Source: Fernanda Matias on Twitter.
That is all. That’s my post.
A while back I had written an article that I felt rather passionate about, but an editor for a publication found it went a bit off topic and in essence rejected it. As a journalist I adjust to such rejection. As for an actor, rejection is part of the job and we accept that is just the way it is. We learn, grow and move on with it. When we don’t is when we fail.
My own experience
However this particular article was different. The subject matter went deeper for me.
Like many, I was bullied in school. I was was bullied because I couldn’t play any form of sports. (I was an asthmatic.) I was bullied about my hair, my freckles and my near-transparent “white” skin. (My Irish heritage did not mesh well when most of the girls were tanning. I only burned.) Later, as my self-esteem went down, my weight went up. I was bullied for that also. (A size twelve in a California-Girl must look like a model-thin world.) It went on. I retaliated and it made it worse.
In my 20’s I learned that all that I was teased for was often coveted by some and attracted the opposite sex. The worst of it: when it did, I didn’t believe them. I believed the bullies. Full recovery takes time, and it has taken near all of my life.
At the time the article was written, I didn’t fight for it and nor did I find another publication. I sit and accept a lot. Might be related to the early bullying.
The original article’s content and length was not much in my world, about 1,200 words. But it did need editing and focus. Much of it is my opinion. But the support and researched information is on the ultimate and growing danger involving cyberbullying – suicide deaths.
Today’s post on Cybersmile by Richard lit a fire under me to post and further affirmed just how important it is that I be more tenacious about fighting for what I write, at least for that which rings true for me and feels important enough to fight for. Feel free to be the judge:
Sticks and Stones: The Growing Threat of Cyberbully Death
Recent deaths in the form of suicides have been increasing around the world, and often in direct response to the vitriol and hateful words that are used in weapon-like fashion on internet social forums.
Although there are volumes that can be said advocating the usefulness of the Internet as a mass-communicating tool, the amount of concern over the increase of hate speech there is equally voluminous.
As there is already in place some regulation that prohibits the use of speech from inciting violence or panic in public places, especially for already volatile situations, something needs to be put in place to help support social network platforms to keep the peace and maintain a healthy environment in internet socializing.
The legal classification of Hate Speech is a type of hateful speech that includes racism, antisemitism, religious bigotry or intolerance, homophobia, bigotry of the disabled, political hatred, and misogyny.
Cyberbullying, or the online harassment and/or stalking of individuals, can and often does involve form of hate speech designed to “disparage a person or group based on a characteristic of the person or group”, often coercing and belittling them to a deadly end.
In the book, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did, author Lori Andrews said “The Web is actually a lawless frontier of unpredictable dangers,” and the dangers she speaks of are real and increasing at an alarming rate.
Andrew Backover, in his Denver Post article Hate Sets up Shop on Internet, states “The role of the Internet in propagating violence extends beyond the way it provides fodder for the distorted worldviews of individual fanatics. It also allows anti-Semites, racists and bigots to communicate, collaborate, and plot in ways simply not possible in the off-line.”
An extension of the schoolyard or Sticks and Stones
“Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” – Schoolyard defense rhyme.
In a Letter to the New York Times posted by the Anti-Defamation League, Authors Foxman and Wolf said that “despite the schoolyard adage about ‘sticks and stones,’ hate speech does cause hurt, and, as we have witnessed too many times in society, can and does have its real-world victims.”
Schoolyard bullying has nearly become a rite of passage for many. The learned ability to confront and address a bully from a young age governs how we confront adversarial issues as adults. Some learn better than others, and it is a fact of life that the highs and lows of our emotional strengths cannot always come to our own defense exactly at the time that we need. But when it comes to a verbal face-to-face confrontation with adversary, we have the opportunity to evaluate in order to make the choice of fight or flight.
The experienced, skin-toughened individual might understand “stick/stones/bones”, but not all will see that hate words are truly meaningless and without power. The internet has inhibited, and even impugned, our right as users to literally face our adversaries, as they may be. Those who are not able to face their accusers or tormentors are often forced into corners, defenseless because of their age, inexperience, mental strength, or over-all lack of self-worth. Online predators are aware of this and take advantage, because they can. The internet has given a certain amount of power to emotional vampires and other forms of hate-fueled predators who use the anonymity available on the internet to meet their needs, spewing vitriol and inflicting emotional pain.
Hate words in social media have been directly attributed to near a dozen suicide deaths within the last three years. And with it, the growing count of suicide deaths occurring world-wide as a result of online bullying, hate-based harassment, and other forms of hate speech is beyond alarming:
16-year-old Taylor Alesana, a transgender teen, was bullied for her YouTube content. She killed herself this year, in April of 2015, in Ohio.
Unchecked hate speech could lead to more. Because action is currently not taken as a preventative, online predators are becoming increasingly bold, having nothing tangible in place to keep them in check or otherwise hinder their agendas. Internet bullying is a faceless crime and the pay-off for the offenders is that the crimes are either ignored, not reported, or otherwise condemned even by the victims themselves, embarrassed that the incidents have even taken place.
The Anti-Cyberbully brigade
Simpleacts.org, has given a word for the fatalities associated with the deaths associated with cyberbullying – Bullycide. According to the site, “bullying occurs in every state of the U.S. but there are five states that make up the top five that have the most bullying behavior.” They list Washington, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York, with California as number one.
According the Megan Meier Foundation, using National Crime Victimization Survey data on the pre-college student population for 2011 “it is estimated that about 2.2 million students experienced cyberbullying.” Of the students that reported being cyberbullied: “71.9% reported being cyberbullied once or twice in the school year , 19.6% reported once or twice a month, 5.3% reported once or twice a week, 3.1% reported almost everyday.”
According to nobullying.com, per a Yale University study, “bullied victims are 7 to 9% more likely to consider suicide” and according to a study by ABC News over 30,000 children stay home every day due to the fear of being bullied.”
There is currently no regulation in the U.S. that addresses or attempts to prevent cyberbullying. The law only covers the what is to be done if the outcome is death. Law Enforcement only considers cyberbullying a crime when threats of violence, child pornography or sexually explicit messages or photos are sent, photos or videos are taken clandestinely and/or published, and stalking. In all these instances, proof is required. Some states consider other forms of cyberbullying criminal. But again, law enforcement does not pursue cyberbullying itself as a crime until someone actually dies.
According to the National Post, Canada attempted regulation recently with Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the “hate speech provision,” which governed “the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet.” Although passed in the Senate, it was repealed. But clearly the people of Canada felt the need for such initial regulation.
However the U.S. Government is engaged to an extent. In February 2013, the White House announced the creation of a new Inter-agency Working Group to Counter Online Radicalization to Violence. However, there are limits to that the government can play in this area.
Regulate or propagate hate
Many social media platforms have their own guidelines in place, but the community at large of those who see the growing problem either don’t feel it is enough or feel they are being over restricted or policed as it is. As a whole, the stance of most social media providers is that the community itself self-police, where platforms often provide tools for blocking, reporting or ultimately denying service for repeat offenders.
In the book, Viral Hate, authors Abraham H. Foxman and Christopher Wolf discuss the concept of community involvement in the condemnation of cyberbullying instead of involving government regulation. But in that, the authors acknowledge that “self-policing would be difficult to enforce unless those concerned with such online civility band together to make it possible and do so in a way that is consistent, fair, and unbiased it would be difficult to say what forms of interface intervention are reasonable and appropriate.”
There is already excessive amounts of violence, death, anger, and fear that society processes on a daily basis, and from a variety of sources, creating a numbing—not toughening—effect, and is causing a general form of apathy. Regulation could help support the backlash that is causing this apathy and the overall “nothing will change” and “it’s a hopeless task” feeling that seems to be building.
Further concern on the effects of anonymous hate speech and cyberbullying is not limited to the victims. Unchecked hate speech can damage a person’s ability to determine right from wrong over time and lead to their own self-injury. Additionally, such hate words can undo the slow progress our world culture has made toward acceptance and understanding in race relations, religion, politics, physical differences, disabilities, and sexual orientation.
Although a combination of education, online social savvy and empowerment, industry self-regulation, and social pressure toward anti-hate speech is needed, a legal watchdog is needed to help enforce and back-up all that the online industry and community continue to put into place.
And because online social network creators and administrators are currently powerless to truly enforce such rules and prevention—providing virtually enforce-less guidelines or rules—such outside regulation in some form needs to help end the suffering and death that is resulting from online bullying.
There is a very nice list of bloggers here, and I really, really could not recommend Linnet Moss’ blog highly enough. She does me a huge honor that I can not ignore with not re-blogging.
Originally posted on Linnet Moss:
Just for fun, I decided to change the “Versatile Blogger Award” rules so that winners now have a choice of displaying either Kit Harington’s abs or Scarlett Johansson’s pecs.
Not long ago I was nominated as a “Versatile Blogger” (many thanks, Perry of Armitage Agonistes!). It was a thrill because I used to worry that my blog was perhaps too unfocused to attract a regular set of readers. After all, how many people out there share an interest in all the things I write about, from rapini to Ralph Fiennes to rosé to ancient Rome?
This award gives me a chance to celebrate ten other versatile bloggers (some longtime favorites and a few newly discovered) and invite them to participate, if they so choose. The award is intended to be an honor, not a burden, so if you do not have time, no worries! Just bask in the…
View original 1,167 more words
Judging a book by its cover. #richardarmitage
Originally posted on Armitage Agonistes:
It’s actually quite difficult, a lot of the responses that people have already committed to blogging is that they already despise this character, and how can you play a character that’s so despicable, and how can you glamorize a character that’s so despicable, without having read the book or seen what we’re going to do with him? That… I would call it an “agenda of judgment,” is in all of us.
Good interview, though.
Originally posted on My Sort of Bloke:
Gege Faveri, a fan from Brazil, posted this video on YouTube. It’s a lovely summary of Richard’s work as an actor. Enjoy!
Originally posted on Armitage Agonistes:
here. A good recap and review.
Originally posted on Armitage Agonistes:
here excerpt: It’s actually quite difficult, a lot of the responses that people have already committed to blogging is that they already despise this character, and how can you play a character that’s so despicable, and how can you glamorize a character that’s so despicable, without having read the book…
Originally posted on My Sort of Bloke:
Note: This is not a spoiler-free post. I am particularly sensitive to stories of abuse, for reasons I discussed on this blog a long time ago. In addition to which, I do not like to watch horror movies/TV shows. I blame Carrie and Damian (not the vampire –…
Originally posted on Interesting Literature:
10 classic books written by the master of science fiction, H. G. Wells H. G. Wells (1866-1946) wrote dozens of books over the course of his literary career, a career which spanned over half a century. But what are the best books by H. G. Wells? As well as writing…