By REBECCA KUKU
A-24-year old girl has taken her own life in what is the country’s first known cyber bullying-related suicide after pictures of her crying were photo-shopped and ridiculed on social media, a family spokesman confirmed.
Pricilla Waim, from Hagen Central in Western Highlands, pictured, drank gramoxone (chemical used for killing weeds) on Monday evening and was rushed to the Gerehu General Hospital.
She was later transferred to the Port Moresby General Hospital but died two days later.
Family spokesperson Alex Rop said that his niece had uploaded a picture of herself crying on her Facebook account sometimes in May.
The picture was photo-shopped into various memes (memes are captioned photos that are intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behaviour) that went viral on Facebook.
“She later removed the post but by then her picture was photo-shopped and shared by various Facebook users and pages,” Rop said.
“Her picture has since gone viral and she was really depressed about it as people were sharing her pictures and making fun of her.
“People from all over the country, it seemed for every new topic, found a way to photo-shop her face on to it.
“She didn’t know any of them or why they felt the need to share her pictures and make fun of them.”
Rop said that family members found her on Monday evening after she had drunk gramoxone and rushed her to the Gerehu General Hospital.
“She was then taken to the Port Moresby General Hospital emergency but later died on Wednesday.”
Rop called on Police Minister Bryan Kramer and Minister for Communications and Energy Rainbo Paita to look into the incident and arrest the people who had shared her pictures and made fun of her.
This raises concerns of mental and psychological issues related with cyber bullying, he said.
“My niece’s death is the result of cyber bullying. This is the first of its kind where a young woman has taken her own life because of people with no respect for others.
“People who would just get other people’s picture without permission and use it to get attention on social media by photo-shopping it and sharing it with other people.”
Rop said that Kramer and Paita should arrest those responsible to set an example and to help stop others becoming similar victims.
Kramer has asked Waim’s family to lay a formal complaint with the police in order for the issue to be addressed.
Paita also urged family members to lay a complaint with police.
By REBECCA KUKU