News & Politics
"In a subtle way, you can shake the world."
― Mohandas Ghandi
― Mohandas Ghandi
Feature: Think Before You Type
by Jocelyn Sung '19
Emery isn’t her real name. It’s the one I gave her, after she initially contacted me and outlined her terms: if she were to share her cyberbullying experience with me, she would have to remain anonymous. I felt that she was frightened. As incomprehensibly small of a possibility it was, it definitely was possible for her previous tormentor to learn of her true name, and to find her again.
A staggering amount of people are like this when it comes to cyberbullying; they’re afraid of the prospect of being attacked or humiliated again. Sometimes, others can emerge from their experience stronger, and they refuse to ever be treated so horribly ever again. Then there are those who simply break, and their hurt results in the unspeakable pain of others; 20% of kids cyberbullied think about committing suicide, and 1 in 10 individuals attempt it.
Emery’s ordeal began when she was merely fourteen years old. She has always been a gamer for the same reason that most people are: the escape from reality. Life at home had never been easy for her or her siblings; she grew up often listening to her parents argue through the thin walls of their many homes. She described this one night after a particularly nasty fight between them. Her dad had stormed off, and her mom locked herself in their bathroom, sobbing uncontrollably into the phone.
Emery and her older brother were unable to comfort her as she had done so many times for them. They decided to improvise. They found a few sheets of copy paper in the family office. Washable markers in hand, they wrote her notes and drew her pictures, which they then slid under the door.
It’s easy to see why she found solace in a pixelated world, but in this case, her usual safe haven of video games threw a new possibility at her: unjustified hate.
There are various ways for online bullies to attack their victims. Some might include exclusion, cyberstalking, or impersonation; in Emery’s case, however, her bully harassed her through a game, using several degrading sexual terms to demean her. He referenced inappropriate terms describing a woman’s reproductive organs, called her names that diminished her self-worth, and humiliated her by mocking her actions and words.
It was extremely frustrating for her. This was all happening in a public chat, where other players could see all of the horrible things being said, so Emery wondered why no one was doing anything to help her. They simply continued playing, completely ignoring what was happening. She felt incredibly powerless, and she knew that by feeling like that, she was enabling him to hold a sort of control over her. Emery eventually decided that enough was enough; it was time to find some help.
She made posts on the server’s forums, where players typically share the problems that they face in the game. She messaged the authority in the actual game itself: the moderators, whose job is to moderate chat of anything that can be taken as offensive and to punish the players who choose to break the rules. Her posts were viewed by several people, yet blatantly ignored. The moderators listened to her, expressed their sympathy, but they chose to do nothing to aid her.
This is often the case when someone sees another person being bullied over social media, games, etc. It’s observed that more than half of the time, individuals simply ignored the problem. After all, it’s unbelievably easy to pretend something isn’t wrong when it’s an Internet’s universe away.
Emery had heard of people confiding in their parents when these types of things happened. Usually, it’s the adults who know what to do in such situations, and they can act on it, both quickly and efficiently. This time, she chose to keep the cyberbullying to herself. She felt that by telling her mom what had been happening, she would simply add to the large amount of stress that was already resting on her shoulders. Emery also realized that her mom wouldn’t know what to do. The Internet had still been a developing concept when she had been a kid. Considering how much the world had advanced in technology since then, would she truly understand the agony her daughter was experiencing on a daily basis? How could her mother understand the problem if she didn’t understand the source it stemmed from?
I then asked Emery why she didn’t leave the server where her bully was. She understood that doing so would have been the smart thing to do, but she had made friends there that she didn’t want to abandon. They all became incredibly close, and besides, she said that by leaving, it felt like she was giving her bully exactly what he wanted.
As time went on, it no longer mattered. Her friends eventually left, one after the other. Both regretful and relieved, she too moved on. The server shut down, and she never heard from her bully ever again.
After she told me her story, she texted me saying she was going to take a break for ten minutes or so. While she composed herself, I did some researching into cyber bullying statistics and the results were frightening.
In a survey done by cyberbullying.org, out of 4,500 preteens and teens who live in the United States, 73% of these students reported that they had been cyberbullied before. More than half of these kids had been threatened, harassed, mistreated, or made fun of in the previous month alone.
One out of five of these kids had been actually threatened with a weapon at school.
Of all of the statistics I looked at, this was the one that bothered me the most. School is supposed to be a safe place where students can receive the education they need to be somewhat successful later on in their adult lives. How is it that some cruel individuals feel like they can threaten innocent people with a weapon at school, out of all places? Attacking people over social media or the Internet in general is already appalling in itself, but when the attacks escalate to something of that degree in an educational institution, it’s absolutely disgusting on a whole new level.
At this point, Emery comes back from her ten-minute break. I have one last question to ask her, and she answers with ease:
“if you were in a situation like the one i was in a lot of people will tell you that cyberbullying is easy to deal with,” she texts. “they say that over the internet you can just walk away from the problem. sure, i guess its easy enough to block the person, but a lot of the time its hard to ignore it. its still going on even if you dont see it. my best advice would be to stand up for yourself or try to at least. dont take that trash from anyone. if they have a group of followers backing them up get your own. find others to back you up. friends, family, even strangers who are against cyberbullying are perfect.
“also if you see someone getting bullied, over the internet or in person, please put a stop to it. a lot of kids who are cyberbullied feel really alone so just realizing that someone knows whats going on and is standing up for you is a huge relief. even if you think theyre just friends and that theyre only bantering back and forth it never hurts to check. if anything i wish someone had made sure with me, but it really did seem like no one cared.”
I think it’s safe to say that cyberbullying has become a plague, and it’s poisoning the younger generation of our society. The world around us is progressing at such a rapid pace that we no longer have the time to process whatever new ideas are thrown at us, or the time to acknowledge the pressing issues some of these concepts are presenting us with. The Internet is then truly a precious gift; it’s fast, easily accessible knowledge that can be read within seconds.
But it’s the same thing with all gifts; the benefits we reap can often be a curse. This curse is both the false notion that people can be completely anonymous over the Internet and effortlessly share harmful ideas or images. Social media establishes a platform from which cowards, who would never have the courage to do so face-to-face, are able to select a victim and attack them. While they can’t physically harm the individual, these bullies hide behind a fake identity and assault them physiologically. They can share mortifying pictures that can become immortal, Internet-wise. Rumors can be spread with ease, earning more than a hundred retweets or likes per second. It goes on forever, and on the Internet, nothing ever truly disappears.
If you have been cyberbullied, or you are currently being cyberbullied, please do not allow your tormentor(s) to step over you. They shouldn’t have to use your suffering to feel better about themselves, to feel as if they’re in control.
For those of you who are actually cyberbullying, please pause and reflect on the effect of your actions. Something terrible can and probably is happening to the victim you’re terrorizing, and I promise you, you will never experience more regret than in that moment when you see what you’ve done. Even if you don’t think you’re causing any harm, I urge you to stop and think about how someone else might see it. Please, whatever you do...
Think before you type.
Feature: The Issue with Sexual Assault and Harassment
by Christina Maldonado '19
Google defines consent as, “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” It defines harassment as, “aggressive pressure or intimidation.” Google defines assault as, “make a physical attack on.” Women, and men are faced with these issues, but some do not have the voice to say what had happened to them or what is still happening to them. Today, it seems impossible to read a story, or watch the news without it involving sexual harassment.
Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, and her goal is to help women have a voice, and show that women can support one another. Bate’s website is used by tens of thousand of anonymous women who submit their day to day experiences with sexism. Trades Union Congress(TUC) conducted a study of one thousand and five hundred women; two thirds of these women being the age of eighteen to twenty-four, had experienced sexual harassment in their work environment. One of the stories that feminist campaigner, Laura Bates shares is a story that “really stand out” to her, and it about a young woman, eighteen year old Sophie at a work Christmas party. The actions that are about to take place would seem inappropriate to some people, but to Sophie’s colleagues it was thought as a “festive joke, and they began to burst into laughter.” Sophie, along with her colleagues were standing in a circle, then an older man, a senior manager reached out and grabbed her breasts. Now how many women would see that as humorous? I, for one would not find that in any way humorous.
These are from the website of The Everyday Sexism Project. Women will put their name, a letter, or leave it as anonymous, then they would type in their story, and the last touches would be to post tags of where this incident occurred.
26th October 2017
“For seven months I worked in a research group at a UK university. The group consisted of just two members of staff, me and my manager. On my second day he shouted at me, telling me how stupid I was. Often he would sit next to me with his hand on my leg while we analysed data together. Once I made a mistake in my experiment and he laughed, but clapped me on the back so hard that it hurt. I was very unwell at the time and felt unable to do anything about my manager’s behaviour. I didn’t know where to look for support from my department as I was very isolated from other staff and I knew that other staff had seen what was happening but not taken any action. I knew I needed a good reference from him to get another job. So I left, and pretended it was due to circumstances outside work. I was unemployed for two months while I found another job in a different city. I now work at the same university again, in a different research group, but I sometimes see him, and hide. I don’t know what the right thing is to do. Confront him? Report him? Hope to successfully avoid him until he retires? If he sees me, be polite? Be honest? I don’t know. I hope he isn’t doing the same thing to anyone else. I don’t want to endanger my position and relationships at my current job, and I am still ill, and feel I don’t have the energy to take on the additional stress of making a formal complaint.”
Tags: University, Workplace
These women are not only from the United States, but other countries as well. They're there to post their stories, and know that they're not alone, to know that other women are facing the same issue at work, school, home, or other places. It gives these women time to vent and to have their voice heard by others who will listen.
TUC spokesperson Huma Munshi expresses her thoughts of young women in the workplace. “Often younger women might be on zero hour contracts, or new in the workplace and not have the confidence to ask for help…” Bates also mentions, “Often people dismiss it as office romance or harmless flirting, but that’s not what it is. These are vulnerable people, often in their first jobs, being taken advantage of by men who are often much older than them, and in a position of power and control over their career.” Sexual harassment is just not physical actions, but actions found through technology. Young women are more likely to be sexually harassed by their coworker via email or a “phone en route” from work. There are multiples actions and places that these victims face unwanted sexual actions
Melinda Gates has a blog where she expresses her thoughts of not only women in the workplace, but men in the workplace Gates mentions that “women lack genuine male allies in the workplace.” The workforce these days consist of forty seven percent of women employees. These women should be treated the same way as men, right? These women should have a say or have the right to influence the way the workplace is presented or how the workplace should function. This is gender equality, but this issue influences sexual harassment in the work area. There are men who value gender equality, but like women, they’re afraid to speak out, because they may think that they do not have a voice. Men do notice inappropriate behavior, but have the tendency not to act upon in, because like women, they may be called names or be punished in some way. Men often look for the reaction of a women when an inappropriate act takes places, because the reaction will determine when to intervene. Let us not forget that women are penalized or face backlash if they interject on the issue.
A leader has a job of allowing their workers to advance and to know that their in a safe work environment, but this changes with harassment in the picture. Harassment may be influence bullying and bias judgement. The workers may reveal reduced “psychological safety.” It will also reflect in workers taking more sick day off which will reduce productivity,and lower morale. Employees may be less engaged at work, possess negative “bottom-line impact,” and more likely to leave the company. Harassment does not only have effect on the victim’s work experience, but impact their future experiences in their lives.
Consent may be something difficult to understand and difficult to identify. This is an issue because people either know what it is, but do not know how to take further actions, or a person may not know when given or not given consent and this leads to many issues in the future. There is a short video that may help young adults and adults understand the meaning of consent involving sex, but it is demonstrated with tea.
You may ask someone if they want a cup of tea, and if they respond with, “yes, I would love some tea,”then it is completely fine to give it to them. If you ask someone if they want a cup of tea, and if they respond,”no, not really or I’m not sure,” then you could make them a cup of tea, but they are not required to drink it and you have no right to force them to drink it. This next actions is something important to know and understand; everyone should be well aware of when someone is sleeping they can not respond to anything you ask because they are unconscious. If you ask a sleeping person if they want tea you will get no response and you absolutely cannot force the tea down their mouth because they did not answer yes or no; they did not ask you to put the tea down their throat, and you do not get to decide what that sleeping person wants or what they think. Time is something that changes all the time and just because one event happened, that does not mean it will happen again. If someone wanted a cup of tea last week that does not mean they want tea all of the time and they do not want you to make them tea. You may ask someone if they want tea, their response may be that they do, but as times goes on they may change their mind and tell you that they do not want tea anymore. If someone does not want tea you have no right to force them to drink it, you have no right to get upset because they changed their mind, and you have no right to take any more steps of making them want tea.
If someone is drugged or too drunk then they do not have a clear mind and they should not be making decisions. When out with friends, you should be aware of how much they drink and who they are interacting with . If someone is drunk, the best thing to do is to wait until they are sober and then ask for their consent. Reading a person’s body language and asking them verbally is a way of knowing when consent is given or if consent is not given. The most important thing to understand and learn is that you cannot speak for other and you should not assume what others want or what they do not want. Consent is extremely important, it should not be ignored, or taken lightly by others.
Sex without consent is rape, and being convicted of rape impacts your life to the extreme. If you are convicted, you will have to go to a trial, you may possibly be sentenced to prison for life, you will be put into a system, and this causes issues with your personal and social life. If you are accused or charged with rape, then you might have relationship difficulties with family members and friends. Once you are put in the system, it may be more difficult to travel, get a job, or a place at a university.
Every ninety eight seconds that go by, another American is sexually assaulted. Three percent, or one in every thirty-three men are the victims of having the experience of attempted or complete rape in their lifetime. One out of six women experience attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Fourteen and eight tenths percent is demonstrated as completed assaults, and two and eight tenths percent represent the attempted assaults. Sexual assaults happen more frequently than you may think.
The viral phrase, Me Too, was misused when women demonstrated it to support a viral awareness campaign this year, 2017. The campaign inspired millions of posts on Facebook and Twitter. Many white women used the hashtag Me Too(#MeToo) in response to the dozens if women speaking about the alleged sexual misconduct of “disgraced” Hollywood producer, Henry Weinstein. This growing hashtag was apparently created by Alyssa Milano, but the phrase Me Too was originally created in 2006.
About ten years ago, Tarana Burke, an African American women created the phrase Me Too. Burke had experienced sexual assault, so she wanted to do something to help women and girls, particularly of color. These women and girls would be survivors of sexual violence. The phrase was not used for responses to Weinstein cases, but to support women and girls of color.
The American anti-sexual assault organization, Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network(RAINN), has provided a majority of places sexual assaults occur and breaks them down into percentages. These percentages reflect from at or near the home of the victim. Eight percent is on school property. Ten percent occurs in an enclosed area, but in a public space such as a parking lot or garage.Twelve percent of the assaults happen at or near a relative’s home. Fifteen percent is in an open public space. Finally, fifty-five percent takes place at or near the victim’s home. These sexual assaults keep happening, but not much of it seems to be stopping.
Feature: Rohingya Making A Stand
by Sydney Teran '18
Warning: Contains graphic images and vulgar descriptions
Fortify Rights (FR), a Myanmar human rights organization, spoke to eight women who were raped by Myanmar Soldiers. According to Fortify Rights, the Soldiers “revealed patterns” on the way these crimes happened. Soldiers raped women and girls in schools, fields, homes, and a variety of other places. Even in places where not only other soldiers but civilians could view. Myanmar soldiers went as far as taking men and women onto open fields, splitting them by gender and conducting ‘aggressive body searches’ [Fortify Rights]. They then selected women and girls to rape and and kill.
Two women, a mother and daughter, made comments during an interview with the New York Times on the murders that had happened in their village. Tula Toli was struck with a wave of atrocity at the hands of the Myanmar Army who separated families, taking the men and boys and killing them with no mercy. Mother Dilibar witnessed soldiers shoot her son, 4 years of age, and her husband. Their daughter Noor says her father was the “best man in the world”.
Dilibar also told the New York Times, women and girls were moved into huts to be raped, which she herself experienced and still managed to continue her story following the death of her two-year old daughter Rosie, and Muhammad Kashel, a baby boy who still had to be nursed. The Myanmar Army cut the children’s throats in front of Dilibar and pinned her down next to them, to begin assaulting her.
More Rohingya women shared their horrific experiences with the soldiers. One saying a soldier held a gun to their heads while killing the men and burning their corpses.
The United Nation, an organization created to maintain order internationally, called on the Myanmar government to “ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine State, to restore civilian administration and apply the rule of law” [The guardian]. The ambassador of Myanmar Hau Do Suan, says the statement by the UN “exerts undue political pressure”. He also warned religious tensions could be at risk.
What happens to the refugees who fled?
The refugees who landed in Bangladesh, a neighboring place next to Myanmar. The executive director of the UN Children’s fund, says the refugees brought with them the sorrow and pain they went through back in Myanmar. They were “fearful, exhausted, and hungry”. The UN says the Bangladesh showed an “example of humanity”, by helping the people of Myanmar get the treatment they need. Sadly, many refugees died trying to escape Myanmar, while others were caught and taken back.
Pope Francis had visited Myanmar this past November of 2017. He spoke to some of the people, and listened while they told him their own stories on the crisis. The Pope comments, telling CNN he was “ crying” , “I tried to hide it; they were crying too”. The Pope sees them as the people they are, and tells CNN he “even yelled a bit” saying, “Respect!, Respect!”, when event organizers were not treating the people fairly, and rushing them to get in a line to meet the Pope. Besides the genocide, the Rohingya are dealing with a vast amount of complications in their everyday lives.
What are their living conditions like?
Over 120,000 people remain in Rakhine, living in camps and villages with very little water and medical aid. There is no electricity which cancels out everyday stuff we are used to. One important one, having light. Homes are longhouses which as one girl says has “not enough space”, taking away the ability for the youth to do schoolwork. Another necessity is food. These people have no food and are “ afraid they will die”, an IRC aid worker reports.
With little room in villages, sharing a house can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Another Aid worker in Sittwe says his extended family, with more than 10 people were living in one house. Can you imagine having very little room? After moving to another camp he comments there is no “ventilation” ; with very little room and a bunch of people. Imagine being stuck in an elevator filled with people. Catastrophic right? Most of the villages are overcrowded and with no medical assistance at high risk of diseases spreading. With no sources there is a possibility of other health problems that are not being treated.
Medical teams internationally are being sent to Bangladesh to not only treat the refugees injured, to stop an outbreak from spreading which could initially, kill thousands more. Filippo Grandi, UN high Commissioner for refugees says, this crisis is “more urgent than ever”. He believes with the global compact is a step that gives these refugees a chance to give them a commitment and put it “into action” so they can be able to have “meaningful lives”. The Global Compact is a course Grandi says, will work to rebuild the lives of the Rohingya and giving them a future. Grandi who visited the camps in September tells Reuters he felt it was “very passive”. Referring to the way they live and act he said “ you almost felt there was nothing left and that everything had been drained by this”. An Italian Diplomat additionally comments this kind of trauma has not been seen in a “very long, long time”. Despite the physical wounds, each individual person carries a wound that can’t be found on them; it can be found within them. Each individual holds a story greater than we know because they have lived through it and continue to live through it.
The pictures show some of the visible scars on these children, parents,grandparents, brothers, friends, survivors. Their marks holds a tale of what they have been through. Some too young to understand why, but not too young to be traumatized. Some too old to fight back, but having an eternal battle to fight to keep living; to keep breathing.
The Rohingya continue to fight, for their rights, for their spirit, for themselves and for each other. Their fight isn’t always shown, though they show their strength by speaking about the difficulties and losses they lived through, and hoping. It can’t be guessed how much longer they will have to fight, all we know is they are. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
There are various websites created to help the Rohingya. Some are to help them be aware of what is happening, others to give people the option to help in ways that may seem little, but have the ability to impact the Rohingya greatly. Down below are a list of websites you can go to to learn more information. There are also a list of websites available if you would like to donate. Including a twitter account you can follow to be updated on the changes that should be happening for these people.
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