teenager Dolly Everett.
Gympie Whinge, Vent and Trolls, as the name suggests, is a self-described "whinge group", with its description welcoming "controversial matters, but don't whinge when you don't like the comments".
With more than 3800 members, it has a no-holds-barred approach to discussion and debate, including the most offensive language and topics of conversation.
The rules prohibit "naming and shaming" and personal threats, with the addendum that "Admins will remove comments that break the rules or posts we don't think are appropriate".
Comments about Dolly Everett drew heated responses from fellow group members.
"Was Dolly the sheep they cloned?" said a group member, replying to a post telling him to "pull his f****ing head in".
"You're a jerk to mock this," another commenter said.
"I seriously recommend you get off Facebook for a while mate and realise what goes on out of your four walls."
When another commenter made a plead for empathy, disagreeing that people who took their own lives were "weak", another added, "Yeah but she's dead so go for it."
Senior clinical advisor at Headspace Nick Duigan said bullies and trolls are often at risk of harm themselves.
He warned against online vigilantism or retribution.
"People who partake in this behaviour are often victims of bullying themselves," he said.
"While bullying should never be condoned, acts of retribution or attacks against perpetrators can also have a devastating effect."
The Gympie Times contacted an administrator of the group, and one member accused of making the insensitive remarks for comment. Neither responded.
The administrator alerted the group to The Gympie Times' request - and suggested any grievances be handled in-group.
"u (sic) have a f***ing issue, message me or f*** off," the administrator wrote yesterday afternoon.
Mr Duigan said while cyberbullying had a potent effect on victims, to list it as a singular cause for suicide or self-harm would be a dangerous misunderstanding.
"Cyberbullying or trolling is often linked to similar actions in real-life," he said.
"Suicidal thoughts are often incredibly complex and multi-faceted."
Mr Duigan urged victims of bullying to report and document instances of bullying online, to take a measured approach and not engage with bullies.
Similarly, he added parents and caregivers to be observant of changes in behaviour or mood with young people who may be experiencing bullying.
If you, or anyone you know is seeking support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.