Just before midnight I made a snap decision to do a personal tweet marathon.
As the sunlight fills my bedroom window, it occurs to me some preparation may have been in order… But knowing my tendency towards “Meh, no one really cares” I jumped in before giving myself a chance to reconsider speaking up.
Last month, someone decided his particular brand of entitlement justified committing violence on others before taking himself out of the picture and the possibility for a media circus of a trial or a lucrative best-selling book deal. Poor him…
Within days of his video rant and rampage, people had stopped mentioning him by name (Honestly don’t remember and won’t give his name the brain space) and instead started talking about the harsh reality that some men do such atrocious things that all women have learned to live defensively in order to maintain basic personal safety.
As if to prove the point, some men took this idea so harshly, the woman who opened the specific conversation felt the need to protect her Twitter account in order to retain some measure of anonymity and safety.
It’s eaten at me for weeks. The activity on the tag on Twitter may have died down some because people there are closer to the source and heard the request to let it go, but I still see it in other places. It’s a conversation that should not end and an idea that shouldn’t be silenced.
Yesterday, a friend used the YAW tag and instantly found herself a misogynist troll. Someone created an account specifically to bash anyone who dares to share her story using YAW.
In talking with her, Author Leigh Michaels (whose books directly address the damage of silence) last night, I got a little riled up about internet bullies and the use of threats or shaming to silence those whose experiences are uncomfortable.
And we said it… Silence Kills.
Abuse, mental illness, addictions, medication, chronic illnesses, trauma, sexuality… The list of uncomfortable subjects is pretty vast. I know saying anything about it, drawing attention to the idea that keeping silent isn’t about keeping peace as much as it is about self-preservation and fear, I’m tossing out the idea that anyone who feels their religious, political or other dogmatic belief system isn’t getting enough wind could jump in and hijack it for their own purposes.
This isn’t about a movement or a hash tag or any formal or informal… Ism.
For me, it’s about acknowledging that too often silence is personally damaging. How many secrets, games, manipulations or outright crimes have you not shared because the weight of being denied, ignored, accused or punished is more painful than bearing it in silence?
I’m doing a 24 hour marathon on Twitter under the tag #SilenceKills. It’s a deeply personal thing for me and I’ll see it through even if it’s alone.
But if anyone here has a Twitter and has a story to tell that’s been silenced… Abuse, neglect, domestic violence, harassment… Whatever your background, gender identity, race, whatever… If you have been coerced to silence because of some societal taboo and you want to speak up, please do so. You don’t have to interact in any way other than breaking your own silence.
For a few hours, let our voices be heard and damn the bullies.