TRURO – A Truro woman whose daughter took her own life after enduring senseless bullying is speaking out in the wake of Rehtaeh Parsons’s death.
In January 2011, Jenna Bowers Bryanton, 15, committed suicide after being bullied and cyberbullied by her peers.
“It was pretty bad…telling her that she was no good, fat, ugly and calling her derogatory names,” said mother Pamela Murchison.
“It takes a lot to try and pull yourself back together after you lose a child. It’s a hard job,” she said as her eyes welled with tears.
When Murchison heard the news of Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17-year-old Cole Harbour girl who took her own life as a result of bullying stemming from an alleged sexual assault, old wounds reappeared.
“My heart broke. It just broke all over again. When I saw the story on the news, I just cried,” she said.
Murchison says she’s upset that young teens feel like they have no other option and believes law enforcement needs to take stronger action against bullies; she suggests taking away a bully’s Internet access or confiscating his or her cell phone.
The mother, who describes Jenna as kind and outgoing, says life without her daughter has been difficult.
“I don’t sleep a lot. I haven’t slept a lot since Jenna died. I miss so much about her,” she said. “Every night when you go to bed, the last picture I have is the last picture I have of her and it’s not a very pretty picture.”
“It’s just a devastating loss that there are no words to describe.”
But she says speaking out about her daughter has helped her cope. Murchison has been holding presentations on bullying, cyberbullying and adolescent depression, which Jenna suffered from, for the past two years ago. She says most of the time there would be about three parents in the audience. But this past Thursday, in the wake of Rehtaeh Parsons’ death, she said that number was closer to 50.
Murchison wants to give the Parsons family room to breathe but extends the following message: “I just want them to know I’m here and I understand. My arms and home are always open to them.”
“It’s really sad that we have to part of a group that has to deal with the loss of a child that is so senseless.”
She says she hopes that people recognize that her daughter and Rehtaeh Parsons were so much more than the way they died. And she hopes that young teens realize there are options out there for when they feel helpless.
“Please, please don’t do what these girls did. There are ways out. There are people to talk to.”