Well, good news travels fast I must say. I just caught word over on facebook that the college site Juicy Campus will be shutting down in the near future. They are taking the site down and leaving cyberspace and for good lets hope. I, for one, am rejoicing.
This is the website that was started by a man named Matt Ivester. His intentions were good initially. As he had not been out of school for long, he thought it would be a good idea to set up a website for college kids to go, mingle and share stories at their respective universities. There is no harm in that and I am sure the site started out as a fun place to visit. However, within the last months, this site started to take an ugly turn. Slander was posted about other students and even faculty at the schools. The person was always allowed anonymity which gave them ever more of an incentive to go on there and say degrading things such as “you are a slut” and others. Some are so bad they are not worth repeating. One student had been raped on campus and she had only told three friends about what happened. Nine months later, the story wound up on the site and the responses were “good, she deserved it!”. Eventually, the site came under fire with the legal system. Ivesters story was that the site would not censor anyone and therefore, these lies and slanderous messages were allowed to stay and he hid behind the First Amendment of free speech. After this, the site become more popular than ever.
Folks, there is nothing wrong with speaking ones mind and being honest. However, when it goes into affecting people and harming them, it becomes problematic. Calling someone a “slut” is not right nor is telling a rape victim that “they deserve it.” This right here has gone to show how insensitive we have become towards one another and the lack of empathy that I have been talking about on here. Nobody likes censorship but like anything else, there are limits. The young lady who was raped was traumatized by the words and actions of this site. I have seen other college students speak online about it. I spoke to a reporter about this particular site and the psychological damages it brings. A group of students got together on face book and stood up to Juicy Campus and saw the ugliness and harm that it created. I commend these kids for taking up the cause and speaking out. It does leave some hope that there are people of our future who have some compassion and an understanding of right from wrong.
I wish Mr. Ivester well. This started out as a good idea at the time. College is a good time in ones life. It is a time of learning and becoming an individual. Some of the stories along the way are fun to remember. However, Ivester allowed things to get ugly on there and people were affected by this stuff. So, from that perspective it’s a good thing the site is coming down. If a site like this is ever created again, I hope it will have some rules, dignity and respect to go along with it. In the meantime, we can rejoice in the fact that Juicy Campus will soon be gone. However, the wounds from those who have been hurt will still be fresh and will take a long time to heal.
Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California.