On Friday, 13-year-old Izabel Laxamana of Tacoma, Washington exited a moving vehicle and jumped off of a highway overpass, according to The News Tribune. She was taken to a hospital in Seattle, where she died from her injuries on Saturday.
Days before the fatal suicide, Izabel's father, Jeff, had posted a video on YouTube in which he appeared to be punishing her for an unidentified issue by forcing her to cut off her hair. The 15-second original video was later deleted, but a friend of Izabel's recorded the clip on his phone and re-uploaded it to YouTube. The video shows a young girl with a messy, freshly chopped bob, then pans to a mass of black hair on the floor as a male voice says, "The consequences of getting messed up? Man you lost all that beautiful hair. Was it worth it?"
"No," the girl responds, very quietly.
"How many times did I warn you?" the male voice asks.
"A lot," she replies, so softly you can barely hear.
Friends of Izabel have set up a website and Facebook page called "Justice For Laxamana" which cites her father's public shaming as the reason for the teen's suicide and seeks to "honor Izabel and raise awareness of the impact of the practice of public shaming."
Jack Cameron, a writer for a blog called Tacoma Stories,also emphasized the negative and catastrophic consequences of public shaming when reporting the teen's death: "There are those who believe that public shaming is an acceptable form of parenting. As this incident clearly shows, it's not. It's a form of abuse and it has consequences."
As Jezebel has noted, the circumstances surrounding suicide are often complicated, and since all the details surrounding the video and her death aren't clear, we don't know exactly what drove her to take her life. Last year, she shared a Google Plus post in which she alluded to suffering from loneliness, depression and social anxiety: "I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged alot.... But what keeps me going is people like kian [a video blogger] who have gone through the same thing as me."
Meanwhile, several tribute videos honoring Laxamana have been posted on YouTube.
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