Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Australian Newscaster's Suicide Linked to Anorexia

29-year-old Charmaine Dragun, a newscaster for Australia's Channel 10, committed suicide last November. She had a thriving career and marriage plans, but her family and close friends are now revealing that Charmaine struggled with depression and anorexia. She was taking anti-depressants at the time of her death. Her mother recalls that Charmaine became dangerously preoccupied with her weight in college after some construction workers whistled at her.

"She kept walking, of course, but she also heard some comments," Mrs Dragun said. "The comments were 'She's pretty good looking isn't she - except that she's got a fat arse, what a shame'. This seemed to be the trigger."

Comments like those certainly don't cause eating disorders, but they're called triggers for a reason. According to those closest to her, Charmaine was already prone to depression and perfectionism. The ingredients for an eating disorder were there, and hearing that she had a 'fat arse' set the behavior in motion.

That's why we all have to be kind with our words, and make a conscious effort to push back against a culture that has made it so acceptable to scrutinize people's weight. Celebrity tabloids, weight loss and plastic surgery makeover shows, and mean-spirited gossip blogs have trained us to believe that construction worker-style comments about women's bodies are okay. This tragic story should wake everyone up to the fact that they're not. You just never know how deeply those jabs will wound the person on the receiving end. [ABC News]

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