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UK Teen Killed Himself After Kids Spread Rumors He Was Gay

A 15-year-old teen committed suicide by jumping from the roof of a building last year after classmates spread rumors that he was gay, a UK inquest heard this week:

Crouch Dominic appeared to be happy after returning from [an art class] trip, the inquest in Cheltenham heard. However, on he Tuesday after the expedition the 'carefree' rugby-loving schoolboy left the school at lunchtime and went to a locked block of flats nearby called Withyholt Court.

He managed to gain access to the roof and threw himself off.

Paul Harvey, the school's current headmaster, told the inquest a helper on the trip, Lucy Evans, had reported after Dominic's death that the Year 10 children had been playing 'spin the bottle' on the trip and that it was said Dominic had kissed a boy.

This led to gossip that he might be homosexual.

Said Roger Crouch, Dominic's father: "Dominic was clearly upset about rumours that he believed were being spread about him. We need to realise that what may be a laugh to some young people are deeply upsetting to another."

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Comments

  1. No amount of bullying protections are going to fully eradicate this problem. This will only stop when "gay" is no longer considered a shameful, horrible thing and being called "gay" is no longer considered a shameful, offensive slur.

    Gay slurs are certainly an issue that needs to be addressed but the simple fact that "gay" is slur to most people and nothing is more offensive than being thought to be gay is much more of a problem. In fact when most non-gay people are called "fag", "faggot" or "queer", it's NOT the "slur" that they take most offense to but rather the insinuation that they are gay.

    It's going to take a massive cultural overhaul to change this disgusting fact, but if we truly want to live in a just society it has to be the ultimate goal.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Mar 31, 2011 11:19:38 AM


  2. Thought you might be interested in the following exchange in the comments on this story on pinknews.co.uk


    Roger and Paola Crouch

    We are grateful for all these messages of support. Our son was not in fact gay but was opposed to all types of discrimination. We do not feel that the LGBT community bears any responsibility. That clearly rests with those who chose to taunt him because of his presumed sexuality. If you would like to make a tangible demonstration of your support you can go to Dom’s Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/domcrouch4NMCF

    and help support disadvantaged kids in South Africa in his memory. This was a cause dear to his heart. Thanks, Dom’s Mum and Dad

    Spanner Replied

    I hope I can speak on behalf of everyone on Pink News, and offer our profound condolences on your terrible loss. The fact that you posted a message here means a lot to us, and even though Dominic was not gay, demonstrates the extent that all youngsters have to suffer such bullying and vindictiveness at a difficult time in their lives.

    We wish you both well, and hope that time will heal your wounds, but keep your fondest memories of your son fresh.

    Roger Crouch Replied

    Thanks. It’s important to understand that homophobia demeans all of us gay or straight just as racism demeans all of us regardless of colour. The sad truth is that some people are so lacking in self esteem they can only get a sense of it by looking down on other people and of course they pick on the easy targets

    Posted by: andypet | Mar 31, 2011 11:30:20 AM


  3. STOP IT!! Stop making these kids martyrs. Stop pitying them. There is ALWAYS a choice to live. Suicide is NOT something that needs to be constantly trotted out in the media for people to shake their heads and feel pity for its victims. Feel pity for those these selfish, troubled, mentally ill kids leave behind. It doesn't matter what the "reason" is. The reason becomes a moot point when you just choose to give up when there are millions of people who die every day and would give ANYTHING for just one more moment of life. Not to mention the chaos and destruction you leave behind you. Its selfish and disgusting and I'm tired of hearing about it.

    Posted by: AJ | Mar 31, 2011 11:33:14 AM


  4. I hope the parents of this child have taken some time to examine what in their own attitudes or behavior allowed this child to grow for 15 years with the notion that being gay was a fate worse than death. He didn't grow-up in a vacuum; children absorb what is around them. If his own self-worth was less tied to his sexuality, then the rumors would surely have been less a threat to him. None of us can second-guess the thoughts in this child's mind, and I am truly sorry for these parents. I hope that other parents can learn from this tragedy. Perhaps these were the best parents in the world and something else influenced this boy; we will never know. Only a massive societal change and radical change in people's attitudes can prevent this occurring again and again. This kind of change starts in the home.

    Posted by: alex Parrish | Mar 31, 2011 11:34:40 AM


  5. Said Dominic's father: "We need to realise that what may be a laugh to some young people are deeply upsetting to another."

    Of course. But the reality is kids WILL be mean and kids ARE going to laugh. A big part of what makes gay taunting deeply upsetting to the young people, and something some think they can't survive, is the homophobic attitude toward gays from their parents.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Mar 31, 2011 11:46:01 AM


  6. I can't believe I'm seeing posts impugning the parents. I was deeply homophobic as a child, and I certainly didn't get it from my parents (who were immediately accepting when I came out); I got it from the world around me, primarily from my peers and from Indiana in the 80's.

    We know nothing of what happened; posts casting aspersions at Dominic's hurt (and from everything they are saying clearly decent) parents are really beyond the pale.

    Posted by: Dan E | Mar 31, 2011 11:59:49 AM


  7. @ TAMPAZEKE - Very well said and that is exactly what I was thinking.

    I don't think it is fair to criticize the parents of this kid as some have done that might imply that their attitudes contributed towards his death. In fact, the post that they made on pinknews would seem to indicate a very open and supportive environment existed. It is likely that the kids actions were an impulsive reaction to a specific event and not a premeditated event due to a particular environment.

    And finally, while suicide is a choice (and is selfish and destructive), whenever it happens, it serves to highlight the continuing and ongoing problem presented by bullying. If reporting these deaths makes bullies aware of the consequences of their words and actions OR it it makes a teen who is thinking about it more aware of the chaos and pain left behind then I think it is important to report if it could possibly prevent another death.

    Posted by: Chadd | Mar 31, 2011 12:05:52 PM


  8. I can't believe people are blaming this kid's parents, or even the kid himself, for what happened.

    Maybe instead of erroneously blaming the victims, we recognize that this suicide is a bigger issue than just bullying. It's an issue of self-image, and an inability to cope with bullying. Like some of the posts above said, this is a HUGE issue that will require an overhaul to change. There will always be bullies. But maybe we all have it in us to rise above it as well, and we just need the right coaching to bring it out.

    And AJ, to dismiss suicide as nothing more than a selfish whim is taking the easiest way out of this argument if there ever was one. I'm assuming you've never suffered a loss so great or felt so abandoned that the idea of leaving this world seems to be the only tolerable option available to you. If this is true, count yourself lucky. But take a moment, please, and recognize that not everyone is as lucky as you, as well-adjusted as you, their lives not nearly as charmed as yours must be, before you lay down your judgments.

    Posted by: Austin | Mar 31, 2011 12:09:30 PM


  9. If you thought you wanted to kill yourself when you were 15, WAIT until you hit 30! You're missing out on some good misery...

    (ATTENTION QUEENS: THE ABOVE COMMENT IS A JOKE. JOKES ARE USED TO MAKE HORRIBLE SITUATIONS EASIER TO DEAL WITH. THAT IS ALL)

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Mar 31, 2011 12:11:54 PM


  10. Very profound words from Dominic's father. Very sad. May Dominic RIP.

    Tampazeke and Alex Parrish have it almost right on the money. Being 21, I can probably give the perfect insight on this situation. The whole anti-gay actions, spreading gay rumors, homophobic taunts and bullying, it's not really based on hatred of homosexuality. It really isn't. It's one of two things:

    a)As Alex put it, one of the main if not the main tenant of these kids' self worth is their sexuality. And being what society tells them they are "supposed" to be as men and women. Men are the ladies men who can get any woman they want, are strong and macho, are emotionless. This attitude starts as soon as kindergarten. That is putting a lot of pressure on the minds of kids who are not educated or fully developed to handle such things. Which leads to.....

    b)Insecurity. Kids are desperate to fit in. Are desperate to be accepted, validated, and be "normal". Anti-gay bullying comes in because gay=not normal=vulnerable=attackable. When kids feel pressured, they either act out, or totally suppress it and become emotionally dead. If anything needs to change, it has to be the worlds' attitudes on sexuality, misogyny, and all of the different complex issues revolving around simply being allowed to be themselves without the pressures of being something they aren't.

    That's why I'm not surprised to see Dominic and other reports of straight/closeted kids who tragically kill themselves because of their sexuality. Because the pressures to fit in and be that strong, secure, ladies man straight male at 15 is just too much for many kids to handle. But as far as things changing, it's not going to happen until people become secure enough to discuss these feelings and deal with the wave of emotions that come with them. That's why it's up to those who are more secure, people who have seen these things with their own eyes, and people who have experienced these horrible actions, to speak out and make their voices heard and lead the way for open community, for change, and for acceptance.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 31, 2011 12:30:33 PM


  11. What I find odd is how everyone jumped to suicide. The article says that the coroner ruled it suicide. How exactly does a coroner tell the difference between an accidental fall and a suicide? There is no mention of a note or witnesses. Maybe he was just trying to be alone for a bit and tripped? When I was a kid, my favorite place to get away from it all was a window ledge four stories up. I'd sit outside on the window frame with my legs dangling in the open air. I could have easily fallen to my death.

    Posted by: lessthan | Mar 31, 2011 12:35:15 PM


  12. @Lessthan

    He left notes apologizing to his parents. I don't think suicide was ever in doubt.

    Posted by: andypet | Mar 31, 2011 12:41:48 PM


  13. We need a teen suicide website that lists the circumstances of all teen suicides for the past month. It's the only way for the average citizen to get a feel for what these kids are going through. And I don't just mean LGBT kids.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 31, 2011 12:57:01 PM


  14. That's a great idea Anon. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that suicide is wrong and don't legitimately care about those who commit it, and don't care about anyone but themselves, as they are hardened individuals, usually because they themselves have been emotionally bruised. Many people would rather make excuses for bullying then actually open up emotionally and discuss the realities of bullying, be honest about they being bullies/bullied. There is so much fear and insecurity in the world.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 31, 2011 1:23:02 PM


  15. Well, that's not going to help those rumors, what with the gay teens are all killing themselves meme going around.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | Mar 31, 2011 1:53:09 PM


  16. @Tampazeke, very well written.

    Very sad and horrible.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Mar 31, 2011 2:10:57 PM


  17. Don't y'all want to change that statement that "suicide is selfish and destructive" to SOME suicides MAY BE selfish and destructive? We can't know the misery and pain that some folks are in when they make that final and maybe fatal decision. We don't know if the people you'd expect to be hurting from the "selfishness" of the victim are also the ones who helped drive the victim to his/her decision.

    Gay blogs are dominated by Gays in their twenties, aren't they?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 31, 2011 2:11:26 PM


  18. "....If anything needs to change, it has to be the worlds' attitudes on sexuality, misogyny, and all of the different complex issues revolving around...."

    As long as religion is around, good luck with that!

    Posted by: Jolly Rancher | Mar 31, 2011 5:54:52 PM


  19. This goes a little beyond simple bullying. Nobody seems to be addressing the fact that this kid seemed to think that he'd be better off dead than to be thought of as gay. So if he really was straight that kinda makes him a homophobe too.

    Posted by: Bravo | Mar 31, 2011 6:09:16 PM


  20. We have no idea what was going through the kid's head. And when I read someone say that he's tired of hearing about suicide among "selfish, troubled, mentally ill kids," it makes me sick. WTF is wrong with you? He was 15 years old, which means he didn't have the reasoning, foresight, or emotional capacity of an adult...and even troubled, mentally ill adults aren't selfish monsters. Have you never experienced bouts of self-doubt, depression, isolation, or other issues? If so, good for you. But have some compassion. Cripes. As an adult, one comes to recognize that situations change or can be changed. As a teen, that's not so apparent.

    Anyway, the kid may have been under a variety of social pressures, which for sensitive kids can balloon into massive issues, no matter how irrational. If he cared about the plight of kids in South Africa, he was obviously a caring, informed child (how many American kids do you know who know or give a crap about kids overseas?). His father posted and gave thoughtful responses on a gay website, so obviously he's not an uncaring homopobe. I'd guess this kid was "sensitive"---which, even among straight boys, can lead to trauma.

    It sickens me that people are attacking this kid and his parents.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 31, 2011 7:10:00 PM


  21. YES, W/O DOUBT IT IS THE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR SUICIDE. BUT YOU REALLY CAN'T DENY THE IMPACT OF OUR SOCIETY, AS IN THE TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0407sbs.asp
    IN ALL HONESTY, COULDN'T SOMEONE ORGANIZE A CLASS ACTION SUIT AGAINST THE POPE/CHURCH FOR THEIR TWISTED EVIL LIES & EVERY GAY SUICIDE THAT RESULTS??? I THINK THEY DEFINITELY SHOULD BE HELD AT LEAST PARTLY ACCOUNTABLE - DON'T YOU???

    Posted by: bdslater9 | Mar 31, 2011 9:31:15 PM


  22. I really can't believe the amount of trolling nuts on this board. Let those poor parents mourn their son you ghouls.

    Posted by: Marc | May 28, 2011 12:37:00 AM


  23. I find that most of these statements are just statements of your choice. What difference does it make? This young boy is DEAD. Do any of you know what that HURT is to his parents, no matter what the reason. He's gone and nobody can bring him back.I prey for him to be in a safe place with God and to suffer no more. LORD, give this family the strength to cope with their loss.

    Posted by: gaetano | Sep 4, 2011 12:59:16 PM


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