- DEMI LYNCH -
This week I saw a 16 year old girl voice her thoughts in front of politicians from all over the world.
This week I saw images of thousands of people from all over the world protesting because of this 16 year old girl.
But this week I also saw people from all over the world mock this girl.
A TV guest on Fox News called her 'mentally ill.'
A columnist said she needs an 'intervention' and a 'good spanking.'
A TV host said she looks like a character in a horror movie.
And another TV host called her an 'annoying little brat.'
The 16 year old girl - Greta Thunberg - has become one of the world's most iconic climate activists.
Yet she has been ridiculed for her looks, her voice, her clothes, her autism, her personality - just to name a few.
This is bullying - plain and simple - yet somehow we have become immune to it.
We accept it as a form of free speech and something we should expect in the world of social media.
And we think it's okay to just ignore it - well not anymore.
* * *
Over the past several weeks I've noticed a number of people in the media open up about their experiences with bullying.
Australian blogger Constance Hall spoke about being 'systematically abused by thousands of people' in a recent TedX Talk.
She said people formed hate groups dedicated to 'dethroning' her, hacked her Facebook and constantly sent her death threats.
"I am a victim of bullying," she said, "soul destroying, shame inducing career ending bullying."
Similarly, British singer Jesy Nelson has been on the receiving end of bullying for many years.
Earlier this month the Little Mix singer released a documentary about how trolls 'consumed every part of her life.'
In her documentary the 'Odd One Out,' she spoke about how bullying triggered a five year battle with depression and suicide attempt in 2013.
And just this week ANOTHER person in the media spoke out about their experience with continuous online bullying.
Bachelor Australia contestant Abbie Chatfield spoke out about being 'slut-shamed' on a recent Instagram post.
"Things I got slut shamed for on #thebachelorau: my bikini, my skort at hometowns, multiple cocktail party gowns, kissing matt 'without a date' and at a cocktail party (out of sight of anyone), pashing Matt in various locations with varying degrees of intensity, honestly admitting that I wanted to have sex with a man I was dating for 10 weeks and all around just 'using sexuality to manipulate Matt.' This is something I did not expect in 2019."
She said she has a collection of screenshots of horrible comments made about her during her time on The Bachelor and may soon put them together for a video to 'show the full extent of what she's dealt with.'
Trolling someone online makes you a bully.
And bullying someone online does not lessen the cruel effect it has on the victim.
* * *
I want to remind you all of a girl name Dolly Everett.
She was only 14 years old when she committed suicide last year.
Dolly was relentlessly bullied by her peers, sent death threats, called a 'slut' and told to 'cut herself.'
She was told to ignore the bullies.
Constance Hall, Jesy Nelson and Abbie Chatfield were also told to ignores the bullies.
But having someone online call you names and threaten you doesn't stop when you turn off your phone.
"It doesn't matter if you're in the public media or not you cannot get away from social media," Jesy Nelson said in her documentary, "it's ruining people's lives."
Constance Hall firmly believes taking yourself offline won't eradicate the bullying.
She said in her TedX Talk the only way to stop bullying is to support the victims.
"We can't combat bullying by hating bullies. We will combat bullying by loving victims."
Bullying is a serious issue and we need to take it seriously.
Adults, teens and children around the world have experienced severe hardship from bullying which has led to devastating consequences.
Instead of ignoring it we need to take action and support and show love to the victims.
If this story was triggering please contact Lifeline at 13 11 14.
Announcer & Producer of 'The Nasty Woman Club Podcast'
Co-Producer & Co-Announcer of Radio 4EB program 'Fair Comment'
Former 102.1FM 4ZZZ Radio Announcer & Contributor