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Sexting Shame & Suicide
Illustration by Jesse Lenz
O n the final day’s her life, Audrie Pott wandered through a crucible of teenage torment. A curvaceous sophomore at Saratoga senior high school, dressed up in the cool-girl’s uniform of the low-cut top and supershort dress, she seemed exactly like constantly, but inside she had been quivering with humiliation. When you look at the week since college had started, girls have been offering her appearance, and dudes had congregated around phones, smirking. On Twitter, messages had been pinging into her inbox, each one of these delivering another gut punch: “shit went down ahah jk i bet u currently got enough ppl talking about camhub.com any of it so ill keep it to myself haha…. ”
“honestly like really no light hearted matter everybody else knows…. ”
“u had been one horny mofo. ”
A grownup monitor handed her a dress-code violation – her dress had been too brief – despite the fact that all of the girls in her own class dressed that way and monitors seldom objected. She cut exactly exactly just what classes she could, blowing down chemistry for 2 times in a row, looking to prevent confrontations with disapproving girlfriends. Then Kathy Atabakhsh, certainly one of her close friends, tore she was, of becoming a different person into her on the school quad, accusing her of drinking, of forgetting who. “She was in fact, literally, the very best individual you can satisfy – constantly honest and trustworthy, ” Kathy says, recalling the episode nearly per year later. “And I was therefore upset that she had changed. It had been hard for her to know that from a detailed buddy. ” She recalls the final terms she thought to Audrie. “You need certainly to get back to truth, ” Kathy informed her.
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At lunchtime, Audrie texted her mother at your workplace: “Mom, please choose me up. ” Sheila Pott, a mortgage-loan officer, asked why and whether Audrie couldn’t await her in order to complete a small business conference. Audrie had been insistent, after which stopped answering texts.
Whenever Sheila pulled up inside her vehicle later that Monday afternoon on September tenth, 2012, Audrie jumped in but stayed quiet in the drive home that is short. Sheila was familiar with her 15-year-old daughter’s emotions and stopped pushing her. They had been living alone together since Sheila had split with her boyfriend the year before, Audrie retreated to her bedroom, with its Audrey Hepburn poster and silk-upholstered window seat when they got to their ranch-style home, where. Around 20 mins passed before Sheila made a decision to check up on her child. She stepped throughout the kitchen area and along the long carpeted hallway to your restroom home Audrie’s that is adjoining space. The entranceway had been locked. Audrie did answer that is n’t. Sheila knocked and knocked once again. One thing about the silence pushed a panic key inside her. She grabbed the very first thing she can find to jimmy the lock – the tiny steel pole by the end of her phone’s earplug – and jammed it to the doorknob. Flinging the home available, she confronted a sight now completely etched inside her memory. Into the bathroom that is pale-peach along with its shell-shaped sink, gold fixtures and slim tub, her only youngster had been hanging from the gear connected to the bath head, mascara streaking her face.
Sheila sprinted down the hallway, back in your kitchen, grabbed a knife and cut her daughter down, attempting to keep in mind just how to perform CPR while dialing 911. Paramedics arrived inside a minutes that are few. They restarted Audrie’s heart, nonetheless it was far too late. The girl that is brown-eyed adored horses, art and pranks would not breathe on her own again.
There clearly was no note, absolutely nothing to explain why her popular and pretty daughter had done it. Into the medical center, Sheila started retracing events that are recent to locate some clue about what may have pressed her child to simply just just take her very own life. She seriously considered Audrie’s silence that is strange the afternoon after a sleepover the weekend before. And she remembered the ink that is green noticed around her daughter’s cleavage, strange markings that Audrie had refused to explain.
S aratoga senior school, having its country-club-worthyquad, Olympic-size pool that is swimming plush tennis courts, is regarded as those affluent Ca schools US teens recognize from films and television. Found in the heart of Silicon Valley, the college houses high-achieving young ones of moms and dads working at Apple, e-bay, Netflix along with other technology corporations headquartered within 50 kilometers. In the event that Saratoga Falcons would not frequently field a fantastic soccer team, there’s consolation into the undeniable fact that each graduating class has propelled lots of children into Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Berkeley.
The summertime before her death, Audrie had started initially to alter, getting off the young kids she’d hung out with since center college. She had started initially to take in a had and little dated a somewhat older man. When she drank, the self-consciousness which had afflicted her since junior high melted away. She loosened up. Sometimes, she loosened up a whole lot.
On Labor Day week-end regarding the school that is new, Audrie’s friend, let’s call her “Sara” (lots of the young ones’ names in this tale have already been changed to guard their identities), stated her parents were away, making their white cottage-style house or apartment with its long green yard inside her care. Sara – 15, pretty, slim and that is blond Audrie had become close that summer time and were checking out a brand new world of guys, containers and tiny parties, ideally at parent-free homes, that the Saratoga children call “kickbacks. ”
That Sunday, Sara informed her moms and dads that she would definitely be resting over at Audrie’s, and Audrie informed her mother that she’d be sleeping over at Sara’s. Whenever Sheila drove Audrie to Sara’s, she assumed the girls could be investing the night within their jammies as you’re watching tv, or giggling over ice cream and Facebook. But Sara had currently texted around a dozen buddies to drop set for her kickback.
Sooner or later, 11 children turned up, most of them to sip vodka and Gatorade cocktails. Each of them belonged with their class’s clique that is popular girls dressed as provocatively as you are able to, also by the free standards of Ca high schools. “See-through shorts and thongs pulled up, shorts pulled down, ” recalls a mature woman. “That’s what the girls that are‘cool wore. ” The males they hung away with preferred a uniform locally dubbed “swagfag” – snapback hat, PacSun tank tops, knee-length chino shorts and Vans.
A kids that are few brought some containers of alcohol – rum taken from Safeway, vodka purchased for them by a grown-up at an alcohol store. They sooner or later guzzled a container of tequila that Sara’s moms and dads kept in their own personal case. The mixer of preference ended up being Gatorade, or downed right. Audrie drank most difficult of most.
When Audrie’s old middle-school friends, Kathy, Amanda Le and another girl, appeared around 9 p.m., there is no music, simply the noise of sloppy-drunk talk. Audrie had been stumbling and incoherent, taking shots and making down with various males regarding the living-room sofa. Her friends were appalled. “I never ever saw, I’d simply found out about times she had gotten drunk, ” says Kathy. “She had been therefore different than the way I knew her become. Because we had been sober, we noticed precisely what ended up being taking place, and so they didn’t understand what these were doing. ”
Sara seemed therefore trashed whenever she greeted them during the home that Kathy does not think her classmate also recognized her. “There ended up being stuff all around the tables, ” Kathy says. “Superdirty. They had meals and a bunch that is whole of every-where. Individuals falling over, walking on. Sooner or later, I became like, ‘I feel superuncomfortable, everyone’s so trashed therefore we are simply sitting right here. ’ therefore we left. ”