Hope Witsell was brutally ridiculed after a topless photo of her began circling her school and others
13-year-old Hope Witsell was like any other girl from the distant, rural suburbs of Tampa — blond, perhaps a bit awkward and pimply, and desperately trying to make herself shine for the boy she was sweet on.
So, as 13-year-olds are prone to do, she made a very bad move. She sent the boy a picture of herself topless. As you can imagine, this didn’t turn out so well.
Someone using the boy’s phone intercepted the photo. And he naturally had to share this treasure with everyone else. Soon, the picture was not just a must-see at Beth Shields Middle School, but at surrounding schools as well…
It got Hope the attention she craved, but not in a good way. Her
friends would surround her like body guards as she walked the hallways
at school, trying to fend off the cruelty of classmates as they yelled
“whore” and “slut.”
hallways were not fun at that time,” friend Lane James told the St. Petersburg Times. “She’d walk into class and somebody
would say, ‘Oh, here comes the slut.’ ”
The taunting no doubt got to the girl. “Tons of people
talk about me behind my back and I hate it because they call me a
whore!” she wrote in her diary. “And I can’t be a whore. I’m too inexperienced. So secretly, TONS
of people hate me.”
officials discovered the photo shortly after the spring semester ended.
The A and B student would be suspended for the first week of the next
school year, administrators told her parents. Mom and Dad responded by
grounding her for the summer.
was allowed to attend a Future Farmers of America convention in
Orlando. That’s where Hope fell to stupid decision-making again. The
boys staying across the hall badgered her for a photo of her boobs, and
she eventually complied.
began this fall, administrators banned her from being a student adviser
to the farm group. And Hope admitted to her parents that she was now
being unmercifully ridiculed as the local skank.
school counselors found that she’d been cutting herself. Unfortunately,
these were paint-by-the-numbers education people. They did have her
sign a “no-harm contract,” agreeing to talk to an adult whenever she
felt like cutting, but for some reason they didn’t see fit to contact
“I’m done for sure now,” Hope wrote in her diary the next day. “I can
feel it in my stomach. I’m going to try and strangle myself. I hope it
mom went to Hope’s bedroom that evening to kiss her goodnight. That’s
when she found Hope hanging from from the canopy of her bed, a pink
scarf tied around her neck. She was rushed to a hospital, where she was