College Student Alyssa Funke Commits Suicide Following Cyberbullying Over Porn

College Student Commits Suicide Following Cyberbullying Over Porn

Alyssa Funke, a straight-A student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, committed suicide last month after being bullied and harassed online over her choice to appear in pornography. Local police have said they don't plan to press charges against anyone who taunted Funke.

Funke, 19, had recently appeared in a porn film at the website CastingCouch-X. According to KMSP, after former classmates from her high school in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, discovered the video, they began sending her abusive messages through Twitter and Facebook.

Her last tweets before her death were on April 14 and 15, appearing to mock those harassing her online:

Pornstar Status. 👌

— alyssa funke (@Funkeetown) April 14, 2014

FAMOUS for dayzzzzzzz

— alyssa funke (@Funkeetown) April 15, 2014

On April 16, Funke completed suicide at a boat landing on Big Carnelia Lake, 26 miles from River Falls and 9 miles from Oak Park Heights.

KMSP reports Funke's family did not want to speak on camera, but said they believe the cyberbullying played a significant role in her decision to end her life. The Washington County Sheriff's Office told the station that it does not think the taunts rise to the level of criminal harassment. The investigation is still ongoing.

The Daily Dot reports that her family launched The Alyssa Stop Bullying Fund, which raised $165 in the 19 days it was active.

Funke's death follows the widely covered harassment of Belle Knox, a Duke University freshman who appeared in pornographic films and was harassed by students on campus after she was publicly identified. Knox had even appeared on the same couch for the same website. But she became very open about her porn career in spite of what Knox has referred to as "a culture of slut-shaming and rape apology."

Many porn actresses say they struggle to protect their privacy. One former college student who was outed several years ago on her campus for an amateur porn even asked The Huffington Post not to identify the school she attended, out of concern it would lead to further harassment online.

Funke was a first-year biology student at UW-River Falls.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


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