MDI Comment: In the UK, the father of a 15-year-old girl who was found hanging in a wood blames the pressures of social media and the internet for putting some teenagers under intolerable strain, adding that one of the strains his daughter was suffering from was that she was insecure about her looks. This highly upsetting incident is an example of why Muslim women believe they should cover and dress modestly. One of the reasons for Muslim women to cover their beauty is to minimise feelings of insecurity based on looks (that is caused by the objectification of women), by reducing superficial competition between women, and ascribing to women a value that is not as random and fading as beauty, but that lies in her morals and character instead.
A “beautiful” and “talented” schoolgirl hanged herself because she could not cope with the “21st century pressures” caused by social media and mobile phones, her father has said.
The family of 15-year-old Olivia Glennie said they had no idea anything was wrong before her death and warned parents of teenagers they need to be more aware of the danger signs.
Her father Alex said the pressures of 24-hour communication by text message, Facebook updates and the internet mean that many teenagers are faced with “too much, too young”.
His daughter was found hanging from a tree in woods near her Huddersfield home in September by a dog walker. She was given resuscitation treatment and taken to hospital but died five days later.
Bright and popular, Olivia was outwardly happy but was hiding insecurities about her boyfriend, her friends and her looks, an inquest into her death was told.
Her family said they were unaware of her anguish as she “had everything to live for” and had enjoyed her sister Lucy’s wedding just days before.
Mr Glennie, 51, a contracts manager, told the Daily Mail: “I can’t say what was going through her mind, I don’t think anybody in this world can.
“Maybe people need to be more aware of the signs with teenagers in this day and age. With the internet and mobile phones and Facebook, I think they are getting too much, too young. It’s a cultural change.
“Children are growing up so quickly. They have a lot of pressures, these 21st century pressures.”
Mr Glennie said his daughter, who was 6ft 1in, could have been a model but was insecure about her looks. “She would say to me, ‘Dad, I’ve got too many spots’,” he said. “I have photographs of her with no makeup on and she still looks beautiful.”
A statement from Olivia’s mother, Diane, 49, was read to the inquest in Huddersfield. She said: “To be told that our beautiful daughter would not pull through brought unimaginable pain, all our hopes and dreams for her were shattered.
“She must have been in a really dark place at that time. This is something, as a mother, I wish I could have helped her with.”
The inquest also heard from Olivia’s friends that she was upset about splitting from her on-off boyfriend and had fallen out with a close friend. One friend was aware she had been self-harming by cutting her hip, but her parents did not know. Friends had been supportive and did not suspect she was suicidal.
Olivia had taken her French and history GCSEs early and was expecting A* and A grades in a further ten subjects. She had hoped to go to university and become a teacher.
Her organs were donated, as she had requested, and her family recently received a letter saying she had helped save the lives of three people: a 14-year-old girl, a woman in her 20s and a man in his 30s whose successful kidney transplant has enabled him to take his first holiday abroad.
Mr Glennie said: “She will be living on in somebody else. That is comforting to know.”
Concluding the inquest, assistant coroner Mary Burke said Olivia “had everyday issues that you would expect with a teen growing up”.
She added: “She was a 15-year-old girl with a complex range of ever-increasing pressures and stresses which face adolescents in their daily lives.”
Recording a narrative verdict, the coroner said she had doubts Olivia intended to take her own life and may have believed she would be found earlier.
After the inquest, Mr and Mrs Glennie said their daughter’s large circle of friends remain in touch with the family and still visit for a chat.
Mother-of-three Mrs Glennie said: “We like to say to them if you have anything going on in your head and you need to talk it out you can.
“Our house was always full of Livvie’s friends, male and female. We enjoyed entertaining her friends and having a house full of music and laughter. “
She added: “We are absolutely devastated at the death of our beautiful daughter. We just carry on the best we can.”
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