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    Whose Mistake Is It, Anyway? The Izabel Laxamana suicide

    By

    June 8, 2015

    How many of us remember our first stage performance at school? The infatuation we mistook for a crush? How many of us remember our 13th birthday (threshold of teenage, eh)?

    Our first dates? Our first sip of alcohol? Our first pay check? A lot of firsts and lasts, mixed with other such milestones, make our lives memorable.

    Life is a beautiful journey. Moreover, life is what one makes it. But, what if one makes their ‘journey’ end themselves?

    Izabel Laxamana 1

    The tragedy

    Izabel Laxamana, a 13-year-old of Tacoma, Washington committed suicide. The reasons for her suicide are still dubious. It is said that, perhaps, the reason for taking a huge step like this was, because she was ‘publicly shamed’ by her father Jeff.  Her father punished her for something he disapproved of, by chopping off her hair and uploading the video of the same on YouTube.

    The Probe

    However, the police investigating Izabel’s death have said that even though her father cut her hair and recorded the incident, there is no evidence that he had committed a crime. They have also mentioned that there were a number of factors affecting her death and that hair-cutting and video uploading did not ‘have much to do with her decision to take her own life’.

    But how is it concluded whether her father was at fault or not? How is it known that even though police seemed to find him innocent, he found himself guilty?

    But, even if the father’s side of the story was known would he be considered innocent? Would he not be judged for (perhaps) taking his daughter’s life?

    Her Past

    Izabel was a troubled teenager. At Giaudrone Middle School, she was bullied. She felt lonely. She was judged and looked down upon. Following is her Google+ post thanking a particular friend for sticking around.

    I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged alot…. But what keeps me going is people like kian who have gone through the same thing as me… In a school with so many people its weird to say “i feel alone” but the truth is that you really do feel alone. So thanks for everything kian….”

    Would it now be concluded that Izabel’s death was because of her father’s way of punishment or because of the loneliness in her life? Would Izabel be considered a coward for running away from life without tackling her problems or would she be considered a burdened soul who had no option but to take her own life?

    You, Me and Suicide

    This not just about one Izabel, it is about all the teenagers of the 21st century. Suicide is the second leading cause of deaths between the ages of 10-24.

    Is committing suicide the only solution for all our problems? What Izabel did was right? Or what her father did was right? Who is at fault?

    Personally, I think incidents of suicides are two way roads, only one side should never be blamed. If Izabel’s father wanted to teach her a lesson, he should have thought of something more private, like sitting and talking to her about his concerns for her and share each others’ problems instead of publicly embarrassing her. However, Izabel should have opted for a less impactful way of getting through this and she should have discussed this with someone at least if not her parents.

    If you feel there is something that is troubling you, and you need to discuss it with someone contact AASRA on their 24*7 helpline – + 91-22-27546669. Let not one mistake, take away from you your memorable firsts and lasts.

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    Tell us what you felt went wrong in this tragic case of a teenager’s death. Let’s talk more about this so we do our bit to reduce such cases.

    RIP Izabel Laxamana. The sacrifice of your life shall save hundreds of life.

    Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.

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    • Saurabh Sood

      Her father chose the wrong way to punish her.. True.. But many parents do that.. And even though children don’t like it at all, they must and many do realise that at the end of the day the parents are doing what they think is best for the children…
      Also the fact that she didn’t mention her father at all in any note, nd not in the google+ post (which can be seen as smthng like a suicide note) also shows that her father wasn’t the main reason. And her father’s guilt is very much understandable.. Parents mostly end up blaming themself if their child does smthng like this.. They keep on thinking perhaps they went too hard on them, but even though they were too harsh but this may not be cited as a reason for suicide (except some exceptions).. Life is harsh many times, but that doesn’t mean you give up.. These very parents are the one who give their children so much love…
      And well, even though it is trend that once someone dies he suddenly becomes hero, martyr, superman and everything; but facing the fact suicide is an act of cowardice. It means you are giving up. You may say, how can I say smthng like this, I am being insensitive.. But I am not denying any of the hardship they went through.. All I am saying is when you get so scared of a situation, or try to run away so much that you find it easier to take your own life then it is an act of cowardice… However pls note what I wrote… I wrote taking one’s life is an act of cowardice if you do so to run away from problems… However not every act of taking one’s life may be cnsdrd a coward one.. Like ‘Jauhar’ where ladies jumped into fire to save their own honour, there they took the only step they saw they could take to save their honour. They didn’t run away from their problem, rather they were so keen on finding the solution to it (problem being saving their honour) that they even gave their lives for it.. I hope this example did make clear how that suicide was an act of cowardice.. There is a fine line between the two acts, but the line makes hell of a difference

      • Bhavya Shrivastava

        Thank you Mr Sood. Your comment really put across the aim of the article in brief. Suicides are not the solutions to problems. There’s always a way out. And we should help people who suffer from such problems by providing them any guidance in our capacity.

        Thanks once again, Sir! :)

      • djeep

        An act of cowardice….really? A thirteen year old girl that is bullied at school and at home, and is shamed so much by her own parents that she is without hope is a coward? How much more insensitive can you get?
        In fact it is the cultural gap that is what is at play here. The culture gap between the east and the west. You see a young woman that was supposed to uphold the honor of her family no matter what. Now her family and especially her father is shamed because of her death and you blame her for that.
        I see a desperate young girl, cornered by the bullying from all sides, lacking persons to trust and blamed and shamed to death by her own parents. The father was probably trying to break her once and for all by all the excessive punishments for what was after all a pretty innocent selfie.
        Who is right? Maybe we both are. But the fact that she was growing up in the west, that she was american, tells me that she should not have been confronted with 19th century asian education style