On Sunday the 7th of January, I published an article titled “How to be the Best Version of Yourself in 2018“. The post was targeted at self-love, kindness and generosity; that being the best version of yourself is the most valuable resolution to have.
I shared my article on social media – just as I normally would – and posted the link to a group on Google + that aims to spread positivity around the world.
A few hours past, and as I was laying in bed checking my emails, I came across a comment that truly broke my heart:
A man with a hidden identity, that writes on topics such as “love” (ironic right), politics and religion, took a photo from my post dedicated to spreading kindness and positivity, and instantly turned it into something dark.
In the blink of an eye, the image of myself walking through a rainforest, was transformed into the item of a man’s sexual desire. I was 100% objectified, in every sense of the word. To this man, regardless of whether his words were without physical intention, he turned my body into nothing more than a piece of flesh.
At the speed of light, the comment was deleted, the account was blocked and the page was reported to the best extent that I could… But sadly the deed was done.
The very instant that this man put his fingers on the keyboard, he was attempting to scare, intimidate and tear the self-worth from a woman he’d never met. Although his words were short, he spoke graphically, directly and with a total lack of remorse.
At first, I wondered where I had gone wrong: Did I say something that made this person mad? Did I say something offensive as a person of privilege? Was the image I posted too much?
I put the blame on myself for a few brief moments, before I shamefully realised how disgusting this was. Somehow, this man had instantly manipulated me into thinking this was my fault… That a man objectifying my body was because of my own accord.
And this is what happens to women every. single. day.
In the image taken from this particular post, I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt, denim shorts, a cap and my face is not shown. And guess what, none of that is relevant. But to all the people that somehow blame women for there own sexual assault, I ask you:
Would I have been asking for it?
At first, I questioned whether ignoring this was the right way to handle it; whether I was massively overreacting or turning something small into an issue that wasn’t worthy of attention.
And that’s exactly what makes this problem so undoubtedly wrong.
For a brief moment, I believed that staying quiet was the right answer; that being subjected to something so serious should be dealt with by hiding in the dark.
I’m ashamed… I truly am. Even if it was for a split second, the fact that I let someone like this into my head is completely heart-breaking. As for so many around the world, the mentality to overcome such terrible words and actions just isn’t possible – I’m one of the lucky few.
But please remember… It doesn’t matter the severity of the issue, it’s an issue. And that’s all there is to it. Whether you’ve been threatened online, spoken to in a violent way or subjected to any form of online, physical or sexual abuse, every situation is an important one.
Remember that no woman – regardless of whether she is posing naked, walking alone at night or putting herself on the internet – is ever asking for assault.
Just like so many others, this is sadly not the first time that my body has been objectified. For the majority that put themselves on social media for good reasons, this is the kind of thing that is received on the daily. But it should never be the norm.
The internet can seem like a very very bleak place at times – there are some dark, scary and utterly disgusting people online, but from sharing this very minor experience, it became overwhelmingly clear that love will always win.
I had an incredible amount of love and support from the people on social media, and for the brief moment that I had lost faith in the web, all was restored by the kindness of strangers.
The internet doesn’t just have to be a place where people prey behind anonymity… It can be a place filled with love and kindness, and that’s exactly what I’ve learnt.
Ignoring such serious issues leads people to believe that this is what’s expected on social media and sadly that’s part of the problem.
What if one day these words turn to actions? What if one day this man preys on our loved ones and puts his words into play? Sexual assault should not be taken lightly. Rape is never a joke.
So to all the women and girls out there, please remember that your body is a temple – stand up for it! Don’t ever let a man objectify you. Remember that the world is full of beautiful people and a countless number of kindhearted men.
The world is full of so much good, it’s just up to us to see it. Social media doesn’t have to be such a horrible place…
Let’s make it positive again ♡
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