A Thought And Invitation

It was during the summer after his high school graduation that 18-year-old Tyler Clementi began sharing that he was gay. Clemenit’s room mate during his freshman year at Rutgers University, Dharun Ravi, used a webcam in September 2010 to stream footage of Clementi kissing another man. According to the Tyler Clementi Foundation, the teenager learned through his room mate’s Twitter feed that he had become “a topic of ridicule in his new social environment.” On September 22, 2010, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. – “The Top 6 Unforgettable CyberBullying Cases Ever”, NoBullying.com, September 15, 2015

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In a interview with Complex magazine and her twitter account FKA Twigs stated, “I am genuinely shocked and disgusted by the amount of racism that has been infecting my account…racism is unacceptable in the real world and it’s unacceptable online.” – TK Quann, “Birth of the Social Media Bully; The Online Harassment of FKA Twiggs”, Urban Bush Babies, August 10, 2015

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These are not a bunch of teenagers screaming invective because they can or a bunch of fringe weirdoes who no one supports. These are men who have power, men who have families, men who have respect in their communities. So what kind of things did these well-supported, mainstream men have to say about a woman who has an image that is almost surely non-consensual being circulated around the internet for her humiliation?

  • She was out suckin dick prolly
  • Just look at the tange of her pussy.I’m gonna have to do something about it.
  • if was her husband i would have her nickers off by now
  • If it had been my ex wife she would have smelled like cock too
  • And her panties on backwards and smelling like lamb skins
  • Least she remembered to put her underwear back on before she came home.
  • Another bottled blonde tramp
  • I Like the View better then the story!!! :)
  • nice panties love to take them off
  • haha , it’s good !! The girl on the floor – love to hit that stuff
  • dang , love to hit that right there , just the way it lays !! No need to remove anything , it’s a small car cover . just push the cover aside , jump in and go for a ride !! ” you’re just dreaming gorgeous , stay asleep a little longer ” oh yeah !
  • Time for a new wife, lying drunken B
  • I would put it In her!!
  • Id wake her up the HARD WAY and later say it wasn’t me !!! ;) ))) lmao
  • She also would have woke up feeling sticky and used!
  • Whuts da ho’ doin on da flo’ ?
  • That’s so funny I laughed until I cried I see she made it home with some of her pants still on.
  • The picture was better than the joke….lol
  • And these are the type of females who complain that they can’t find a man.
  • been there…hubby should take advantage of this.. :)
  • I would of kicked the crap out of her
  • I would of hit it!
  • She made it home with her panties on
  • She’s a hoe. I’d dump her!!! Plain and simple
  • I’d love to wake up with her on my living room floor…
  • Looks like its one of them” hunny I’m help yourself poses haaahaaa
  • An found a used codom in side of her
  • Least she still got her nickers still on – inside out but still on LOL LOL
  • not one of my ex’s, she’s still got her pants on
  • Got any more jokes with pics like this ???!!!!
  • At least she is wearing panties. If not it would be a perfect picture
  • He needs to lay the smack down and not let her go out anywhere dressed like that. Nuff said…
  • perfect opportunity to have sex with your wife
  • any man worth his salt would fuk it now
  • What no thong (what a waste )

The main themes are:

  • Rape is awesome.
  • Women are obligated to give men their bodies.
  • Women who have consensual sex are disgusting people that deserve no respect.
  • Men are entitled to control women with violence.

Naturally, you’re seeing the inevitable attempts to distract from the most important thing here, which is that men who promote vile misogyny and violence against women rarely pay a social penalty for it. – Amanda Marcotte, “Online Misogynists Are Not Fringe Characters”, Raw Story, February 26, 2013

Few things fuel a depressives downward spiral like a sense of isolation and incomprehensibility. If it isn't enough to receive insulting, harassing online messages, believing oneself alone and that no one will understand you can lead to real dangers.

Few things fuel a depressives downward spiral like a sense of isolation and incomprehensibility. If it isn’t enough to receive insulting, harassing online messages, believing oneself alone and that no one will understand you can lead to real dangers.

Earlier today I wrote at another site about the ongoing harassment of Mia Matsumiya for having the audacity to expose the extent and variety of online harassment she’s received. Originally, I was going to write a post here about how the Christian Churches need to do something to help people who are victims of online bullying, harassment, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of verbal violence against themselves and their persons.

While teens and celebrities in particular are vulnerable to such harassment, the fact is it can happen to anyone. For any reason. Are you a Muslim unafraid to write or post about your faith? I can guaran-damn-tee you receive everything from ignorant comments about your religion right up to death threats. How about if you’re in a mix-raced relationship? Perhaps you’re the son or daughter of parents in a same-sex marriage. Shoot, you might be a gay United Methodist bombarded by the onslaught of posts and articles and comments about how God hates the way you love and you’re responsible for the deterioration of our denomination!

The fact of the matter is online harassment, particularly when it happens to people vulnerable to depression or other mental illnesses, can isolate those already feeling alone and misunderstood. That sense of isolation, combined with the conviction that no one understands me or will understand me or believe me, is a recipe for tragedy. Of course, there are all sorts of support groups, urgings to “get help”, call a hotline, and whatnot. Of course there are the less-than-helpful comments like, “Why use social media if it’s only going to invite harassment?” because nothing reassures someone like blaming them for violent, hate-filled rape fantasies and death threats.

Social media are here to stay. They are a crucial part of our culture, whether we like it or not. As such, it is up to someone to help make it a safe place for the vulnerable. Here’s my thought. If I get some positive feedback either here or on Facebook to the idea, I’m going to create a private group where people can gather, share their stories, and support one another. Most of all, someone might well discover that he or she isn’t alone after all. That person might well discover there are safe, supporting, loving places on the Internet.

My further thought is that this be open to anyone and everyone who is being harassed, bullied, threatened, or otherwise taunted in some way. You don’t have to be a Christian. You can even have been harassed and insulted by people calling themselves Christian! Thus, this isn’t specifically a “Christian” support group. It is just a network of people supporting one another, sharing stories, and lifting up one another.

Everyone from celebrities to people who believe they are nobody is invited. It’s A Safe Place. It’s private, closed, with membership by approval only. I’m thinking, if anyone actually signs up, maybe we could get some professionals involved offering help to those who might need it most. It’s all about help. It’s all about supporting one another. It’s all about A Safe Place.

What do you think? There are all sorts of reasons not to do something like this, not the least of them being I’ve never been the target of such acts. There might be such groups out there, or websites, or organizations, and all I’m doing is reinventing the wheel. I can think of a hundred reasons why this isn’t a good idea. So I guess I’m looking for some kind of feedback, positive feedback.

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About gksafford

I'm a middle-aged theologically educated clergy spouse, living in the Midwest. My children are the most important thing in my life. Right behind them and my wife is music. I'm most interested in teaching people to listen to contemporary music with ears of faith. Everything else you read on here is straw.

Howdy! Thanks for reading. Really. Be nice and remember - I'm like Roz from Monster's Inc. I'm always watching.

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