The Importance Of Amanda Todd's Case In Today's World (Reader Discretion Advised)

Warning: This post deals with some very sensitive topics. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

If you've been paying attention to the news over the years, you've probably come across the name Amanda Todd many times before. Her case is one I've been following fairly closely over the years.

She was the 14 year old girl, who was blackmailed by someone on Facebook to expose herself, live on camera. Little did she know, but the person who'd coaxed her into such a display, had recorded it.

Before long, she'd started receiving threatening comments on her Facebook timeline and on other social media sites she frequented. It wasn't until later that she found out that her images had been circulated through various channels, leading to her case of cyber bullying. A case which continued for years, even making its way into her in personal life until one day on October 10, 2015, she committed suicide.

Her case is one of the hallmark examples of both cyberbullying and stalking as it occurs in society. Yet in this case, it was the victim of sexual exploitation that was stalked and bullied. In other words, she'd been essentially forced into the situation, although this is a case that is currently being fought in court.

This case highlights one of the big risks with online social media, however, it is important to note that this kind of exploitation actually occurs frequently on other avenues every single day, but is most often ignored. This is simply because of the fact that most things related to the internet, especially involving such emotionally charged cases are occurring on a medium still in its infancy. Especially when it comes to law, which every day is being written in policy, statues and by precedence in the courts. Due to the internet's quickly evolving nature, some say that the legal system cannot keep up with it.

The truth is, that similar such exploitation occurs every day in just about every large city in North America right on the streets. That's not to justify Amanda Todd's fate, but rather to let people know that Amanda Todd's fate represents a much bigger problem that goes far beyond the internet and that has far reaching implications. Because for her hallmark case that involved bullying and stalking, there are thousands of young women who are trafficked every single day, as I said, in just about every large city in North America. It just doesn't get the same press.

I see Amanda's case as being the eye opener for society, to a much bigger problem and that is that we've become so accustomed to this sort of thing on the streets, that its accepted, while when someone is confronted with the idea online, they suddenly become defensive and uptight about it because its a difficult situation to talk about.

What Amanda's case represents is the doorway through which many young women are lured into sex trafficking, though the medium is very different between the internet and the streets. Blackmail and extortion are certainly tools used by traffickers seeking new talent on the street as much so as it was is a factor in the Amanda Todd case. Also, you'd find substance abuse plays a very large role in recruiting, almost always taking advantage of young women who are desperately in need. Ie, they have nowhere else to turn.

What really sets these two situations apart are the fact that on one hand, its accepted when it happens in person right in front of our eyes, but rejected when it happens online. Therefore, the importance of Amanda Todd's case comes from the fact that it will represent a resounding attitude that society should have with regard to such traffickers, whether they be online, or on the streets and in this case, age of of the utmost importance, because the person whom exploited her, chose to exploit a 14 year old girl in such a manner. This is almost always how it happens on the street as well, and in the years since the Vice operation in the city of my residence, it was how things happened every day on the streets, including involving very young women approaching Amanda's age. A bad memory that few want to talk about.

The hypocrisy of all of this is, that if its so wrong that this occurred online, then why is it still happening every singe freaking day on the streets to countless other women? I am infuriated by Amanda's experience in this matter, and can really relate in many ways, so perhaps this should represent more than it is, a token case that only occurs online when in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. Its an attack against the internet and its frontier like structure, that distracts people from what's going on right in front of them nearly every single day.

Another crime in relation to this is that many adult women who choose to exploit themselves online to earn a living, and lead clean and healthy lives, safe from narcotics dependent prostitution, violence, sexually transmitted diseases and a whole host of other risks that street sex trade workers face every day, are branded as a problem, when in fact they represent a very important aspect of liberation for women, when involvement in such a life and vocation is made by and of their own freewill and accord. They're safe from the threats that every day prostitutes and street sex trade workers face, not to mention that they're often their own business manager, and many of them lead a dual life, whereby you might meet one in the street and never know that she was an online sexual entertainer.

If Amanda's case is to shock everyone, it should be to shock them about the fact that so many other 14 year old women are and have been exploited on the streets and in front of many people's eyes. The difference is that on the internet, there's an audit trail, whereas on the streets, there's no way of saying how many times people have turned a blind eye to it.

This also opens up another point that is related to religion and how it tackles the problem of prostitution. In most cases, religion sees solo-sex ie masturbation as a sin, that is far greater than the sin of prostitution. Therefore, in order to save men from the sin of masturbation, prostitution is accepted and actually preferred by many religions. 

Now when you consider the risks to women who work in that vocation, such as violence from both their manager, or their customers. Robbery. Sexually transmitted diseases. Random hate violence against women and sex trade workers. You do realize that the burden of sin insofar as religion is concerned is being taken from men, and placed squarely into the life and health risks afforded the women who are preferred to work as prostitutes rather than have them encourage masturbation by performances online as adult entertainers. An exchange that is almost certainly a thousand times safer for all parties involved so long as it involves consenting adults. That isn't to say that I'm a customer of this arrangement, but I certainly regard it with a much higher respect and esteem, especially in the sense of the safety it affords women, and their own liberation. Keep in mind that not every broadcast aspect featuring women online is related to or involves sexuality. There are literally thousands of streamers who are liberated women, making a good living presenting their unique brand of content without any exploitation at all. My point is that for adults, either aspect is a much safer environment for women, and liberating as well.

This force that drives prostitution, fuels the market for the exploitation of ever younger and younger women, as older women begin to lose their "market appeal" in that competitive world. Hence, the whole problem is created by the demand for younger women, and prostitution, which poses by and far the greatest risk to any women who become involved with it. That's not because all men are horrible people. Its because there are real life risks that come with that emotionally charged and taboo vocation.

My book The Butterfly Dragon III: The Two Dragons deals directly with this topic almost head on as a sub-plot, though it certainly doesn't go anywhere near the kind of heart wrenching tragedy wrested upon the life of poor Amanda Todd. If anything Amanda's experience should be eye opening when it comes to how society is allowing one form of exploitation to occur in plain sight, while damaging the venues that are currently a big part of modern liberation and independence for many adult women online.

One last important subject about which to think that is related to this topic directly, and that is the risk factor involving women in sex trafficking and prostitution is related to the Robert Picton case, in which many of the MMIW cases are connected after extensive forensic investigation of the Pig Farm site where many bodies were disposed. The risk I'm referring to is the risk of knowing something that other people don't want spread. 

Women who work in sex trafficking are unknowingly exposed to this kind of risk every day, especially when they become involved in the life of a customer. What I'm saying here is based mostly on speculation more so than fact, but I'd be willing to bet that many investigators have likely come to similar conclusions about what I'm saying here. That's the hidden risk that comes from learning or knowing something about a client that is a security and safety risk to the sex trade worker. One that might deem their life to be expendable rather than run the risk of such information making its way out into the wilderness of the streets.

This awareness is Amanda Todd's legacy and how her tragedy affected the world to make us aware of what is not only happening online, but happening every day around us. It also reminds us that there are many adult women who've of their own freewill and accord, chosen to exploit themselves online as their own brand and product, and that should never be taken from any women whose found success in doing so. 

After all, its a woman's body and she has the final say over what happens with it. 

Amanda's life says that no young under age girl should be subjected to what she was, ever.

Brian Joseph Johns