Facebook -harassment and coming out the other side.
Recently I was accused by an individual using a number of aliases of being a “racist, homophobic, sexist, and Islaphaphobic” due to discussions and posts on my Facebook account, a private wall that was viewable by friend or friends of friends, an individual had trawled and covertly monitored for the past 2 years using a pseudonym of Mr Green and using yet another pseudonym of Maria.
This, as anyone who knows me, could not it be further from the truth, my friends list alone is a testament to inclusivity. I have posted and debated multiple posts from various political, religious, and activist groups, having honest, open and mainly academic debates about the posts of others. I have debated race, immigration, religion with many of my friends of the said race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality or immigration status, most of my posts are supportive of groups that have little or no voice in society, but I have also spoken about the death of intellectual debate for fear of offence, and the cancer that is now cancel culture.
But it got be wondering how easy is it to take one thing and make it appear to be another, to influence another person by bias reporting and only showing part of a fact and NOT the full facts and it reminded me of this image.
As you can see through a small viewport of Mr Green's selective representation of my social media I could be viewed to be a thug, a racist, BUT zoom out read my comments – read the full story and you can clearly see I engage in debate with my friends on sometimes uncomfortable subjects, as Aaron Karmin, MA, LCPC, a psychotherapist at Urban Balance. states before having a difficult conversation, it helps to better understand your personal motivations. Karmin suggested journaling to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings. This makes them tangible and easier to evaluate, he said.
As you’re journaling (i used Facebook), ask yourself these questions, which help “to make our internalized, unconscious, unacceptable feelings conscious and concrete.”
I personally have used my debates on Facebook to further my own understanding and to have critical friends who challenge my positions and have the hard discussions so we can all learn. Often we agree to disagree on policy or politics BUT agree that each person has a right to believe what they believe and express that as long as in expressing their views they do not marginalize others.
Let's face it, there are subjects in life that we as people go out of our way to avoid simply because they make us uncomfortable. Some topics seem to be seen as a dread because of the discomfort that is brought to you or the people around you. But in some cases, the excuse of it being "uncomfortable" is not acceptable.
Racism is a topic that cannot be hidden in the dark due to feeling nervous about talking about is race/racism. Although it is perceived that to resolve the issue of racism is to say that we are "colour blind", it just saves us the conversation of race. But that's a problem within itself. Speaking as not seeing someone's race is discrediting someone’s individuality and their differences. Speaking about the issues that still exist to this day with racism is vital if we intend to reach a point of equality in humanity.
A very touchy subject that tends to be avoided because of discomfort is the issue of rape or sexual abuse. Because a topic like rape and sexual abuse can be so vulgar and heart breaking, people will avoid the topic all. But to decrease the eye-opening amount of rapes and sexual abused found within the world, the topic must be served justice. Whether it's about the number of assaults happening, the victims of these assaults, or what the consequences are/should be of these horrendous things, this discussion cannot be avoided.
Lastly, differences in opinions. Whether it be political affiliation, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, etc. When a topic like these that can be taken to heart, it is common that people don't bring up these aspects. But without discussing differences in beliefs, how can one understand other points of view? Not discussions in which it turns into a battle of who is right and who is wrong, but reasoning as to why you believe the way you do.
Talking about these topics may be uncomfortable, but they are necessary. Without feeling uncomfortable, there will be no room for growth in humanity. And if we do not intend to grow as a species, what's the point of being here anyway?
To have these debates with friends used deliberately to discredit me to my customers (Mr Green contacted them all stating I was a racist), hurt deep down. It obviously has caused me great personal distress, previously and especially now, costing me my health and well-being, but unfortunately I cannot and will not be silenced or go along with the masses or “this weeks popular opinion”, as I always have taught my son that evil only wins if good men stay silent.
But then I stopped and considered the matter and the pieces as they say fell into place, In my role as a DPO I defended publicly a practice in regards to a SAR and a FOIA. This cost me money, public ridicule, and clients, for standing by my customer (whom I count as friends). I stood my ground against an individual who was known to the local police, local authority and NHS as a serial vexatious complainant and activist. This has led to a series of stalking, harassment and misinformation about me being circulated since October 2018. I stayed silent on this matter hoping it would blow over, (it cost me a suicide attempt -depression and illness). I double checked the language use, style and type of Mr Greens email only to discover an exact match to my friend the vexatious complainant.
I decided to stop being silent on the matter, I contacted my customers explained the situation, and then took a final step, now I have handed the matter over to the West Midlands Police to investigate and deal with. I took this decision now, after the latest round of emails from (my friend) using this latest pseudonym, included my full address where I reside with my son in our family home, which is now fully wheelchair accessible for my son’s and my needs. This obviously has brought this issue closer to home than I would like, hence why I have had to involve the police at this stage.
But I also have to stop and remember a few home truths, the portrayal of me by Mr Green isn’t me, the people who know and love me know this to be true, being disabled at birth has given me a unique view on life. It took my mum a couple of years (I was at first school) to convince doctors something was wrong with me (“wrong” interesting isn’t it I never think like this, I’m different but then so are you, and thank goodness for that). And eventually I had tests and test and tests, before at the age of 10 I was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy.
But by this time, I didn’t need a label, I was different, I was slower, weaker (girls can beat me at arm wrestling) and smaller than everyone else. My Brother and Sister were normal (debatable if you ever meet them) what is normal anyway?
Being different in your early years can have a big impact on your whole outlook on life, I often hear "I'm a bit of a loner, or an outsider" which makes me smile, because trust me being a disabled child forces you to become an outsider, not being able to do a lot of childhood activities can be lonely, so I always see an abled bodied person saying such things as strange, in my youth I thought them very silly indeed.
In my later years I've come to realise everyone feels that "outsider" feeling at some point, this is natural we are all unique! People often feel overwhelmed or as if they are some kind of imposter, that everyone else at work, home or in public life has all their shit together (or some technical phrase), and they don’t - they feel like everyone is a “grownup” and they are child-like, making up as they go along. Guess what EVERYONE Feels like that, and I mean everyone.
Don't worry about it embrace it !
You are you for a reason don't try to be anyone else you'll fail!
Be you and trying to be the best version of you that you can be is the key to life! That is a lot of "you’s" but this is about you, looking maybe through my experiences you may see you for the first time and see that you are great!
I’ll leave you with a favourite quote of mine
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that. – Rocky Balboa