A 16-year-old in England killed herself in 2015 after years of online bullying over her sexuality and now her father is speaking out.
Julia Derbyshire came out to a friend at the age of 12. That friend then spread the news around school, at which point Julia was subjected to years of bullying. Four years later, she hung herself.
“She was spat on, there was name calling. It was physical as well as psychological,” her father, Adrian Derbyshire, has said. “It escalated and Julia started self-harming to cope with the bullies.”
“But she couldn’t get away with it as she was being bullied in her own bedroom because of the internet.”
Adrian has since released photos of his daughter on a hospital ventilator to raise awareness of bullying. He chose to release them on March 8 – what would’ve been Julia’s 18th birthday. It was only this week that he revealed his daughter’s sexuality.
Not even a change in continents stopped Julia’s bullies. She and her family moved to Missouri when she was four and stayed there until she was 14 and already being bullied. But when her parents’ marriage ended and her father found out about the bullying, she was moved back to England. The bullying followed her online.
“She had just turned 14 and she came over very damaged. The first thing I did was show her unconditional love,” her father said.
“She wanted to speak to [the bullies] and get them to like her for who she was.”
“We gave her the confidence to go back to the haters to stick up for herself and others – but it was too much too soon.”
“I did not have long enough and if we had a couple more years she would have got through this.”
He says he’s received over 10,000 messages from across the world, and that he’s also been in contact with a United Nations representative.
“There are kids who are getting bullied and they are sitting next to their parents at the dinner table with the iPad and being bullied,” he said.
“No parent, family or friend should ever go through the devastation and loss I have – we all have.”