Sexting Tragedy: Hope Witsell's Mother Donna on TODAY Show
In yet another sexting tragedy, reminiscent of the Jesse Logan case, Hope Witsell's mother was on the TODAY show this morning to talk about the dangers of teen sexting, and just how bad it can be for young children and teenagers now.
Hope Witsell was only 13 when she killed herself after sending a topless photo of herself to a boy she liked in her high school. Someone else intercepted the picture text and forwarded it to other students in the school. Hope soon became a victim of bullying and taunting:
"The hallways were not fun at that time — she'd walk into class and somebody would say, 'Oh, here comes the slut'," Hope’s friend, Lane James, told the newspaper.
Hope's mother Donna Witsell was on the TODAY show this morning, and she spoke about how she tried to tell her daughter that it didn't matter and that she needed to be strong and not let the taunts get to her. But Hope returned to school after the summer after being grounded by her parents, the school suspended her and removed her from a student advisor position to Future Farmers of America. She wanted to be a landscaped when she grew up.
Her classmates called her names like 'slut' and 'whore'.
Pouring out her emotions in her journal, Hope wrote: "I'm done for sure now. I can feel it in my stomach. I’m going to try and strangle myself. I hope it works."
Donna told the TODAY show that she found her daughter's body when she went to kiss her goodnight.
"Her head was hanging down. I said, 'Hope, what are you doing?' And then I realised there was a scarf around her neck."
Jesse Logan was also a victim of sexting, when she sent sexy pictures of herself to her then boyfriend when she was 18. When he broke up with her he sent the photos to the other girls in their school. Jesse Logan was attacked by others and had things thrown at her. She committed suicide in July of 2008.
Sexting is becoming more common among teenagers. It is the practice of sending sexual messages and pictures to each other on their cell phones. Passing out a nude photo of any child under the age of 18 is against child pornography laws however, whether the sender is over 18 or not.