Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Facebook Cyberbully is Jailed

Wow! The unthinkable has happened and that is a Facebook cyber bully is now in jail. Yes, in jail for tormenting another young woman on Facebook and Bebo for several years. However, this did not happen in the United States but in the United Kingdom. I hope the United States will follow suit at some point and start incarcerating these bullies because this is criminal behavior and warants being treated as such.

Emily Moore was the victim of Peer Abuse for four years by Keely Houghton. According to Moore, she was assaulted, called a slag, had her name dragged through the mud on Bebo and then on Facebook. The abuse went on and during this interval, Houghton had been suspended and even expelled but that did not stop her or her band of cohorts from continuing their abuse. She could not walk home from school without being harassed. She had objects like bottles thrown at her. Her hair was pulled out in clumps. There was no escape from this at all. Moore said this consumed her every waking thoughts for four years. All she got was alienation from peers and suffered panic attacks. What finally put an end to this and got Houghton into the trouble she is in now was when Houghton stated on Facebook that she wanted to kill Moore. Moore believed her; Houghton always carried out on her threats and made good on them. Now Moore is looking to relocate so she can take her power back and these bullies will not know where she lives.

Folks, why do we allow this to continue? No, it did not happen here in the US and the UK has taken legal action. This happens daily in our nation and yet we allow it to continue. This is not a person who is living life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Nobody can live like this and develop into well adjusted adults; not without serious intervention. The psychological affects are devastating and as you see with Moore, she was affected. This is not normal “girls disliking one another so let them work out their differences themselves” sort of thing. Houghton evidently has some deep rooted anger and a lot of psychological issues herself. I hope she is incarcerated that she can seek the help she needs. For her to react to Moore as she did, something is not right with this girl and she needs a great deal of psychological intervention. In the meantime, our own nation needs to crack down further on these cases. If it means incarceration, so be it. At least the bully is getting some help or someone is attempting to help. Also, for the victim to heal from the pain caused by the bully. Its a very haunting feeling and consumes a person; I know as I have been there.
The sad thing in all of this is that Moore never understood why Houghton took such strong dislike to her. She had never done anything directly to trigger this abuse.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wow! Another day and another case of abuse on the records. Yes, this time it is done by a 40 year old woman in Missouri by the name of Elizabeth A. Thrasher. I guess the acts of Lori Drew were not enough to either wake people up to these things or completely put a stop to them. This is the first case under the new Megan Meier Law in Missouri to be charged with felony harassment.

Mrs. Thrasher was having a feud with the girlfriend of her ex-husband. The 17 year old daughter of the girlfriend went over to MySpace and sent Mrs. Thrasher a note telling her to grow up. Well, Mrs. Thrasher decided to head over to Craig’s List and posted a picture, email address and cell phone number of the 17 year old girl under the Casual Encounters section of the site. The content was suggesting that the girl was looking for contact of a sexual nature.

I do not even know where to begin with this one. I have seen the comments posted in this resource and people are saying “why don’t they grow up?” and things like that. All I know is that if we cannot behave as adults ourselves and handle our problems with one another as adults, how can we expect children to behave and be respectful to others? Folks, I grew up in the same generation as Mrs. Thrasher and I can tell you that this problem with peer abuse and bullying was as alive then as it is now. I can remember many who did not behave with consideration or respect and have probably not outgrown it but taking it to the workplace where we are now talking about these problems at work. Folks, if you get anything from this blog, I hope it is the fact that bullies do not grow up but grow worse. I hear so many say that people outgrow this behavior but can assure you that for the most part, they don’t. They just get more manipulative, charming and subtle in how they abuse their peers. I cannot say whether Mrs. Thrasher is an adult bully considering the fact that I do not know this lady. However, her actions in this situation indicate an adult bully. This is the kind of stuff adult bullies do. No regard for anyone else, especially a child.

I would hope after the Lori Drew case that people would wake up to this problem and not enable it. So far, it does not seem to be the case.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We CAN Stop Peer Abuse with Education

A recent article has been written asking the question as to why can’t we stop the problem of bullying. The Georgia Coalition Against Bullying will be meeting soon and earlier in the summer the American Academy of Pediatrics was encouraged to start taking a bigger role in the prevention of bullying. Is bullying really just a fact of life?

First off, bullying is not a fact of life. The only fact given here is that it traumatizes individuals for a lifetime and it violates civil and human rights. In the United States, we are all promised life, liberty and pursuit of happiness but even these are violated when being abused by our peers. There is no excuse for it and it has been a right of passage for far too long. It can be stopped, it is just a matter of education.

I am going to be honest here and give my own opinion. I know many will disagree and that is fine. Those who know me or have worked with me know where I stand on this. One of the biggest problems here is that we do not consider this a form of abuse. We continue to use the term bullying. Even though the term has taken us a long way in the past 10 years, it is still not hitting the bulls eye. I am to a point where I cannot even use the term bullying as it just is not working where it should. However, I have to because it is the term people know and do not seem to want to let go of. Bullying is outright abuse; Peer Abuse. Yes, just like child, sexual, domestic, animal and elder abuse that we are quick to defend and hold accountability where needed. True, not in all cases but at least they are considered clinical issues. Bullying is not seen as a clinical issue. We are all in such a hurry to speak out and find solutions yet have we even stopped to try and understand the actual problem? I consider putting a victim and their bully alone in a room together to “work things out” like putting a victim and their rapist together in the same manner. Now we would never do the latter, that is unthinkable! However, we always do the former. When I talk to groups, I always equate this with rape, child and other forms of abuse and I ask this question. Its all about mindset and educating others on this mindset. Having the American Academy of Pediatrics on board is a huge step. We need to have hospitals, mental health centers and others trained to treat those dealing with this problem as in any other form of abuse.

Another problem here is that society does not believe that we should hold children accountable for these actions. True, a child’s brain is not formed to full capacity like an adults. Therefore, we cannot hold them accountable for these sort of actions. Even though we cannot hold them accountable like an adult, we sure can hold them accountable to a point. Children are not stupid; they know what abuse is. Don’t we always tell them that when an adult is abusing them, they need to tell someone? Why is this any different? The only difference is that an adult is doing the abuse in one case while a child is doing it in another. Children need to learn to be held accountable for their actions. They understand rules and comprehend them. Why do you think we have tattle tales roaming the playground? Trust me, they have a concrete understanding of right and wrong.

Everyday we are losing children to this problem. They are killing one another and themselves. Clinical issues are arising such as depression, social anxiety and PTSD from this. I have seen people get a different perspective of this when I equate this with other forms of abuse. They say they never thought of this in that light. Isn’t it time we take this to the next level? The clinical level?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Is Lori Drew Online Again?

As I was reading this morning, I came across this article here online. Lori Drew is once again in the news. Recently, her case was dismissed in a Los Angeles Court which enraged me. It only set a precedence for more cases such as this and the fact that people will get away with online impersonations as she has done. I have feel strongly that social justice was not sought in this case. The Meier family will never have Megan again thanks to this woman. Yet she gets to go home and continue to watch her own daughter grow into adulthood. She has yet to pay for what she has done to the Meier family. An apology would be nice but appears that this is not going to happen.

According to recent events, Ms. Drew is asking to use the internet again as she recently got a job offer that would require her to use it at work. Since June of 2008, she had been banned from going online. Evidently, the woman has moved to an undisclosed state and found possible employment.

Folks, I DO have a problem with this. For starters, this woman took the life of a young girl who suffered from clinical depression by using the internet. She manipulated, plotted and set up a fake account as a 16 year old boy named Josh. As most abusers do, she showed her cruel streak and Josh turned against Megan which led to Megan committing bullycide. This woman was well aware of the fact that Megan was vulnerable, clinically depressed and knew her weak spots. After Megan died, she had the nerve to ask the Meier family to keep a game for her that she was giving someone for Christmas. No admission, apology or any of that. She behaved as if nothing was ever wrong. If you ask me, this is scary behavior.

As Mrs. Drew was not punished or held accountable for her crimes or Megan’s death, who is to say she is not going to go back online and pull this stunt on another child that her daughter may be feuding with? As she expressed no remorse or apology for Megan, who is to say she has changed or learned anything? MySpace is still in existence and is still a online hangout for teens. People who have internet access at their jobs are always sneaking peeks at their email or coming on places to chat like Facebook or Twitter. It does not appear she has learned a lesson the first time around and the fact that she may be going online again is scary.

I understand Mrs. Drew has to work so she can care for her family. However, I do not trust her whatsoever when it comes to the internet. She has proven that she cannot behave responsibly online and will repeat these same behaviors because she knows she will not be punished for her actions. That was the lesson that was learned the first time around. Besides, allowing this woman back online is like handing a serial killer a loaded gun. Now would anyone in their right mind even go there? Something to think about.