Friday, 7 April 2017

A Year On...

The years of subtle and not so subtle bullying I endured when I campaigned the old way (until a year ago), have had long-term consequences. Bullying always does.

I was emotionally blackmailed and subtly intimidated. Lies and rumours were spread, and people I had considered friends, believed them.

It added to the depression and anxiety I already suffer, and made me feel terrible about myself. I cried at night.

It isn't something you just 'get over' when you escape it, and the people concerned can carry on as normal, showing a different face to everyone else.
I still have my activism, although I no longer do it the way I used to, and I don't feel the same about it as I did.

I am not saying this to be difficult. I am saying this to tell people that any nastiness, lies, or attempts to ostracise a person, are just as damaging online as off it.

Actually I think it might be worse!

It impacts on 'real life' too. It isn't something that just disappears from your mind when you turn off the computer.

It causes anxiety, self-doubt and paranoia. It leaves you not knowing who to trust and in my case, it took away my love of campaigning as well.

I want people to know how much it hurts, and a year on, I still suffer because of it.

I got off lightly in comparison with some people's experience of cyber bullying, but it doesn't mean I suffered less.
Bullying is never acceptable, and the campaigning world is rife with it, from some of the people you would least expect.

Please be aware that this is happening, even as a result of something as small as voicing alternative opinions!
I am not alone. It has happened to many, who have given years of their lives to the cause.

It has taken me a year to write about this and I'm sure you will understand why I won't go into details. 

I made a decision to stop blogging regularly, and removed myself from the few groups I was still in.

At the time, I didn't want to campaign at all, ever again, and I was looking forward to being 'free', but after twenty odd years (and having started as young as I did), it isn't something you can give up easily.

Instead I've gone back to general awareness raising, as I'd done for many years before I brought my 'campaigning' online.

In the intervening year, I have been able to meet lots of new people, talk to them, and get the message out wider. I have also been able to use my creativity to help me do that, which has made me happy again.

Please remember that no matter what group it may be in, or how 'big' a name might be involved, you do not have to put up with it.

Helen. xx

Image: Google.

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