Friday, August 31, 2012

a letter to CHARLOTTE from CORINNE

I am disgusted by the way Charlotte Dawson has been treated on Twitter this week. Bullying has and always will effect me. You never really know how fragile someone is. My youngest daughter has been bullied and one of my nieces was taunted most of her primary school life. What possess these bullies/trolls to get online and abuse someone is so humanely WRONG. I have also hear that the person being bullied should just shut down their account, but it is not that easy as they have already been hurt and tormented and it is too late. So regardless of whether they shut their account down or not the damage has already been done. 


If you get on Facebook or Twitter or the online comments section of an article and throw hate at another human being, you have no idea what harm you are causing.  None.

Just because the person you abuse ignores you, it doesn’t mean you haven’t injured them.  Just because they retweet your comment and claim it didn’t bother them, there’s no proof that’s actually true.  And just because they joke about it doesn’t mean they are not covering up the fact that you and the hundreds of other people joining in the bullying aren’t hurting them incredibly.
Someone I admired and adored committed suicide a few years ago. 
I still think about him almost every day.  I think about the fact that I had no idea that he suffered from depression.  He was always happy and always funny.  He hid what was really going on from almost everyone else.  If I’d known he was in trouble, I would have been there for him in a heartbeat.  The fact that none of us knew he needed help will haunt me forever.
There are people like him on Twitter. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them.  The world is full of people who show the online world one face, while privately suffering with another.  How do you know the person you’re telling to die isn’t one of them?  Even if they write back and mock you in return, how do you know they’re not bawling their eyes out while they do it?
 Not knowing the effect of your abuse does not absolve you of responsibility. 
If the person you  attack winds up in hospital you have to accept that your actions were most likely a contributing factor. Just because no-one hauls you before a judge doesn’t mean you aren’t guilty.
I don’t know how we handle this. Trolls and bullies will always exist. We can’t insist that everyone on Twitter disclose their identity because in countries where freedom of speech is severely curtailed, anonymity means the difference between life and death.
We can’t lock up everyone who writes something cruel either.  Firstly, it’s impractical and secondly, for all the bullying campaigns and punitive measures already in place, none of it has made any real difference.
Ignoring the trolls is the most pointless argument of all. 
The Jesus-like directive to turn the other cheek just means there’s another cheek to hit.  Charlotte didn’t get trolled last night because she retweets and responds to bullies, she was trolled because there are people in the world who enjoy doing it and she stuck her head up on television to call them out.  I doubt it would have made a lick of difference to the amount of abuse she received if she had chosen to just sit at home and cop it silently.
Ignoring something in the hope that it will go away doesn’t work. And expecting people to silently accept bullying, or to censor their personal beliefs in an effort to avoid abuse means the trolls get to set the agenda.
 I have no solutions to offer. None.  I do, however, have a plea.
If you’re a troll, ask yourself this: is it worth it? Putting all of the bullshit bravado and excuses aside, is contributing to the suffering of a fellow human being really what you want to be spending your time doing on this planet ?
The greatest change you make in the world should be for good.  That should be the example you set for others.  That should be your contribution.  That should be your legacy.  Your time here is so short.
Hurting another human being is a pointless waste of the life you have been given.
Herald Sun has an article which calls for changes to laws against cyber bullying. About time people need to suffer the consequences of their actions.

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