Sheniz Erkan (Left), an Australian schoolgirl from Melbourne, decided to take her own life, a week before her 15th birthday after being bullied at school and on social networking sites. It has been reported that more than 14,000 people have already paid tribute to the late Cairnlea Soccer player, and several memorial videos have been uploaded on YouTube in her honor.

Her death shocked many. According to The Canberra Times, “Twenty-five per cent of all young people experience a mental health issue in any given year. Responses to cyber-bullying should focus on building resilience, protecting mental health and strengthening peer support networks.” Sheniz′s elder brother, Aykut Erkan, believes that his sister has been bullied for a while; he told Herald Sun that,

I think it was going on a long time. In her mind, in leaving us she might have thought she was taking the problem away from everyone. She never wanted to let anyone down and she never wanted to tell anyone about it because she didn’t want anyone to worry. She was so full of life, a real bundle of joy. No one remembers her in a bad way.

Aziz Behich, the Melbourne Heart defender, dedicated his match to her. The Heart players wore black armbands and observed a minute′s silence in her honor. Behich is a close family friend of Sheniz and was among the mourners at her Friday funeral. The defender told Sunday Herald Sun that, “She was a very good player with Cairnlea Soccer Club and a great Heart fan as well – she was at most of our home games.

We were very close family friends. Our parents have known each other for a long time and want to dedicate the game to Sheniz and hopefully we can win.”

Even after Sheniz Erkan′s passing, people still continued to harass her. News sources reported that a group of haters have hacked into Sheniz’s Facebook account and posted disturbing messages on her Facebook tribute page of 27,000 fans. Her brother said, ”it is even more hurtful that after her death, she is still being bullied from beyond the grave.”

The Telegraph said, Sheniz called her best friend, Renay Sumercan, a few minutes before committing suicide and told her that she loved her dearly. Renay later revealed Sheniz′s last words and encouraged victims of bullying to speak up and ask for help when they still can.

Sheniz Erkan was laid to rest last Friday, family and friends prayed for her at the Sunshine Mosque, where Iman Esat Yapici started the funeral service in a traditional Islamic manner. In his sermon, he urged the mourners to forgive those who were indirectly involved in Sheniz′s death.

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