Sep 302015

The Current, Anna Maria Tremonti, discussed the  UN report on cyberviolence highlights rampant issue online.   The link is no longer valid.  Please see, in its stead:

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Cyberbullying, an issue of free speech.    Salman Rushdie, a guiding light.

MY INPUT submitted to CBC:

Women and men must rise and drive society to find solutions to cyberbullying.   You are right on the mark when you identify it as an issue of free speech.

I would like women to remember that with cyberbullying they are in a struggle being fought all the time.   People go as far as putting their lives on the line when they understand that tyranny is enabled or defeated through their individual decision to defend or capitulate to bullies who use intimidation and violence to cower others.

Salman Rushdie’s memoir fell into my hands at a critical time.    He and his family were under the threat of murder (“fatwa”) for 9 years, accused of being against Islam because of a novel he wrote.

As I see it, Rushdie made a decision that the right to speak freely was a higher necessity to society than his right to his own life.   Imagine the implications of his decision for his family and the additional personal trial that created for him.   Your family might die along with you, because you choose to defend the democratic right to free speech.

It takes a deeper understanding, the ability to see that if we individually bow to violence, we collectively condemn our children to a more violent future.   You don’t save them by avoiding or failing to deal with the issue.  Quite the opposite.

My resolve to stay the course against a cyberbully was cemented by the realization that it is an issue of free speech.

The cost of shutting down the perpetrator is horrendous.  It involves a court case; our system of justice is not evolved to handle cyberbullying.  It argues against even trying.   You will be bankrupted which is what the perpetrator knows.   It enables him to continue with almost impunity.

In the search for help to deal with this cyberbully I also found the last chapter of Paula Todd’s book Extreme Mean to be a good statement of the challenge that society has to address with this rapidly-developed internet technology and its empowerment of destructive forces.

Thank you for bringing it up on The Current.

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