Monday, March 23, 2009

Cyber Bully

Most of us have experienced bullying at some stage in our lives. Whether it was on the play ground, classroom, neighbourhood, social circle or in the office. You may even have been guilty of bullying yourself? I have seen and experienced bullying on many levels but the most recent form of bullying I found quite intriguing. I have come to realized that as we mature so does bullying and the nuances and techniques becomes more sophisticated. I have also pondered the motivation behind bully’s actions. Is their intention to emotionally hurt you, just shame you or is it about power?

My first experience with a bully was in high school. Even back then with the way I looked and sounded it took no rocket scientist to figure out I was gay. So it’s no surprise the School Jocks “bully radar” went crazy when I appeared within range. As bullying goes, it started off with a few derogatory words uttered behind my back, later evolving into insults and ended up with full scale altercations. Getting into a bitch fight with any gay man is never a good idea, but back then my tongue was not as lethal as it is now. My high school experiences with bullies sharpened my tongue to a formidable weapon. I made a choice back then, if being gay was the reason for the taunting I would take away the bully’s power and take ownership my identity. After coming out of the closet my “open secret” was confirmed and the bully no longer had sufficient ammunition to utilize or the power of certain words to insult me. Calling someone a “faggot” who admits to being one and is not ashamed of it takes all the fun out of bullying.

At university I was introduced to the world of the Social and Academic bullies. They were the ones who either came from very wealthy families or were the 3rd or 4th generation of surgeons and/or lawyers. This category of bully believed that they were superior to everyone else. They treated others like oxygen thieves, second class citizens and/or the help. They had their own special little code of conduct, social rules and aristocratic air about them. Their form of bullying consisted more about making others appear invisible and insignificant. They clearly distinguish between “old” and “new” money and many of them was riding on the coat tails of their families. We normal folk tended to avoid them at all costs as we would always be brutally reminded of our ordinariness and working class status. However, when our paths crossed the tension had the potential of escalating into a full on street fight not unlike those found in a bad musical. Their sense of superiority was nauseating and when ever they failed their exams most of us secretly giggled as we realized that good breading and wealth is no substitute for hard work and doesn’t guarantee intelligence or success.

Having experienced and dealt with many bullies in high school, university and later at worked I had become quite proficient in dealing with them effectively. So when I was attacked by a Cyber Bully on the internet last week I was taken a back. Cyber bullying has emerged as the newest tool in the bully’s arsenal. What makes Cyber Bullying even more interesting is the fact that the bully can choose to stay anonymous and the harassment can be multi-dimensional and multi-national. I have never experienced this form of bullying before, even though I was aware of its existence.

Apparently my Cyber Bully is a man who has a very low opinion of my blog and a strong loathing for me as a person. If I recall correctly my blog was described by him in one post as idiotic and stupid (which I believe imply the same thing) and a total waste of bandwidth (which I found harsh). He decided to spread his opinions of me and my blog on the Internet (amongst other websites was Facebook). Living in a country where we respect freedom of expression I found myself with a conundrum: I cannot censor this person as he has the right to critique my blog if he feels the burning desire to do so; however, when he attacked me as a person I have the right to act. I must admit when I came across his fierce diatribes about me on a few Facebook groups I was shocked and a little bit angry. No I must not lie… actually I was pissed off as all hell!!! After the initial shock wore off, and calm returned to my world I decided to contact him. I drafted the most diplomatically letter I could muster that would make any United Nations representative proud. After the message was sent the hateful postings seized and I am still awaiting his response. Maybe he's busy creating a hate page for me as I type this. If so, I must admit it would be flattering in a very demented way.

Bullies can be annoying, make you feel bad about yourself and also invoke strong emotions. Whether you are targeted because you’re too thin, too fat, too gay, too tall, too short or whatever other obscure reasons bullies find to harass you, just remember they can only harm you if you give them the power to do so. I have learned that if you do not stand up for yourself, the bully retains all the power and that the majority of the time their urge to bully emanates form strong insecurities, jealousy and/or need to attain power to compensate for their own imperfections or sense of powerlessness. Yes, you will have an adverse emotional reaction with the initial onslaught as did I with my Cyber Bully, but take it from whom it comes, believe in yourself and respect yourself enough not to let it affect you. Never allow anyone to devalue who you are.

Till next time.


Rick Mercer's Rant - Bullying

6 comments:

Crazeebee747 said...

Amen and thanks for sharing this! Loved it.

Anonymous said...

Tell them I love what you wright and enjoy every new bolg keep it. I can not wait for the next one.

Dave and Llew said...

Howzit man; great going. Would also appreciate if you could create a link to our blog - http://gaydurban.blogspot.com and also to our Facebook Group Gay Directory SA.

We have added you to ours.

Dave

Frank J said...

Hello Pierre

COngrats on being a finalist.

Interesting conunrum this cyber-bully thing. I do not envy you and agree I would be uber-pissed off. And I have no idea how I would deal with it.

Ciao4Now

Pierre said...

Thanks FranJ I am thrilled to be a finalist, will keep my fingers and toes crossed.

No bully is going to get me down, for now it appears as if the matter have been resolved. I guess it comes with the territory: if you want to publish anything on the Internet there will always be people that do not like what you write. Guess you have to take the good with the bad.

Thanks to all of you who regularly read and support my blog. I really appreciate your support and the knowledge that my little ramblings doesn't just disappear into some cyber abyss.

Eugene Hon said...

Mr Le Roux a friend send me details regarding your blog.Great topic - interesting angle. I am a ceramic artist working on the theme of bullying ; especially with regard to homosexuality and religion. I am bullying from my p.o.v as a prtotagonist against fundamentalism and extremism. Take a look.
regards Eugene Hon:ceramic artist

Related Posts with Thumbnails