Trigger Warning: Dear Trolls, – We Need to Talk
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen this before, but I felt compelled to give this letter a more permanent home after seeing even more bullying and harassment online, today. It’s 2 am and I’m up again at 8am to go on a 5 hour round hike, but I’m so disappointed at the world right now that I can’t sleep. There’ll be none of my witty repertoire or gifs, it’ll be a simple, to the point, letter to those involved in this form of bullying and harassment. There will also be a link to a petition which you can sign if you want, I’d appreciate your support.
So today I hopped on Instagram whilst procrastinating from writing my book and the mountain of university work I have to get done before next week. As the majority of my friends, family and following knows, I’m a gobshite and I’m very fiery when it comes to topics I am passionate about. Said passion often overflows into my words on my blog posts, I’m using said passion to write this open letter to you, trolls.
Very recently I came to the defence of a fellow blogger and influencer who was being badly bullied online by nameless individual’s. Whilst I have your names and social media handles, I’ve chosen not to share them because as much as I want to, I just can’t lower myself to your level. The blogger and influencer who we will call P was promoting a product that was child and pet-friendly.
I’ve followed P since before her first child was born, to protect her identity I won’t say how many kids she has or her platform. What I will say is that one of the main reasons I follow P is because, like me, she has a no bullshit approach to promoting products. She will NOT promote a product that would in any way endanger a child or an animal. The product she was promoting was a type of spray.
Before I comment on anything I do my research, just like with my blog posts. I will never knowingly misinform or mislead anyone because I hate when that happens to me, hence the research. So, knowing what I know about the influencer and about the product, I, of course, did some digging to find out if what the vile commenters were saying was true. Of course, it wasn’t, I knew it wasn’t before I checked, but it’s always good to have some facts to back up what you think you know.
P received a tirade of abuse from men and women with the age range of 14 – 40+, there were hundreds of comments attacking not only her parenting, her home, her children, her animals, her dress sense, her looks, but also attacking her for promoting this product and only being in it for the money because she was “a stuck up bitch”.
She’s no stranger to such abuse, there are websites created for the sole purpose of attacking other influencers, with dozens upon dozens of pages just attacking this girl for just being online. I honestly don’t know why I was shocked, it’s not the first time I’ve come across someone getting this type of abuse and it won’t be the last.
I understand this woman has put her life online, that people won’t always agree with how she parents her kids, how she cleans her home, picks up her dog poo or whatever. However, just because you see 10 minutes into someone’s life a few days a week, doesn’t give you the right to pass judgement or comment on how someone raises their kids.
Is she being paid to advertise a product? Yes, do you, trolls, honestly think P would just decide to pick a product without actually doing her research to make sure that it wouldn’t impact her children’s health or the health of her animals? She’s a businesswoman, she didn’t float up the River Lagan (it’s a Northern Irish river, for those unaware) in a wee bubble one day and just plop down somewhere and magic millions of followers from her arse.
The point I’m making here is she knows her stuff, this isn’t her first rodeo. Do you know what bullying is, trolls? Let me give you the definition of bullying:
“the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online.”
What is happening to this woman is cyberbullying at it’s finest. This is not the first time I’ve jumped to P’s defence, it’s also not the first time I’ve defended another female influencer or male influencers for that matter. I’ve defended several, on one occasion I was told to “f**k off and die”. The lad was such a charmer, had I been single I’d have snapped him up in a second, I mean, with charm like that what else is needed?!
I’m beyond sick and tired, now. I’m beyond disgusted now. I wish you, trolls, could see the impact you have on people. It’s not okay to bully someone, it’s not okay to threaten someone, it’s not okay to post someone’s address online, the address of their children’s school, nor is it okay to turn up to their house or send them horrible letters. All of this is bullying and harassment. ALL.OF.IT. and it honestly needs to stop.
This is the fourth time in 72 hours I’ve come to someone’s defence online, sure you could tell me it’s none of my business and to stay out of it, but I’m not that type of person. I’m not the type of person who will just sit there and allow people to be treated like crap. I’ve been treated like crap and I know how it feels. I’m writing this letter to you, trolls, to ask you to consider the consequences that your words can have.
Recently I came to the defence of an individual who is at a very low point in their life. They feel nothing is working, no-one cares and are at the point of just trying to end it all. This person, S we will call him, had shared these thoughts online using his social media. I happened upon it completely by chance and when I saw the comments telling him to
“f**k off and kill himself already”
It brought tears to my eyes, I contacted two of the individual’s asking why they thought it was okay for them to say that to this person, why not just block and delete them? Their response, “S was fucking annoying me, all he does is whinge and does nothing about his situation.”
When I asked them if they knew what his situation was, they said no. When I asked them had they ever reached out to him to find out what was going on, they said no. I asked them why if they hadn’t done that did they think it was okay to tell someone to go kill themselves, they had no response.
I know S’s situation, but only because I reached out to him as I was worried about the comments and that I wanted to let him know not everyone was an awful human with no compassion for others. He’s doing a bit better, last time I checked in, but no thanks to those people.
The influencers I mentioned above, every single one of them has suffered from depression in the past. P has also suffered from an eating disorder and is still recovering from this. It’s not something you are ever cured from, it’s an ongoing process. As is mental health, we aren’t suddenly cured of our mental health conditions, we learn to live with them and we adapt. We recognise our triggers and we gain strength from our battle, but we still have scars and we still have setbacks.
I am writing this letter to ask you to consider your words before typing on your keyboard from whatever hole you live in. You, trolls, have no idea what is going on in someone’s life, just what they choose to share with you online. You have no idea what is going on in their brain, or how your comment or encouragement to just go kill themselves already could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The last punch before they finally give in and actually take their own lives.
It wouldn’t be suicide, it would be manslaughter or the aiding and abetting of suicide. Think I’m wrong? Think again, just Google Michelle Carter, better yet Google Brodie Panlock (19). Go to Netflix and type in Daisy and Audrie and watch it, or Google Felix Alexander (17), Audrie Pott (15), Rebecca Ann Sedwick (12), Gabbie Green (12) or Rochelle Pryor (14). I could go on and on and on, trolls.
Not a single one of these kids and none of the adults you’ve bullied deserve the crap you, trolls, give them, and why? Think about that, why are you bullying them? Is it jealousy? Is it boredom? Are you just a sociopath, or psychopath? Or, are you just plain evil? Have a look at this and tell me it’s okay because it’s NOT okay. You will never know if your horrific comment will be the end of someone.
If you don’t have anything nice to contribute, don’t contribute, simple.
This isn’t a joke to the people you are bullying and it isn’t a joke to me. I wish you could experience the calls I have, the kids on the other end of the line wanting to kill themselves because they’re being cyberbullied because they aren’t perfect. Or, because someone saw them talking to someone else’s girlfriend/boyfriend. This is a life, this is someone else’s child, sister, brother, cousin, niece, nephew, best friend, only friend, lifeline, this is you taking someone’s life and causing a ripple effect on every other person that has loved them, and for what? Because life dealt you a crappy hand, or because you have no life and are bored?
These people have people that love them, have pets that follow them everywhere they go, these people may not live up to their full potential or have their parents walk them down the aisle and see their child’s grandchildren because you, trolls, snuffed out their lives. You did it, and soon, you’ll be held accountable for your actions.
Do you know that the youngest child to ever commit suicide was 8? 8 years old, why? He was being bullied and he couldn’t take it anymore, his name was Gabriel Taye. Do you remember what you were doing at 8? I’m sure you didn’t even know what suicide was at 8, well, Gabriel did and now his parents will never see him grow up, marry, have kids of his own, because of bullies, just like you, trolls.
CNN reported in 2017 that every 5 days a child under the age of 13 commits suicide. Every 5 days, not every 5 years, but every 5 days. That is a shocking amount of kids that know more about suicide than some adults do. The link to that article is, here. You’re probably thinking, “why is this girl setting up these links thinking I’m gonna click on them? Do you think I care?” No, you probably don’t, but like I said, I do my research and I care.
If you take anything away from this other than the shocking amount of kids that kill themselves (which alongside the adult statistics of suicide is enough to fill a main city in America) is that before you put your grubby, dirty wee hands on your keyboard to type out that hateful message, think about how you would feel if you were that person. What if the person being attacked online was your child or someone you loved? I know some of you have children because I’ve seen it. Is that what you want to teach your kids? That it’s okay to bully others to the point they break? What happens when it’s your child?
What if it’s your child calling someone like me, that volunteers for a charity, telling them they’ve cut themselves and they think it’s deep enough that they might bleed out and they’re scared. Or, that they’re just ready to end it all because they can’t take the bullying anymore and being dead is better than living their lives like this for a moment longer? Think about that as you lie in bed at night, think about all those kids, think about all those adults and think about the lives that are lost every 5 days, all because you don’t have any guts and hide behind your keyboard, typing out nasty messages with your grubby wee hands.
Get a life,
What To Do If You’re Being Bullied
Children & Teens
If you’re worried about a child, contact the NSPCC, here.
If you have been triggered by any of the content in this post or have thoughts of suicide please contact the following charities:
Rest of the World
Please note: The Samaritans are not listed due to personal reasons and, I only link the charities I think are best.
If I haven’t mentioned your country above, or if you need help finding a suitable charity or person to talk to, please contact me using the Contact Me form, or alternatively on Instagram or Twitter as I am quicker to respond to one of these forms of communication and I’ll do my best to help you.
Make online abuse a criminal offence & create a register of offenders
Trolling, cyberbullying and bullying are major problems in this day and age. People of all ages and background suffer every day, there are no repercussions or penalties for this behaviour. Adults and children as young as 8 are committing suicide because of the abuse they are suffering on and offline.
Click this link to sign the petition: