Above photo from The Trevor Project
A teenager in South Africa’s rural town of Bethlehem has killed herself apparently because of her family’s unwillingness to accept her sexuality.
It all began when the young woman was suspected of smoking, the bereaved mother told news24.com, asking the media not to identify her daughter.
‘My son came to me and said not only was my daughter smoking at the tuck shop, but that she was a lesbian.’
The mother was so angry to learn of the news that once her daughter got in she slapped the teenager and took a belt to beat her.
‘That day I went straight to my bedroom and left her to cry by herself,’ she added.
‘The next morning when I went to look for her, I found her,’ said the mother, who later also found a heart-breaking letter her daughter had written to her that reads – ‘I just wanted you to accept me for who I want to be, mom. I am a lesbian,’
‘That’s when I knew why she took her life and it was too late for me to bring her back,’ said the mother who now lives with guilt over the loss of her only daughter.
‘If only we had been able to talk in a calm manner, but I reacted badly,’ she said. ‘I blame myself for my child’s death.’
According to South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), about eight percent of all deaths in the country may be due to suicide and suicide deaths have more than doubled in the last 15 years.
SADAG said it was extremely important for parents to keep communication open, urging teens and parents alike to reach out for help if they are having thoughts of suicide.