UPDATE 3pm: MOURNERS at a funeral service for bullied teen Sheniz Erkan have been urged to forgive those who tormented the schoolgirl.
The Government has launched a new website to tackle cyberbullying and help young people stay safe online.
About 500 mourners turned out to farewell the Taylors Lakes Secondary College student who took her own life after enduring schoolyard and cyber bullying.
Family and friends gathered at Sunshine Mosque, where a traditional Islamic funeral service was held.
A friend of the family told the Herald Sun that the message of the Turkish service was to forgive.
“The Imam said if anybody is responsible for this they should be forgiven,” he said.
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“In our belief we’re not supposed to hold any grudges, and forgive everybody.
“We’re born with a free soul and we die with a free soul.”
Dozens of classmates and fellow soccer players from the Cairnlea Football Club turned out to pay their respects, donning jackets emblazoned with Sheniz’s name and the number 18.
They stood alongside family and friends from the wider Cypriot-Turkish community to show their support for the grieving Erkan family.
Some of the crowd had to stand outside and in the car park of the mosque because of the number of people in attendance.
Outside young girls wailed and asked “why?” as they hugged each other and tried to make sense of the tragedy.
Friends and family of cyber bully victim Sheniz Erkan have mourned her at a traditional Islamic ceremony. Picture: Kris Reichel, Leader Newspapers
Final phone call
Sheniz had phoned her best friend minutes before she died and said she loved her.
Renay Sumercan broke her silence yesterday to reveal her friend’s last words to her, and to urge other victims to speak out about bullying before it was too late.
The 15-year-old said she was heartbroken by her best friend’s death.
The pair met at a party two years ago and formed an instant bond despite their different personalities.
“Even when I moved away we stayed best friends,” she told the Herald Sun yesterday. “I loved her smile.
“She brought the best out in everyone. We both could trust each other. We could talk about things.
“We could have deep conversations that I couldn’t have with anyone else, and we had the same sense of humour,” she said.
Sheniz’s shattered father also spoke out on the eve of her funeral.
“They’re just kids. Even adults can’t hold it together – how are kids supposed to hold it inside? In the modern day, they just crack,” Senol Erkan said.
Renay, who said she had also been bullied, said the pair sometimes spoke about being harassed.
“She was good at ignoring the bullies,” she said. “She didn’t care what anyone thought of her.
“But I guess she just couldn’t take it any more.
“There’s only a certain amount you can take.
“She thought no one cared about her.”
The last time they spoke was just minutes before Sheniz died.
“The last words she said to me were ‘I love you’,” she said.
After seeing the tens of thousands of online tributes for her best friend, Renay said Sheniz was looking down and could see that people cared.
She had a simple message for Sheniz’s bullies: “You really don’t understand how severe your actions are until something like this happens.
“I’m mad at the bullies, of course I am. But it hasn’t bothered them at all, because they’re still doing it.”
Renay was frustrated by abusive comments posted on Sheniz’s tribute site.
“It hurts that such a young person had to go through this,” she said.
“How many people have to die before something is done?”
Renay urged other bullying victims to speak out.
“If you’re getting bullied, just really speak up.”