Yep you read correct. Facebook group bullying. How sad is that? Anti bullying week brings attracts quite a lot of attention with lots of sad news articles about children that have suffered abuse at the hands of other children on and offline. It is something that is abhorrent to me and really pulls on my heart strings, but what about the forgotten scores of adults, especially woman that are subjected to the same thing? When I first heard of the idea that adults could be bullied online, I didn’t take it seriously. I couldn’t take it seriously, I mean we are adults, we can all stick up and defend ourselves right? Well apparently not in all cases. I am part of a large number of mum groups on Facebook and whilst I participate in the conversation in some of these groups, some of them I don’t, I tend to just read the threads and maybe offer a like or reaction to a post. I have found that each group is unique in the sense that they can be put into groups themselves! What I mean by this is that say for instance you have two groups both called ‘Mums unite’ One ay have a majority of women aged 18-25 and the other may attract 25-40 year olds. I have also noticed that the etiquette varies from group to group and it is highly noticeable that it is easy to distinguish what groups have more educated women than others, different socioeconomic statuses, personality types etc. If you don’t join a group where the women are similar to you and your background/ situation, you may be in for a shock. If you don’t harbour the same views in terms of parenting, be prepared for a bashing. I want to bring to your attention a case of a woman a few days back who tried to commit suicide after being attacked online by a bunch of piranhas after she had asked a question, looking for advice and support. The husband emailed the admin the next morning and explained what had happened. Her post went went a bit like this:
“Ladies, We had a post yesterday that went badly. A woman came in here looking for advice. Some of you gave advice and some of you didn’t. Don’t ask me what the post was. And if you remember it the DON’T mention it. Ladies we need to be careful what we say to others. The poster left the group last night and attempted to commit suicide this morning because of the bashing. She suffers from depression and has been for a while. Bashing from this group set her off. This is a very serious matter and anyone who makes light of it will be immediately removed. There are thousands of women in here who are just like this woman. Watch what you say, do not be a keyboard warrior. Debating is one thing, bashing is another. We will be more harsh on bashing going forward. Also if you see bashing REPORT the post. Please help us. I want you to rad what her husband sent us today so that you can grasp the seriousness of your words”.
The husband had written in to the group admin and what he says is heart-breaking:
“Ok hi my name is James. Last night my wife posted something in this group in hopes to get some advice or support. I actually didn’t know this until just a couple of hours ago. She was crying a lot last night and I didn’t think much of it because her Grandpa recently just passed away and she has been struggling a lot with it, so I just assumed that’s why she was crying. This morning when I woke up our baby was still in the crib and I couldn’t find my wife, which was odd because she is always up early with the baby getting the day started. I went upstairs to find my wife unconscious- and a suicide note. The note explained everything that happened with the group last night. Luckily I got to her when I did and she is ok now.. My wife has been suffering from depression for a while. So I’m not trying to put any blame on anyone. My concern is that my wife went to the group for support and advice and she felt ridiculed and embarrassed. She has been talking about the group a lot recently. Saying how nice it is to connect with other moms. I could tell it made her happy, I’m just hurt that we almost lost her because something she posted got such rude and negative comments. I ask that anyone in the group be warned when they make mean and hurtful comments. Because what happened to my wife, could very well happen to another. I would also like to add that I don’t put the blame on you. I know you created the group for a good cause and purpose and it is difficult to control what other people post and say. I would also ask that no comments come back about how if one little post can cause a suicide attempt then my wife needs serious help. We already know that. She does have professional help and has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past. The feedback she got last night just set her off and she actually went through with an attempt. I am not looking for apologies, just hoping to prevent this in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read this.”
The post naturally gained a hell of lot of sympathy comments but I do wonder if the culprits read it and felt remorse for their disgusting behaviour? So how about we start to think about what we say to others? It’s ironic because half of the bitchy comments that I read from one woman to another in some groups wouldn’t be spoken if they were face to face! It’s cowardly and unnecessary. Time for a rethink ladies. If anyone has any experiences of bullying online as an adult please feel free to comment below