Details are slowly coming out about Felicia’s life. She was living with a foster family and was a chronic runaway, having been reported missing seven times. What led this teenage girl to Tweet “I cant, im done, I give up” the Monday before her death?
According to reports, Felicia had engaged in consensual sex with 4 football players the weekend prior to her suicide. Unbeknownst to her, the sex was recorded. From The New York Daily News:
“Kids are saying she had sex with some guys from the football team at a party after the game,” said a friend of the doomed girl who asked not to be identified. “Later on they wouldn’t leave her alone about it. They just kept bullying her and bullying her.”
School officials heard of the bullying and set up a mediation session Wednesday with a counselor and one of the 17-year-old boys. The teenager denied harassing the girl, the sources said.
Leaving the office, Felicia later ran into the other 17-year-old who had been making her life miserable — and they exchanged words, the sources said.
Police did not say what was said. But it was enough to send Felicia marching off to the Huguenot station of the Staten Island Railroad, where she killed herself in front of horrified classmates.
Senior Alissa Compitello said she saw Felicia on the way to the train station and the girl told her that she had the mediation because of the bullying.
“She was smiling though, like everything was going to be okay,” said Compitello, 17.
But a quick look at Felicia’s Instagram account would have revealed the depths of her despair. On it, she placed a picture of herself with the word “Depressed” covering her eyes.
“Just because someone is smiling doesn’t make them happy,” read her caption.
Is there anything that could have been done to save Felicia Garcia? From all reports, the school was trying to get to the truth about the harassment and bullying, unlike many schools in America that just sweep events like this under the rug. According to the New York Post, Felicia’s parents died, leaving her and her brother orphans. Felicia had been living with friends, moving from foster home to foster home and had spent time living at an ex-boyfriend’s house.
In situations like this, we desperately need someone to blame. Obviously, someone at the party Felicia attended recorded the sex, obviously that someone posted it online, obviously other students saw it or heard about the events of that evening and obviously, students were harassing and bullying Felicia. And that’s what I want to deal with right now.
When a person, any person, makes the decision to take their own life, there is always another option. Always. I had one when, on my 16th birthday, I overdosed on my mother’s pain medication. I could have told a friend or a friend’s mother or father, or even my own father, what was going on, but I didn’t. I was impulsive. Teenagers are famously impulsive, even when it comes to something as incredibly serious as their own lives. We’ve heard it from young people time and time again-this will never end, it will never get better, this hurts too much.
No. No, dammit, no. It will end, it will get better and the pain will stop, all without young adults hanging themselves or shooting themselves or falling in front of speeding trains. What can we as parents do? Well, this is what my husband and I do. We talk to our son, whether he likes it or not. Every night, I spend at least 10 minutes going over the day with our teenager, listening for clues or hints that something is wrong. Grades going downhill? Okay, let’s schedule conferences and really get our son to talk to us and explain what is causing the change.
Felicia didn’t seem to have that option. Again, according to The Post, her parents had died, and perhaps Felicia felt like she had no one in whom she could confide. As I read more and more about Felicia, the other question that comes into my head is what would make a 15-year old girl have sex with 4 football players? Friends have stated Felicia told them the sex was consensual, and by all reports, it was. One friend who had lived with Felicia in foster care, Mariah Alimossy, told The Post Felicia became self-conscious after all the teasing, asking if she looked “fat or ugly.”
What the hell are we doing to our children? Amanda Todd flashed her breasts to a stranger online at the age of 12. Felicia Garcia had sex with 4 football players, all of whom were her age. Are we raising an entire generation of kids who think the only way to be happy or popular or liked is linked to sex? Not love, not honest affection, but sex?
And what about mental illness? Are we still a society that demeans people struggling with depression or anxiety? It would seem that we are, since even after Felicia posted online about her depression, no one stepped up to offer help. A friend who saw that could have gone to a parent, or showed it to a guidance counselor at school, but that’s not how it works here in the grand old U.S of A. We’re the “bootstrap” country. Do it on your own or it doesn’t count. Maybe someone did show Felicia’s posts to an adult, but odds are in this country, that adult said something like “Oh, she’ll get over it.”
Am I angry? You bet I am. Another life gone, another light extinguished because society equates love with sex and mental illness with weakness. Society is wrong on both counts.
Thanks to The New York Daily News and The New York Post for contributions to this article.