Hey there Guys,
today cyber bullying has hit the news again.
I work up this morning to see that one of Australia’s football stars, Robbie Farah, has been the victim of some particularly vile Twitter trolls. It appears that an anonymous tweeter had left a single message that was particularly nasty about his mother who had died in June this year.
This is of course on the background of another Twitter based harassment with TV star Charlotte Dawson being admitted to hospital with severe depression after a gang of tweeters had placed her into their firing line. Their tweets had been relentless and even offered the suggestion to “go hang herself”.
Both of these cases have attracted police attention and it’s great to see that they have been busy tracing IPs and using other forensic internet tools to see if they can find who had done these vile tweets.
Currently in Melbourne Australia legislation has been changed to address cyber bullying with “Brodies Amendment” with jail terms of up to 10 years as well as additional charges of stalking available if the bullying causes physical or mental harm or even the fear that it might.
The irony of this case is that the 4 men who tormented Brodie Panlock to the point that she threw herself off the roof of a parking lot never did a single day of jail time. All four were given jail time with fines ranging from $10,000 to $45,000 and the company that allowed the harassment to occur being fined $200,000 for providing an unsafe work environment.
All this despite actual physical abuse at the hands of the perpetrators, not just via the internet.
So today we have the police pulling out all stops to find a person that sent a single tweet to a Aussie football player.
My question is what happens for the young gay man who is cyber bullied on a daily basis?
Does Cyber Bullying Happen Today?
For shits and giggles I did a twitter search for the term “Faggot”. Why faggot? Well unlike the word “gay”, faggot has no wiggle room. It’s clearly an term of abuse and there is nothing a person using it can say to wiggle out of with a “oh no it doesn’t mean that anymore”. Faggot is offensive in anyone’s language.
“@sleazzyjay: Fuck English 4. ?????????” FUUCCCKKKK English 4 honors, writing SLU class with a faggot teacher ????????
— Savannah (@dearsossamon) September 10, 2012
Hate the Steelers but nothing like the hate I have for Cris Collinsworth #faggot
— Derek Baldwin (@DewAaaa) September 10, 2012
you son of a dickless faggot, i’ll rape your mother with a fork
— Atone The Underdog (@True_Underdog) September 10, 2012
The torrent of abuse is pretty much unstoppable with the word faggot being used in a tweet almost every few seconds.
So if you are a young gay man being forced to view this level of abuse I can understand why gay men and women are at double the risk of suicide, depression and anxiety.
While I think it’s terrible that one footballer got sent one vile tweet, let’s put this in perspective. Young gay men and women are being bombarded with this shit all day long, every few seconds, and that equates to more than 43,000 offensive, cyber bullying tweets a day.
Perhaps in good news one of the AFL’s biggest internet trolls Jason Ackermanis has deleted his twitter account this weekend but not after one final jibe.
I care Jason. I care.
Have you been the victim of cyber bullying or homophobia?
Please feel free to share your thoughts below.
Yours in good health.
If you are worried or seeking support and information about suicide you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or beyondblue within Australia.