Can we talk?

Please grab your beverage of choice and sit back.

Look, I know I’m outspoken. I know many people are uncomfortable with how outspoken I am. I know many people view my continued pressing of the facts as some version of me telling them they can’t have an opinion (you can have an opinion, but opinions do not equal facts). I get it. Many of you don’t like me. That’s cool. I’m not losing any sleep over it.

BUT

We need to have a little talk about what happened over the last week.

I shared facts and expressed my (strong) feelings on social media, as is my right to do.

People disagreed with me. People insulted me. People attacked me.

Fine. Whatever.

Here’s what’s not cool:

One man – Daniel White, a man who I’ve never met and have no idea how he landed on my Facebook feed (yes, it’s public, I get it. I still don’t know where he came from) – put in writing that I raped him. No one said anything meaningful to him about how far over the line he’d stepped in his effort – presumably – to ‘teach me a lesson.’

Several people used anonymous and formerly abandoned social media channels to continue to harass and mock me.

Several other people sent me mildly threatening messages, and one person wrote to me, “no wonder your sister killed herself.”

That is some completely unnecessary and utterly callous bullshit right there.

Friends and acquaintances (who actually know me) were appalled at the things that were being written to and about me (as was I), especially by people with whom I’ve never interacted in person or don’t know at all. Even those of you who don’t like me or my approach would have been completely and utterly appalled by some of what I was receiving.

By the end of the day Monday, the messages I was receiving and the things people were writing publicly were so abhorrent that I temporarily deactivated my Facebook account.

In response to this, someone is bound to say, “oh, just grow a thicker skin,” but let’s think about that for a minute.

Why should I have to? Why am I expected to just “be tougher” in the face of downright abusive behaviour? I should grow a thicker skin in response to “no wonder your sister killed herself”? No. That individual should engage in some serious self-reflection and never, ever speak to anyone like that.

The onus is not on me to be ‘tougher’ in the face of that kind of behaviour.

The onus is on others to not behave like that in the first place. Period.

Driving people from social media is not cool. Harassing people with whom you disagree is not cool. Saying things like the examples I’ve given above are so incredibly not cool that I don’t even know where to begin.

As has been clearly evidenced on my Facebook profile for years, you can disagree with me. You can dislike the things I say or how I say them. You can even hate me.

You should never be stepping over the line into cyber-bullying territory; a territory that has seen many women (at least temporarily) leave social media, because the harassment and threats have been too much to take.

I’m glad we had this chat.

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