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Dying Girl Victim of Cyber-Bullying

Dying Girl Victim of Cyber-Bullying

Seven-year-old Kathleen Edward is a victim of one of the most extreme cyber-bullying cases imaginable. 

Not only is Kathleen dealing with the recent death of her mother from Huntington’s Disease, a neurodegenerative genetic disorder, the young girl is battling the disease herself. For most of us, hearing this tragic news is enough to break our hearts and leave us feeling nothing but compassion and sympathy for Kathleen and her family. 

But apparently Kathleen’s neighbor, Jennifer Petkov, isn’t like most people. 

According to other neighbors, 33-year-old Petkov and her family — who have been feuding with the Edward’s for a number of years — built a coffin, threw it on the back of their truck, and drove by Kathleen’s home in Trenton, Michigan. The act likely referencing Kathleen’s grim prognosis and/or the passing of her mother.

Pretty unbelievable, right? Well just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it does. 

Petkov, again, a 33-year-old woman, admitted to posting death-related images of Kathleen and her late mother on Facebook. The photoshopped pictures depicted Kathleen’s face above a set of crossbones and her deceased mother, Laura, in the arms of the grim reaper. 

That’s an adult woman cyber-bullying a dying, grief-stricken, 7-year-old little girl. 

TAKE ACTION: Help make cyber-bullying illegal! 

Logically, one can’t help but ask, why?! What would possibly possess a grown woman to emotionally attack a sick child? And initially, Petkov wasn’t shy in answering … on camera.

“Personal satisfaction,” Petkov said. “Because it rubs their a—s raw. Burns their a—s.”

But after the video of Petkov’s eloquent statement above went viral — subsequently leading to alleged death threats and her husband being suspended from his job — she has since issued an apology

“If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it,” Petkov said. “And to that little girl, I apologize if you’ve been hurt. There’s not much more I can say. And hopefully we can live our lives peacefully from now on.”

Wow, now that’s a touching, heartfelt apology if I ever heard one.

As we’ve seen in the past, cyber-bullying — defined as “the use of cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites … to harass, threaten or intimidate someone” — has profound, lasting effects on victims. It can lead to low self-esteem, depression and even suicide.

There is tremendous and immediate need for our society to start looking at cyber-bullying for what it is — a crime. And some in high power agree. Michigan Senator Glenn S. Anderson recently submitted legislation which would make cyber-bullying illegal in his state. 

Sign the Care2 petition and tell the Michigan Senate to make cyber-bullying a crime.

And as for Kathleen, she has witnessed an outpouring of support from folks all around the world. She recently experienced what all 7-year-olds dream of — a $17,000 toy store shopping spree. There are also a number of upcoming events and fundraisers planned to show support for Kathleen and her family. And although none of these actions could adequately right the attacks on her, or cure her disease, they will hopefully show a very innocent 7-year-old that the world isn’t made of bullies.

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photo credit: thanks to Alyssa L. Miller via flickr
please note: the image above is not of Kathleen Edward

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274 comments

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6:29AM PST on Nov 19, 2014

I have toddler grandnieces and grandnephews who have more empathy and common sense than that 33-year-old woman!

1:17PM PST on Nov 12, 2013

Despicable! I am very late to see this article. I would love to know how little Kathleen is doing today.

6:56AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

this really breaks my heart. People are turning into psychopaths!!!

6:48AM PST on Feb 15, 2011

@Annmari Lundin no I am neither. I recognise the problem, and that it can be very serious, but like the others here who feel legislation could cause more problems than it solves, I have explained my point of view in the comments, so there's no need to accuse me of being a bully or not being 'for real' simply because I favour a different approach.

Most western countries already have harrassment, slander, libel and threatening behaviour laws that would adequately cover most scenarios if legal action is required. I would certainly agree to campaign for those protections in any country that doesn't currently have them. But creating a 'new' offence of 'cyberbullying' is unneccessary and undesirable IMHO.

Bullying can take place in the real world, on the internet, by text messages - hell, even on commercially released recordings or films - that is why the current legislation is so broad based, and should remain so (IMHO)

Making more laws covering activities that are already illegal only confuses the issues, making successful prosecution unlikely, and opening up the system to abuse.

Furthermore most hosts, social networking sites etc will also deal with cyberbullying already, without recourse to new legislation.

Incidentally, making unfounded accusations against people based on the fact that their opinions differ from your own is not the strongest platform to approach an anti-bullying stance from.

6:09AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

A question to those 55 individuals that voted no/leaning no: Are you for real or are you the bullies that made my life a living hell and the bullies that keep on doing the same to others?

9:17AM PST on Dec 17, 2010

this disgusting petkov jerk should see a psychiater. no one with healthy mind would do anything like this, especially to a dying little girl.

9:10AM PST on Nov 10, 2010

noted and signed

5:27PM PST on Nov 9, 2010

Gladly signed the petition to make cyber-bullying a crime!

6:33PM PST on Nov 7, 2010

This has to STOP! Why aren't we passing laws and following up. Supporting our children and anyone else who is being bullied. Whether it is face to face or over the internet this is INTOLERABLE.

4:18PM PDT on Nov 4, 2010

People need to start taking cyber-bullying and bullying in general more seriously.

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