Categories
Media Opinion/Commentary

The death of Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett should be a wake up call. Words hurt

Cyber - bullying victim distressed
Image: iStock

 

Content warning; bullying, depression and suicide

People were understandably shocked and upset to hear the passing of 14 – year – old Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, the face of hat manufacturer Akubra. She took her own life after receiving abuse online.

This has sparked calls for Apple and Google Play to ban apps, like Saraha that allow users to make anonymous comments and posts.

While I sympathise with the campaignersa, I don’t think these calls for a ban get to the heart of the problem.

 

Here’s what people need to get: the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’ is a myth. I’ll go one step further. It’s total bull.

 

Words can kill. I thought we got this through our heads after the death of former model, Charlotte Dawson in 2014. Apparently not.

 

So, how can we stop this repeating? Maybe we can’t stop it completely. But what we can do is get honest, with ourselves and each other. We need to teach children and young adults that what they say matters. It has an impact and if they choose to bully someone, they will destroy both their lives and that of their victims.

People die due to bullying. That’s the reality. And there’s more. Last year, HealthDayNews reported  on a study that suggested that half of teens admitted into emergency were victims of violence or cyber – bullying. Nearly a quarter (23%) showed symptoms of post – traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings were published in journal General Hospital Psychiatry. 

 

Verbal or cyber bullying can and does have other affects, many arguably not so extreme. You’re ability to trust can be severely damaged. For me, it took me a long time to be able to trust people again.

 

Bullying also erodes your self – esteem. My self – esteem has hit rock bottom before. While it’s better now, I wouldn’t say it’s high. I’ve questioned my self – worth and to this day, sometimes feel like I’m not enough.

I wrote what I did above not to gain sympathy. I wanted to be honest about my own experiences and to demonstrate that often, the effects of bullying can last for years.

Fortunately, I’ve never been the victim of cyber – bullying. The rise of the Internet, especially various social media sites and apps, has made combating bullying complicated. This generation of children can’t escape bullying when they get home from school. Another complication is anonymity. They don’t have to see the impact of what their words have.

As I said near the start of this post, I don’t think banning certain apps like Saraha will work, nor is it necessary. Whether people like it or not, social media is the way most people, especially of this generation, communicate and a way they can get information and current events. The world needs to learn how to cope with social media, not avoid it. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” needs to be exposed for the myth that it is and discarded. Words do hurt and cyber – bullying needs to be condemned. Period.

 

 

Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

‘Yes’ won, so let’s stop the abuse

Images: iStock

December 7 was a historical day for Australia’s LGBTQ+ community. The Bill to legalise same – sex marriage passed the House of Representatives in a landslide.

January 9, 2018 is to be the day when same – sex couples can start registering their marriages, (excluding one special and sad circumstance).

We have won. But has love won? Daily Telegraph, news.com.au columnist and Studio Ten host, Joe Hildebrand has slammed  some ‘Yes’ voters for using the victory as an excuse to bully prominent ‘No” campaigners.

I agree with his assessment.

Australian LGBTQ+  won the opportunity to marry the person that they love. Yes, it was a hard battle. It was taxing. It did see many in the LGBTQ+ distressed. Counselors, including at Lifeline, saw a spike in the calls for help during the debate. Unfortunately, a number of LGBTQ+ people felt let down when finding out family members voted “no”. I won’t got into all the horror stories I’ve read about the tactics of some of the “No” campaigners.

However, despite all the the antics of some “Yes” campaigners and — dare I say it — scaremongering from the “No” camp, 61.6% of those who chose to participate in the voluntary survey decided that LGBTQ+ people can marry the person they love. Most of those seven million did not have a personal stake in the fight. They weren’t fighting for their rights. They chose to fight on behalf of many LGBTQ+ people. We can’t take this for granted!

The 61.6% result was better than what I expected. I thought it would make fifty per – cent, if lucky, or just under. I read comments on blogs about how people changed their vote because of the disgusting behaviour of some of the “Yes” campaigners. And, “No” campaigners and other skeptics of same – sex marriage, exposed that as much as they could.

Now, despite the antics of some of the “Yes” campaigners and scaremongering of the “No”, about 7 million Australians agreed that same – sex couples should be forwarded the right to marry. This is a victory for the LGBTQ+ community. About 5 million still oppose, or were scared off voting “Yes”. We shouldn’t treat them appallingly. In our victory in another step towards LGBTQ+ rights, let’s be civil towards opponents, even though some of our scars may not have fully healed. Let’s use this opportunity to reach out to our family members and friends who did vote “no” and be the first to build bridges.

 

On social media, STOP the abuse! (CW: cyber – abuse, coarse language)

 

This does NOT, I repeat, NOT represent the LGBTQ+ community or their supporters as a whole. But this vile minority will no doubt be used to prevent further rights and protections for LGBTQ+ people. Or worse, it will be used to demand a backpedal of existing rights and protections.

Final thought: These tweets, and probably more examples I haven’t yet stumbled upon), are nothing more than blatant hypocrisy. They scream “love is love”, then abuse opponents. I know many people have been hurt by the vote process. It’s been hard and taxing emotionally. I get it. Frankly, I felt it. But let’s use this time to all heal, rather than inflict more wounds.

Categories
Media

People need better protection in the entertainment industry

TW: sexual abuse, sexual harassment and domestic violence. If these are triggering for you proceed with caution or skip this post. 

 

Hollywood star
Image: iStock

There is something sick in the entertainment industry in the US, UK and Australia that needs to be addressed.

As you probably know, producer Harvey Weinstein has finally had to step down after women alleged that he sexually harassed women over thirty years. There were allegations of massages e and public masturbation in front of an unwilling participant. New York Times said that Weinstein paid off complainants for years.

 

I won’t go into who knew what, etc. I want to go to a deeper question: what the hell is going on in the entertainment industries in Australia, US and UK? The Weinstein saga is the latest that has been exposed. You’ve had allegations against comedian Bill Crosby, JImmy Saville in the UK and Hey Dad star Robert Hughes to name a few.

It’s not just the movie industry that has been affected either. On Sunday, TV personality Kerri – Anne Kennerly told Sunday Night about domestic violence she suffered at the hands of her ex – husband who was a record producer. It stopped when Kennerly held a loaded gun and threatened to pull the trigger. She then escaped.

 

.

Also, former glam rock pioneer, Paul Gadd (better known as Gary Glitter), was convicted of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault of a ten  year – old girl, a thirteen year – old and twelve year – old back in the 1970’s. He was convicted of the rapes and in the 1990’s, was also charged with child pornography possession.

 

These are the incidents I can think of. No doubt there are countless more. My question is, why have children and women (and no doubt some men), who all they wanted to do was become a performer or see a performer they admired (as the Glitter case), only to be abused? What is with that?

More importantly, what has changed to protect those who are vulnerable? What can be done? Last night on ABC’s The Drum, writer, Jamila Rizvi made a point about how too few women become producers and how the movie industry is dominated by men. Maybe she has a point. But what about attitudes? What is the ethos in the entertainment industry when it comes to protecting children and not having anyone assaulted?

 

People should be able to follow their dreams. They should be able to do that without fear of abuse. Children and teenagers who have a particular passion for performing arts and have the opportunity should be able to do so without some sleaze taking advantage of them. That also goes for young people who see their heroes perform. Enough’s enough.

If this post has brought up any issues for you, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 – RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Blue Knot Foundation (formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse): 1300 657 380.

Feel free to put numbers/ contact details of any services in your area if you’re not from Australia. The more people we can help who’ve suffered sexual assault, childhood trauma, etc the better). 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Abuse towards Dr. Pansy Lai is deplorable, however her views on ex – gay therapy are worrying

Dr. Pansy Lai on news.com.au website with allegations of supporting ex - gay therapy
News.com.au alleged doctor in anti same – sex marriage advertisement has supported ex – gay therapy.

Let me make this clear — the abuse suffered by Sydney’s Dr. Pansy Lai — some threats have been so serious that police have been involved — is inexcusable. To be quite frank, some in the ‘Yes’ campaign have been absolutely feral. Stop it!

Having said that, allegations, printed in news.com.au that Dr. Lai and the Australian Chinese for Families supports ex – gay ‘therapy’ concern me. She’s denies pushing ex – gay ‘therapy’ onto patients, but claims that there is no harm in the practice. This goes against mainstream medical opinion in the Western world.

I’m not calling for Dr. Lai to be sacked. I just hope her views don’t affect her practice.

To those who dismiss this and say that if you had a sore foot, would you care what her views were; GPs deal with mental health, too. Personally, when I was younger, a GP prescribed anti – depressants and organised for me to go to a counsellor after diagnosing me with mild depression

Secondly, I’ve been to counsellors in regard to issues with sexuality. This was after weeks —  maybe months — of fear and self – hatred. If I found out that the counsellors, Student Advisor (I was at school at the time), or other staff were prejudiced against LGBTQ+ people, I would have just hated myself even more and woudn’t have trusted the staff enough to open up. Just the fear of what could happen was bad enough (the fear wasn’t confirmed, by the way. They were all really good).

I’ll be frank, if I knew that my doctor had prejudices against LGBTQ+ people and/ or they supported ex – gay ‘therapy’, I wouldn’t trust them with my health, period. I would want someone who didn’t adhere to proven and accepted medical practice.

 

For those who still dismiss my critique and say that it doesn’t matter, how would you feel if your doctor had personal beliefs about vaccination that went against mainstream medical knowledge? If your brought a child to this doctor, even for other reasons, would you trust him/ her? I’ve got a feeling many wouldn’t. I feel that way about any medical professional who spreads misinformation about LGBTQ+ people. It’s happened for too long. I can’t tell you how many YouTube videos I’ve watched and how many stories I’ve read online about LGBTQ+ people who’ve gone through ex – gay ‘therapy’. They’re lives were nearly destroyed, until they accepted their sexuality.

Again, I condemn the abuse towards Dr. Lai, especially when police had to involved. I won’t even say that she should be deregistered. What I do think should happen is that maybe there needs to be an overall evaluation of the medical profession to make sure that GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc, don’t have  any harmful beliefs about LGBTQ+ people that is going to turn into harmful practice. LGBTQ+ people deserve proper health care like everyone else.

Has this post brought up any issues for you? You can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beond Blue: 1300 224 636.

Categories
Gender/ sexuality Opinion/Commentary

Abuse can’t be accepted by Christians

Church building
Image: Canva

 

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

 

If this post has brought up any issues, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you’re from another country, feel free to leave numbers of any counselling services in the comments below.