Driven to suicide, but Renae's abuser in the clear - Criminalising Catfishing.

Driven to suicide, but Renae's abuser in the clear - Criminalising Catfishing.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!

Imagine if your child’s best friend led them to take their own life. It’s every parent's worst nightmare, but for us it’s a painful reality. Our daughter was emotionally catfished by her best friend. Our daughter is gone, but her friend has not been charged. There have been no legal consequences for her. 

‘Catfishing’ is defined as ‘creating a fake identity (or stealing that of another’s) to formulate a persona (usually online) for the purpose of obtaining advantage by deception. With the extensive use of social media today, especially with young people, catfishing is becoming a global epidemic. We need your help. Because catfishing is not a criminal offence in any Australian jurisdiction. And it needs to be.  

On an August evening in 2013, our beautiful, lively, kind, and generous 20 year old daughter Renae drove to The Gap in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. That day, Renae’s boyfriend of 18 months had ended their relationship and Renae was heartbroken. She was never seen again. As we fought to uncover the reasons why Renae never returned home, the ugly truth was exposed. Renae’s ‘boyfriend’ was actually Renae’s best friend of 6 years, Camila. We had always been concerned with the toxic nature of the friendship. Renae was a forgiving, trusting individual. She wasn’t gullible. As Renae (and we) became more concerned about Camila’s influence and the physically, mentally and emotionally abusive nature of the friendship on Renae, she tried to end the friendship numerous times. Unfortunately, Camila’s manipulation and Renae’s kind hearted nature always saw them reconnect.

For almost 2 years of their friendship, Camila simultaneously emotionally catfished Renae, luring her into an online relationship with ‘Brayden’. Yet Renae never discovered the deception. During the time Renae was being catfished, Camila maintained her control over the friendship. She monopolised Renae’s time and mental and emotional energy, both as herself and also as Brayden. There was no escape. When Renae decided to end the friendship for good, Camila responded by having ‘Brayden’ end the relationship. She wanted to punish Renae by crushing her spirit and destroying her emotionally. To date, Renae’s body has never been found. 

NSW Police were unable to charge Camila with any offence under existing laws, despite her actions directly influencing Renae to take her own life. Catfishing is not criminalised anywhere in Australia. It took nearly 7 years for Renae’s story to be heard in the NSW Coroners Court to try to find the truth. Despite being granted legal immunity, Camila refused to accept any responsibility. She continued to lie and denied any involvement, all to protect herself. The Deputy Coroner concluded that Renae took her own life, openly declaring Camila's story to be “a pack of lies”. Despite this damning assessment, Camila still lives freely. She goes shopping and frequents the same areas as our family despite totally destroying Renae’s life, and ours. It’s a total slap in the face. Camila’s despicable actions didn’t rip only our world apart. Her behaviour has permanently impacted the lives of other people she used to perpetuate her ruse. She systematically ingratiated herself with us and others as long as we were useful to her. Every step of the way, Camila had choices about whether to continue the deception or to stop. She chose not to, and even drove around with us while we frantically searched for Renae. 

Our laws are here to hold people accountable and enforce consequences. We made a promise to our daughter that we will do everything we can to have catfishing criminalised to try to protect others from falling victim to the same fate as Renae.

In this digital age, the internet has unfortunately simultaneously opened the doors to online fraud, deception and cyber bullying. These scams usually entail extorting money and obtaining personal information from individuals for financial gain. In Renae’s case, it resulted in the loss of an innocent life. There is currently no legislation that specifically prohibits the use of intentional catfishing to cause sustained pain and suffering.

Renae had a beautiful heart that radiated love to anyone who knew her. Ultimately, her amazing personal qualities left her vulnerable to someone with malicious intent. You would never suspect that your own best friend would catfish you into suicide. Renae was lured into a trap set by someone who knew her best, and she’s not alone. With social media dominating people’s lives today, we find many others in similar situations as Renae. 

We will not let Renae leave us in vain. Help us make a change in our community to stop others suffering the loss of their loved-ones like our family has. Innocent people need to know they are protected by the law from the cruelty of catfishers. Please join our fight; make a difference and sign this petition. Help to share Renae’s story. We never want another family to suffer the same torment that our young daughter endured and the pain we feel every day. With one click, you can be the change.

Nae home video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4GP1Pi-ngw

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!