Bullied girl, 17, hangs herself

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Oct 6, 2015

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Cape Town - A teenager committed suicide, allegedly because she was being viciously bullied at school.

Charne Roberts, 17, hanged herself with rope at home, just two days after her birthday, and was found barely alive by her shocked mom.

As Magdalene Roberts, 42, battled to save her daughter, an ambulance arrived at their Tambo Village home.

But the paramedics were of no use to her child, the heartbroken mother said, because the ambulance had no equipment in it because it was stolen.

“They told us to leave the house as they rushed inside and I asked them, but where is your equipment? They said the vehicle is empty, that they didn’t have equipment because of robberies,” she said.

“So they couldn’t do anything to save her, we had to call a second ambulance who declared her dead.

“She could still have been alive.”

Magdalene said her world fell apart three weeks ago when “bullies at her school”, Silverstream High, drove Charne to take a rope and hang herself.

She said she even warned the principal of her daughter’s battle, but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

Charne’s 16-year-old sister Stacey says the trouble started last year when a clique of girls started targeting her.

“They would say she’s sleeping around with a lot of guys, and called her names. Charne confided in me and asked me to tell their parents, and that’s also when they gave Charne a blue eye,” she said.

The bullying continued this year and apparently got worse just before Charne’s death.

Two days after her birthday, on September 14, Magdalene found Charne hanging from a rope in their bathroom.

Magdalene said: “We had been knocking and calling at the door and she looked like someone who was standing [on the toilet].

“I kicked open the door when I saw the rope around her neck. I took her down and placed her on the bed and she was still breathing.”

The grieving mother vowed her daughter’s death would not be in vain, and as the world marks National Bullying Prevention Awareness this month, she is questioning all role players “who have failed Charne”.

She said: “Two days after my daughter died, the principal came to my home to offer condolences. I told him, do you remember when I came to your office, I asked you then what will you do if my child commits suicide?”

“I know it is because of the bullying that she did it,” she added.

She also wants the Department of Health to explain why defective ambulances are sent out to emergencies.

Robert Daniels, of the Western Cape health department, said that an investigation will take place: “I’ve submitted the allegations and I am awaiting a response.”

Jessica Shelver, of the Western Cape Education Department, said that an investigation will have to wait until school reopens next week.

Daily Voice

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