A parent always wants to protect their kids from the world and especially from the bad things that other adults can do to them. But protecting kids from the cruel words and acts of their peers can be much more difficult. For Linda Trevan, from Melbourne, Australia, it wasn’t just the bullying that her daughter Cassidy endured for years that weighed heavily on her.
She felt like she failed to save her daughter’s life.
"I want them to feel the fear that Cass felt."
Cassidy Trevan was a normal girl, who for no particular reason became the object of intense bullying by other girls at her school when was in 7th grade. For young Cassidy, life was so miserable that she lived in constant fear of the bullies, even worrying what might happen if she met them outside the house.
“The bullying started out with just insults and stuff and she got slapped across the face once or twice,” Linda Trevan told 9 News in Melbourne. Not content to let it stand there, the bullies continued to harass Cassidy at stores around town and on social media. Their house was even vandalized.
After being taken out of school for a semester by her mother, Cassidy, who was 13 at the time, got counseling support and was able to get her confidence back to be able to return to school. Her former female bullies appeared to have changed as well, offering her friendship and even inviting her to attend a music festival with them.
Cassidy hoped that her long nightmare was over, but in fact, it was just beginning.
Tomorrow should have been Cassidy Trevan’s 19th birthday but instead the Victorian schoolgirl will remain “forever 15”. #9News | http://9News.com.au
But when Cassidy arrived, there was no festival, only a sick and shocking trap. Her female bullies were there with three boys and they held her down and raped her. “They were older boys that Cass didn’t know. Two girls who sat and waited. Two boys who shared her and timed each other. One boy stood guarding the front door,” her mother said to 9 News.
Even worse, this horrific act of violence seemed to go completely unpunished and the bully girls continued to harass Cassidy, as though the gang rape they had arranged wasn’t despicable enough. The Victoria Police wanted a statement from Cassidy in order to follow up on the attack, but the teenager was so traumatized, she couldn’t do it.
As her mother said to 9 News, “Cass was scared to make a formal statement for fear of retaliation from the gang, and she also was worried reliving it would ‘push her over the edge.'” Even without naming any names, Cassidy still had to live with the harassment.
Linda Trevan “had to get [a restraining] order on the main bully girl when she physically assaulted Cass at the shops, after the rape, and she was even calling my mobile demanding to talk to Cass.”
For the teenager, this period was just hellish. She could barely get up in the morning and certainly didn’t want to go anywhere near the school or even out into public for fear of encountering her tormentors. As her mom posted on Facebook, “she suffered flash backs of the crime, nightmares, insomnia, separation anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD and subsequent worsening mental illness.”
While her mother did everything she could to provide support for her daughter and encourage her to believe that the future could be better than the tragic past, nothing seemed to work. Twenty-two months after her rape, Cassidy Trevan took her own life, devastating her mother.
As her mother wrote on Facebook, per the Daily Mail: “How can I ever accept that my precious baby was so betrayed, so wronged, so let down by society and every professional who failed to help and protect you, both before and after what happened to you?”
After Cassidy’s death, Linda discovered a letter she had been writing to warn other students and parents about what had happened to her with the hopes that this knowledge would prevent other kids from the same fate. As reprinted in The Independent, the letter was a moving final statement from this teen whose life was tragically cut short.
“My name is Cassidy Trevan, and I was raped. If anyone every tries this on you trust me it’s worth fighting! Fight! If you don’t you’ll regret it for the rest of your life like I do. You can do it. Be careful. Be warned. Be safe.”