The grief-stricken parents of a young girl who ended her life after years of bullying have revealed how their daughter’s life could have been saved in just 12 minutes.
Murray and Emma Mason have spoken of their unimaginable grief after losing their eldest daughter Matilda ‘Tilly’ Rosewarne, 15, to suicide seven weeks ago.
The couple told 60 Minutes their ‘easy kid’ with a big giggle and cheeky nature had been the target of schoolyard bullies since she was a small child.
However, it was the circulation of a pornographic image, falsely said to be Tilly, on the app Snapchat that finally broke their daughter’s spirit.
Tilly (pictured) was found dead by her father near her old cubby house at the family’s home in Bathurst, in the central west of NSW, on the morning of February 16
Her concerned parents had watched as their bright and cheerful daughter had begun to struggle to socialise, not even able to share a meal with her family.
Following the Snapchat incident Tilly was moved to a new school, but because of how rapidly the image had circulated she continued to be targeted by bullies.
Ms Mason said her daughter ‘never got over’ the fake pornographic image and said it had meant she had been unable to fit in to her new school or community.
The desperate couple did everything they could to stop the image from continuing to circulate online, they reported it to Bathurst Police and Tilly’s school.
However, they were told nothing could be done and that it was the responsibility of the social media giant Snapchat to remove the explicit image.
The couple later discovered if the incident had been reported to the eSafety Commissioner, the image could have been removed instantly.
Murray and Emma Mason (pictured) have spoken of their unimaginable grief after just seven weeks ago losing their eldest daughter Tilly, 15, to suicide
Tilly (pictured) had been the target of bullying for seven years before her death and most recently publicly humiliated by ‘fake porn’ being spread on the app Snapchat
Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner told 60 Minutes no complaint had been made.
‘We would have responded to her report within three hours, we likely would have been able to get down that content, as that content that was considered image-based abuse,’ Ms Inman Grant said.
‘If we thought that content needed to come down expeditiously, because the child was in distress, we’ve done that in as little as 12 minutes.’
The commissioner explained that as the system was complaints-based only those who reported incidents of online abuse could be helped.
‘No one is more devastated than I am that we didn’t know about this case while it was happening, because I truly believe we could have helped this child,’ she said.
Ms Mason said her daughter had undoubtedly ‘slipped through the cracks’ and that more needed to be done to prevent anything similar from happening again.
‘There’s so many things that could’ve saved Tilly,’ she said.
‘Part of it is a lack of power for schools, a lack of power for police to investigate these sorts of things, knowledge even from police investigating the snapchat that the eSafety Commissioner was someone who could assit.’
The family lodged a complaint with police about the bullying at the time, but there were difficulties identifying the person who owned the Snapchat account and the investigation was dropped.
The Mason’s have called for children to take responsibility for ‘what they write’ and hope by sharing their story more can be done to police online abuse.
Tilly, a budding performer, (pictured) left her parents and two younger sisters Maggie and Molly, a final gut-wrenching note saying she loved them
Tilly’s parents Emma and Murray Mason wrote a tribute to their daughter and detailed some of the things she endured (pictured)
The 15-year-old was found dead by her father near her old cubby house at the family’s home in Bathurst, in the central west of NSW, on the morning of February 16.
Mr Mason said finding Tilly’s body on that February morning would ‘hurt forever’, with his teary wife adding that night time was particularly hard.
‘She couldn’t see a life worth living at the end. Because what life was there when people feel like they can just abort someone’s sense of self,’ Ms Mason said.
‘It begins with what you write and what you say.’
Their daughter, who was a talented performer, left her parents and two younger sisters Maggie and Molly, a final gut-wrenching note saying she loved them.
At Tilly’s farewell at Bathurst Harness Racing Club, the couple told friends and family that their daughter decided to end her life as a result of catastrophic events that ‘cut into Tilly’s soul’
Tilly’s family (pictured) has been struggling after her sudden death just seven weeks ago
‘Her last written words on this planet were about love,’ Ms Rosewarne said.
At Tilly’s farewell at Bathurst Harness Racing Club, the couple told friends and family that their daughter decided to end her life as a result of catastrophic events that ‘cut into Tilly’s soul’.
‘Every post you write, every image you share, every word you say has an impact,’ they wrote in her funeral booklet.
‘We beg you, before you post, share or speak – ask yourself, is it true? Is it kind? It is necessary?’
‘If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions, do not post, do not share, do not speak.’
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