Words have meaning and exude power. We have to learn to understand the impact they can have on ourselves and others.
Two very different things have been effective on my thinking these past few days, troubling the mind and leaving me at a loss as to how to address the issues.
The first, of course, is the suicide of the young lady in Metro Vancouver, after constant cyber-bullying and her own cry for help posted in a YouTube video. I am saddened by this, I can't say more saddened or less saddened than any suicide I have had the misfortune of knowing about, whether or not I know the person personally. All suicides are tragic, whether they capture the imaginations of the population or not. I am disappointed in the online world that continues their attacks on the young lady, even in death, including the memes that allege her death matters because she is pretty, and other bullied suicides were not. This simplifies the tragedy of her and everyone who commits suicide. It dismisses the issues that surrounded her decision to end her life, and it dismisses the issues that surround every decision to end your own life by making it an issue solely of our obsession with "pretty". It takes away complicity in her death and tries to refocus on another issue: why we focus on her and not someone else? It reframes this tragedy as not an issue of bullying, misogyny and depression and makes it about the public's appetites. Her death is no more or less important than any other suicides I have known, but we are talking about it and I hope we really talk about it and we look at our own complicity as a society that allowed it, and every other suicide to happen. The people that bullied her learned at the feet of parents, friends and teachers what they could get away with.
To this, add the hate spewed against another young lady for "desecrating" a memorial to a hockey player with her love for a popstar. The venom online has been vile, to say the least and its permanence is going to haunt this young lady for a very long time. What does it say about society that people can go online and call for soneone's suicide because she wrote her name on a memorial post where many other names were written?
Where do we go from here? I can only model what I hope others will see. How do we change this direction?
I wish I had answers...