Australia's bullying epidemic is finally being exposed. Desperate pleas from a 12 year old girl and a grieving mum whose daughter was bullied to death is putting the issue on the agenda.
It's even inspired SBS journalist Patrick Abboud to air a special investigation: "I was severely bullied at school and Tayla's story really resonated with me because of my own experience."
The piece is heart-wrenching – and the scale of bullying is shocking. But this expose wouldn't of happened without the bravery of Tayla and Melinda in speaking up. Watch the story:
3 people die every week in Australia due to bullying. Melinda Graham is speaking out about her daughter Jessica being bullied to death last Christmas. She was just 14 years old.
“I remember it like it was yesterday. We arrived home to silence with Pepsi (Jessie’s dog) laying on her bed and what came next was unimaginable. Jack and I were about to find my baby chook gone. She left us. There was no life left.” Melinda says.
Melinda says this crisis demands a response from politicians – and 30,000 people have signed her petition calling for new anti-bullying laws.
“Bullying pushed my baby over the edge. Jessie got bullied to the extent that threatening messages - death threats - were actually sent to myself and my daughter. They would ring her, say horrible things, then hang up. We need to stand up and do what we can and keep fighting to stop bullies from doing what they do without consequence.
“I am angry and hurt and a lot of other things - my life will never be the same. I will continue to fight for Jessie. Each and every day I will get up and keep going to fight to criminalise bullying in Australia - to stop the perpetrators of this awful crime for getting away with it.”
Tens of thousands of people are joining campaigns to end bullying in Australian schools on Change.org - find them here as part of Melinda's wider movement on Change.org.