“Cyberbullying isn’t a real problem.” – Ignorant or Stupid?

So, in my class, there’s this woman in her late forties. She’s one of those who believes in tough love and – this is a direct quote from her, by the way – is raising her son to be a ‘proper lad’. What that means, I don’t know. I didn’t ask any questions and simply said, “Good for you.”

It’s an English degree and for this specific part of the course, we have to do presentations. We were throwing around ideas in the class and one of the other girls mentioned cyberbullying, to which that woman replied after tutting, “Well, it’s not much of a problem, is it?”

I honestly thought I’d misheard her, because surely nobody is that fucking ignorant. Sadly, I didn’t. She was dead serious and it made me so angry. I’d been silent every time she said something I didn’t agree with, knowing it was her personal opinion and who was I to say she was wrong? Examples of this are:

  • She said that, because her son was called fat every day for a year, he should be allowed to call others fat without getting shit for it. Apparently, he called a girl fat and everyone turned against him for it.
  • Women who sleep around are sluts and whores, but it’s okay for men to do it. It’s “only to be expected of them”.
  • Dads aren’t really needed for the first year of a baby’s life, because the mum did everything, anyway.

I kept my mouth shut, not wanting to start a debate. But then she said that thing about cyberbullying and how it’s not a real problem because the person being bullied should be smart enough to switch the computer off. When she said that, I lost my temper. I personally know how it feels to be bullied, both in person and online. It’s not so easy switching the computer off, because it’s still there. They’re still tormenting you. And in your own home, too.

Getting angry, I demanded how she would feel if she found out her precious son had been bullying someone online. So badly that the victim killed themselves. Did I get a proper reply? No, I didn’t. She huffed and tutted and shook her head. But I was still so angry. Like, actually shaking.

I asked her if she’d been reading the news lately, and if she’d heard about the people who’d killed themselves because of being bullied, about the children who were found by their parents, dead. How would she feel if she was one of those parents, finding her child dead, or close to death? Or how would she feel if she was the victim?

There was no calming me down, either. Everyone was in shock, because I’m one of those quiet people who would never says shit to anyone. I keep to myself and only speak when spoken to. But in that moment, I was nearly shouting at this woman, proper red in the face and shaking. It’s not exactly rare for me to get angry, but they’ve never seen me angry before.

I grabbed all my things, still ranting at her and when I still heard nothing back, I told her she was either completely heartless, stupid or ignorant. Probably all three. And then I apologised to the rest of them and walked out.

I’m still angry about it now. How can one person be so fucking stupid or ignorant to the suffering of others? Saying it was stupid getting so upset about online bullying? That it was pathetic killing themselves over it? “Just ignore them, it’ll end soon enough”. No, it won’t. I know from experience that it doesn’t. They just get angrier and more vicious if you ignore them. Sometimes, they get violent, too.

I think I’ll end my rant here, because I’ll end up going on and on and making myself angrier.

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