Don’t Shame Those Bringing Darkness to Light: Elliott Grace Harvey’s Thoughts

CC image courtesy of Flickr, See-Ming Lee.

Some of the comments I come across regarding human rights issues blow my mind. I’m talking about the things that become a major source of dissension in social media and personal conversations.

A movie about kinky sex.

Discrimination towards the queer community.

Gender inequality. Rape culture and its many representations.

“No,” I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise… I will gag you.”

An overwhelming theme I see emerging is an attitude of annoyance. Frustration that we’re talking about any of this. That whatever the topic is, will go away and we should stop discussing it because “controversy” is what makes this an issue.

“I have an overwhelming urge to cry, a sad and lonely melancholy grips and tightens round my heart. Dashing back to my bedroom, I close the door and lean against it trying to rationalize my feelings. I can’t. Sliding to the floor, I put my head in my hands as my tears begin to flow.”

Here’s the thing about promoting silence as a solution.

When you believe that talking about something is the problem, and that to stop talking about it takes away the problem, you don’t understand it at all.

You’re speaking from a place of privilege. A place where things like abuse only affect you in your news feed, rather than your daily life. The people affected by abusive situations will still wake up to them tomorrow, and you can’t stand to hear about it.

“All this intense need to shout from the rooftops that this is abuse is crazy.”

Feeling isolated and unheard paralyzes people in unhealthy situations. Say it out loud,You’re not alone, and you’re not at fault.”

“The more we talk about it the more publicity it gets. I’m personally tired of hearing about it.”

Words are powerful things. You can make a difference with your words for the better.

“It’s a movie. It doesn’t promote a widespread message about anything. Find something else to worry about.”

Education changes lives. Speak about respect and human rights, again and again and again.

“It’s CONTROVERSIAL. Controversy and drama. When people get tired of discussing how evil/wonderful it is it will fade into oblivion.”

Take whatever the current media battle is. Yes, the hype will go away eventually. Yes, the uproar is fed the more people talk about it. Yes, people should use common sense. However, misinformation is damaging, and silencing those who are speaking up against wrong does no one any favors.

I’m glad you’re not personally affected by discrimination or abuse or any of these issues people are dealing with. I plead with you, don’t shame those that are bringing it to light.

Silence is on the side of the abuser.


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