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Problem with Porn: Minnesota Teen Alyssa Funke Commits Suicide Following Taunts, Bullying from Classmates

( [email protected] ) May 27, 2014 12:44 PM EDT
Alyssa Funke, a beautiful 19 year old college freshman, recently took her own life following online bullying she experienced after auditioning for a porn video.
The young girl took her own life after struggling with depression (AP)

A beautiful Minnesota college freshman recently took her own life after enduring relentless bullying, taunts and harassments, from classmates after auditioning for a porn movie via a website.

19 year old teen Alyssa Funke from Stillwater, MN, bought a shotgun and committed suicide on her family's boat on a suburban St. Paul lake in April just two weeks after her audition video hit porn site Casting Couch.

"I'm Stella Ann. I'm 18, from Minnesota, and I'm really looking forward to get started," the honor role student from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, said in a video for CastingCouch-X which was posted in March. When some of her former classmates at Stillwater High School found out, a barrage of abusive messages followed via Facebook and Twitter, KMSP-TV reported.

The comments were relentless.

"Wow your (sic) a thot," wrote one, including a slang acronym for "that ho over there." Another wrote, "Does her dad know?"

"Nothing brings a school together like a pornstar who graduated last year," chimed in a third.

Funke didn't let her classmates know the comments affected her. She answered a few with social media posts of her own, including "Pornstar status" and "FAMOUS for dayzzzzz."

However, following the news of her suicide, Funke's family confirmed that she had a difficult family life. The young girl struggled with depression, her father is in prison, and her mother has been charged with dealing drugs.

Funke, who wanted to be an anesthesiologist, also struggled with money, needing to transfer from a private college to public last year as she tried to raise cash for her education.

The girl's family say her death was the direct result of online bullying, and want to encourage other girls to not make the same mistakes. They want young women to understand the pressure that comes from social media and the stigma porn carries, the New York Daily News reports.

Joy Friedman, a social worker at a Minneapolis nonprofit that helps sex workers escape the industry, says Funke's story reveals how damaging the porn industry can be.

"This is permanent, she can't erase this. Now, it goes into your family, it goes into your friends, it goes into your career," Friedman told the news station. "In the future, this is what you're known for and this is who you're labeled as. That affects you.

When asked whether she blames the students from Stillwater High, Friedman said, "Yeah, I do."

"I mean, I blame them 'cause everybody plays a role here. You can be a part -- positive or negative. Why did no one go talk to her and say, 'Girl, why did you do that? What can I do to help you?'" she explained. "Instead, we jump on the bandwagon and it's her fault 'cause she got in a video."

"The fact is: If this is such a glamorous, okay job/lifestyle/career, why'd she kill herself?" Friedman added.

According to an online obituary, Funke is survived by her mother Melissa, father Rashad Bowman of Woodbury, siblings Natasha, Adrianna, Awnnastazia, Chantel, Trevon, Olivia, Rashad Jr, Hailie and Neko, grandmother Dolly Bridges of Stillwater.

A comment left on the obituary reads: "Your daughter really did not deserve any of the mean, thoughtless hateful comments she received. I always like to say that we are on this earth to carry out a mission and then God calls us home to be with him. Your daughter life was not in vain and she has unknowingly shined a light on a problem that needs to be addressed."