Grieving father posts pictures of his dead daughter to stop bullying
Born in the UK, Julia Derbyshire moved to the United States at age four. Early in her teenage years, she was bullied online. The situation got so bad that her father decided to move the family back to the UK.
Life went on and her father, Adrian, thought that the problem was solved.
Now that they were safely in another country, Adrian finally felt that everything would be all right. He had no idea that his daughter was still trapped in a nightmare.
Julia was still being brutally bullied online. She was very unhappy and became severely depressed. Secretly, using fake names, she was visiting websites dedicated to suicide and self-mutilation.
One evening Adrain came home to a horrible scene. He found his daughter hanging by the neck from a rope.
Julia had tried to hang herself and was already unconscious. Adrian quickly took her down and began performing CPR, but it was too late. Julia would not wake up.
She ended up in intensive care where she remained for five days on life support. It soon became clear that there was little hope and doctors told Adrian that he would have to make a difficult decision.
It was the toughest decision of his life, but Adrian knew it had to be done. He gave permission to remove Julia from life support.
Adrian took one last photo of his daughter, and then she died. She was only 16.
"I took these photos in the minutes before Julia's death and buried them on my phone until now because I didn't want to look at them and I still don't," said Adrian.
But two years later, Adrian decided to post the pictures publicly.
"Releasing these pictures is one of the hardest things I have had to do my life. Seeing the photos raised emotions back to that time and made me feel physically sick," Adrian explained.
But Adrian overcame his despair because he feels that something has to be done. He wants to raise awareness about the tragic effects of online bullying.
After his daughter's death, he founded SASSY, an anti-online bullying campaign. He hopes these pictures will help other parents who find themselves in similar situations as his.
"Instead of taking her out for champagne to celebrate her 18th birthday, I was placing flowers on her grave," he said.
Following to the release of these photos, Adrian received many encouraging messages. "The response has been very overwhelming — I have had messages from families who have lost their teenagers and children and they have thanked me for releasing the photos."
Julia's story is incredibly tragic and serves as a stark reminder of how serious the problem of online bullying really is. Thankfully her father has chosen to share his experience in the hopes that it will prevent further senseless deaths and bring a stop to the horrible harassment that some teenagers face.