March 8, 2012

What I didn't know

It's been one year since I launched the Take the Pledge Campaign. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.

Within hours of going live with the website and setting up  Twitter and Facebook accounts, I received an email from a woman. What she had to say brought me to tears. She had been the victim of long term, serious cyber stalking from another woman. She was at the end of her rope and desperate for help.

I realized how little I actually knew about the problem of mom-to-mom cyber bullying. I just saw people being unkind and disrespectful and wanted to try to do something about it. I didn't realize how huge the issue truly was. And yet because of what I had started, people viewed me as an "expert." I panicked.

Thanks to the wonders of social media, I was able to connect that women with the resources and support she needed. And I immediately set out to learn as much as I could so that when the next email came I'd be better prepared.

I used to scoff at the saying, "Ignorance is bliss." Now I understand. Most days, I would much prefer to be ignorant on this topic. I often wish I hadn't gotten sucked into a vortex of evil. Been exposed to the deepest, darkest recesses of the human mind. Discovered people who dedicate all their time and energy to hating and attacking others.

It makes me angry. It makes me sad. It makes me afraid for humanity. And that is not hyperbole.

I'll admit it. There are days I wish I wasn't in this position. I'd never been a target of cyber bullying - until I started The Mom Pledge. My online interactions had been positive. They had saved me from the unexpected isolation of stay at home motherhood.

I didn't know how bad it can get out here. I do now. And I'm still learning.

Don't tell me cyber bullying among adults isn't a real problem. Do not question whether this movement is needed, or worthwhile, or relevant, or valid. I am reminded of why it is every single day.

I put myself out there. I may not have known exactly what I was getting in to, but I'm here. And I'll be damned if I am going to back down now. What I have learned about the epidemic of cyber bullying has hardened me. But it has also strengthened my resolve.

I'm not going anywhere. So stick with me. Keep working to build more positive connections, to create your own online spaces that reflect who you are. Model the principles of The Mom Pledge, and be proud of the example you are setting.

We are making a difference.

Your support means the world to me, and I can't thank you enough. Knowing you are in my corner is an incredible feeling.

To those who would bully and belittle - I'm sorry. I truly am. I'm sorry you are in such a dark place that the only way you can cope is by attacking others. Please look deep within yourself. Look at your children. Get help. Commit yourself to making more positive choices. We are all capable of change. We just have to want it.

I had the opportunity yesterday to appear on the Mom Up Show with Randi Zuckerberg and Soleil Moon Frye. We talked about bullying and the mission of The Mom Pledge. Come check it out!

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