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So you didn’t like that post then …

Thoughts on Social Media Abuse

So last evening, along with most of the population, the national team had just gone one goal down and we all held our breath. The phone broke the silence in the room as it gave its familiar indication that someone wanted to share a thought or two.

On this occasion it was from the moderator of a group we have been invited to join on Facebook. Apparently there had been a reaction to a recent post which had been put up early by us which she described as ‘horrific’. Three other members of this group had taken a dislike to our post and had a discussion on the contents which included the suggestion ‘ drown the lot of them’.

The moderator once alerted to the problem removed the comments and placed a comment asking for members to act in accordance with the guidelines of the group.

After a short discussion between the three of us, all with thick old skin, it was decided to just let it be and not be seen to react to this behaviour.

The boys at Wembley turned a corner and we finished on a high singing Sweet Caroline and booking our seat on our respective sofas for the first final in 55 years.

Then as is the way here at The Bread and Roses Barge consideration over night, was given to the rather darker events of the previous evening. Although there was nothing wrong with our initial decision to rise above the rather distasteful events on Facebook, reflection brought us to the conclusion we should use the rather negative stance as a positive to open up the discussion on abuse on social media.

We were very fortunate with dealing with this experience as we have a strong support network to work through the process of deciphering the effects of realising that there are negative attitudes to what we believe are positive. However how can we be saying we are here to help support women with abusive situations, when we are prepared to turn a blind eye at the first instance of abuse thrown at us. How does this help anyone if we do nothing ?

Confronting the abusers on the platform would not achieve anything apart from allowing more air to their opinions. Doing nothing is also not acceptable as it makes our aims voiceless.

As a team we have not been party to the actual words written as the moderator acted correctly and removed them as soon as she was made aware. The comments posted in their place were her words, which is also correct procedure.

However this process does leave you feeling without a voice, your power taken away, decisions made for you, as if you are a victim left incapacitated, that suddenly has actions taken on your behalf but without discussion or consent. This may sound very melodramatic over a few comments made about three middle aged women with a barge but why should one human inflict pain on another with no redress.

One reaction we had was to consider we might not ‘fit’ on this particular group and maybe the abuser had a point and we should withdraw from their private Facebook group. Then after more consideration we came to the right decision that we are representing women from all walks of life and we need to be involved in all sorts of groups as abuse can occur across all types of lives. Memories came flooding back of situations where it is now obvious that it was a controlling and humiliating behaviour that was being observed, which had seemed as an amusing situation is now understood to be something much darker.

We would like to use this opportunity to open up discussion on abusive behaviour on social media. Working with groups who are able to offer help and support in these circumstances is of great importance to us. Let’s all be part of the quiet revolution for change but that does not mean we will be quieten !! Xx

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