One of the first, or at the very least the most well-known, person to have experienced cyber bullying is Monica Lewinsky. Infamous for her relationship with President Bill Clinton, Lewinsky was a target of so much online harassment that she nearly took her own life. In her inspiring TED talk, Lewinsky talks about her struggle with cyber bullying, as well as the need to reduce public shaming and the need for compassion toward other people.
“I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and of course, THAT woman.
I was seen by many but actually known by few.
And I get it – it was easy to forget that that woman was dimensional,
had a soul, and was once unbroken.”
After the video aired, the TED Talk social media editor, Nadia Goodman, posted about how many hate-filled comments Lewinsky’s talk had received. Many of the comments were posted in a time span that indicated that they did not actually watch the video. Some comments stated that Lewinsky deserved to be shamed, while others were suggesting that she does not deserve to live.
However, in addition to the harassing and hate-filled comments, there were a lot of positive ones, where people were supporting Lewinsky’s decision to speak out against bullying and harassment. In her talk, Lewinsky encourages people to become “upstanders” (rather than bystanders) and to stand up to bullying by supporting the person who is being harassed. As someone who had been subjected to bullying and also as a psychologist who is working with many survivors of bullying, many of whom develop PTSD, I can tell you that one kind word, one supportive comment can make an enormous difference in the life of a person who feels alone. It can be the very thing that might prevent that person from committing suicide. To be loved for who we really are, to be seen, and to be accepted unconditionally – is there a better way to live? And to treat ourselves and others in such a loving way is the ultimate weapon we need to stand up to bullying.
Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a scientist, and a full time geek. She uses Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and chronic pain to become the very best versions of themselves and become their own heroes. She can be reached via Twitter @shadowquill, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shadow.Scarletl, or via her website at www.superhero-therapy.com