Online Harassment

A story about a college student being harassed online made it’s way to news outlets after the young woman, the target of the attacks, refused to remain silent. Twitter, the very popular social media platform is where the threats and name calling began.

Taylor Dumpson, became an unsuspecting target of boldly expressed hate after “her historic win in May 2017 as the first African-American female student body president at American University in Washington.” Taylor, initially scared and still at times, chose not to “clap back” at the individuals in anger or hate. Instead, she sued, won, and received a face-to-face apology from one of the harassers. Miss Dumpson has since graduated American University and is pursuing a law degree.

In this case, civil rights was the focus. Because Taylor was the first African-American female student body president at her university, those harassing her were undoubtedly trying to say she didn’t deserve to be in such a position because of her skin color, and sex. *Depending on the details of a harassment case, they can be categorized differently.*

Sadly, online harassment has soared in numbers from 2007. We’ve all read or watched news stories of the heartbreaking reality of suicide transpiring from such disgusting behavior. Like Taylor, those affected are often diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and or depression (among others). I, myself, have been bullied online, and I agree 100% with Taylor when she said, “I have real feelings. You have real impacts.”

Resources are available at your finger tips.

-There is an online research center for bullying and cyberbullying. This website offers resources, inspirational images, a blog, as well as laws regarding bullying and cyberbullying; what to look for etc.
-The Megan Meier Foundation has become a “global bullying and cyberbullying prevention foundation.” Tina Meier started the foundation in honor of her daughter, Megan, who committed suicide after being cyberbullied.

Harassment, bullying, cyberbullying, and anything of the like is completely unacceptable, and unnecessary behavior that not only affects the victim, but friends and family of the target. I remember the old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me;” if only that were true. If only people were nicer or chose to think before they speak. If only… if only… if only… if only what? We must choose to make a change. If you don’t know how to begin, begin within because we’re all guilty of spewing harsh words.

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