Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Public shaming is bullying

Cartoon illustration: Adults direct types of bullying toward Cynthia Parkhill's Bitstrips avatar. A woman stares at her from around the corner. One man talks behind his hand to a listener, who has a shocked look on his face. A woman with a disbelieving expression looks at her computer while a woman in the desk next to her looks over. The caption reads, 'Bullying survivor: What I imagine is happening.'
Cartoon image created with Bitstrips
A photo showed up Monday in my Facebook newsfeed as part of a deliberate campaign to ensure that the person in the photograph is forever after defined by the event depicted.

I am profoundly concerned — and even deeply disappointed — that anyone associated with me would participate in a public shaming.

I won’t contribute to the effort by identifying the subject or reposting the photograph. Instead, here is a cartoon status about my experience as a survivor of bullying.

Here are various forms of childhood peer abuse depicted in an adult workplace: whispered conversations, directed looks from onlookers and yes, even cyber-bullying through sharing information on the Internet.

When I went to school, I was physically attacked, verbally abused and systematically excluded.

It was difficult for me then, as it is difficult today, to understand complex social situations and the unspoken rules that govern people’s behavior. But the lingering effects of bullying make it difficult to trust people and recognize potential friendships.

Public shaming is bullying and when you participate, you are telling me that you believe bullying is OK, that it’s no big deal. Even beyond that, you are siding with the bullies who persecuted me, who made my school days hell.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to everyone who commented on Facebook. I really felt it important to stand up to this cyber-bullying. I really felt bad for the person in the photo that showed up in my newsfeed. She made a bad decision and paid a price for the lapse in judgement, but doesn't deserve to forever have her reputation tarnished by one incident. The truly sad thing is the campaign against this person is not an isolated case. Public shaming across social media is increasingly prevalent.


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