On April 16th, 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-River Falls student Alyssa Funke committed suicide. In the weeks prior, she'd suffered an avalanche of threats and bullying from former high school classmates. But police are eager to blame pornography — and not online harassment — for her suicide.
When Funke was 18, she starred in an installment of "Casting Couch," a series of an adult films with a fairly self-explanatory title. Once the title was posted online, according to The Daily Dot, it didn't take long for her old high school classmates to find it and start harassing her.
Funke started receiving threatening messages from her former classmates at Stillwater High School in Minnesota. One student tweeted, "Wow your a thot," which means slut. Another wrote: "Nothing brings a school together like a porn star who graduated last year. I guess you could say news spreads fast here at Stillwater hahah."
Funke, who was a straight-A college freshman, initially reacted to the taunts as though she felt empowered by them. But after a few days of defiant Tweets, she bought herself a shotgun, took it into her family's boat, and took her life. She left behind 9 brothers and sisters, and many grief-stricken friends.
Despite the obvious correlation between the harassment Funke faced and her suicide, police concluded that what happened to her didn't constitute "harassment." The students who had been sending her harassing messages are current students at Stillwater High School and aren't facing disciplinary action from the school, because, according to a district spokesperson, they'd never been in trouble for cyber harassment before.
If a prior conviction of cyber harassment is necessary for a conviction of cyber harassment, then how the hell does anyone get in trouble for cyber harassment in the first place? This is the most depressing chicken-egg scenario ever.
Local media was also quick to blame porn. As part of an investigation into Funke's suicide, they conversed with a social worker who did not know or treat Funke named Joy Friedman, who had this bit of armchair psych to offer:
Friedman believes that because children are exposed to pornography at a younger age, they've become desensitized to it and don't realize that the decision to do porn today could follow them for a lifetime.
"This is permanent, she can't erase this. Now, it goes into your family, it goes into your friends, it goes into your career," Friedman said. "In the future, this is what you're known for and this is who you're labeled as. That affects you."
The man in the video asked Alyssa if she had a normal childhood. She said yes, but Friedman didn't buy that either.
"I bet if we had to go back and pull back the layers of what happened for her, I imagine we'd find something dysfunctional in her past," Friedman said. [...]
"The fact is: If this is such a glamorous, okay job/lifestyle/career, why'd she kill herself?" Friedman asked.
I dunno... because the fuckos in her old high school are garbage teens who probably have awful parents who didn't teach them that it's not okay to harass people for their own personal conduct and choices? Just a guess!
Stillwater, incidentally, is in an area of Minnesota that bears the unfortunate distinction of being populated by sanctimonious teen assholes and the parents who raised them to be terrible. Michele Bachmann calls that town — which I've described as a "collectible ice cream tin filled with spiders" — home. And from 2009-2011, nine students from neighboring Anoka-Hennepin School District committed suicide. Many of them were victims of bullying.
But, sure. Let's go ahead and blame porn for this one.