My Two Cents — Maybe Two Dollars, Adjusted for Inflation–About Cyber Bullies
Fifth day of January – hey, that means it’s 1-5-15 (well, it WAS when I first started this post!)
AND this is my fifth post – so far, so good for staying on track! At least with THIS blog, my primary one.
The writing prompt from the Ultimate Blog Challenge for this fifth day of January is this:
Day 5: Share Your Two Cents
We all have opinions on things that are happening in the world.
It’s ok to share that opinion…
OK, so my “two cents” – or as I said, maybe two dollars, adjusted for inflation – is about the rampant ignorance and maliciousness some people exhibit online as they hide behind the anonymity of their computer screens…or just let it all hang out, with their own real names and photos, yet still feel they are untouchable and can say anything they want about other people, because it’s “just” online.
News flash for those people: yes, the first amendment guarantees freedom of speech:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
No, it does NOT give you the right to commit libel and malicious defamation of character:
>>NRS 200.510 Definition:
A libel is a malicious defamation, expressed by printing, writing, signs, pictures or the like, tending to blacken the memory of the dead, or to impeach the honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation, or to publish the natural defects of a living person or persons, or community of persons, or association of persons, and thereby to expose them to public hatred, contempt or ridicule.<<
As the quote above says, struggles can make us stronger, so compared to about a month ago, I am feeling stronger…and instead of upset, hurt, and panicked…I am very, very angry about an incident that took place last month that nearly ruined my holiday celebration with my family.
I am going to be purposely vague and will extend the undeserved courtesy to these other people that was not extended to me, by NOT naming people, nor linking to any Facebook pages, blogs, or other social media accounts.
The short version is this. An acquaintance who I will only refer to as CH-not a true friend or colleague, really nothing in common, other than I knew her from both of us writing for the same content company a few years ago– took a decidedly dark turn in her writing career after getting booted from that company. The consequences of her behavior spawned at least one petition with thousands of names calling for her removal from yet another content company (and they were successful), and multiple social media venues and Facebook pages dedicated to questioning her self-proclaimed credentials and holding her accountable for her actions.
That is where I made the “mistake” of voicing my opinions about some of her actions–exercising my free speech–on one of these Facebook pages. I didn’t use profanity and I didn’t make abusive comments. Sometimes sarcastic, maybe “snarky” – but aside from expressing my shock at some of the things CH has done and said online (captured in screen shots) and activities she is alleged to have done (discussed on various social media), my comments were nothing close to what she claimed they were.
But apparently she closely watches all those pages, and even brags about all the “hate” pages aimed at her, and she labels anyone who participates on those pages as being “stalkers” and “cyber bullies” — with absolutely no acknowledgement that she has done anything wrong to provoke that many people to have negative opinions of her, and that SHE, in fact, is guilty of cyber stalking and bullying, and convinces others to do likewise.
At any rate–upon recognizing my name and comments, she then sent out an “investigator” to effectively stalk ME online. This person, with entirely too much time on his or her hands, gathered screenshots of comments and photos, from Facebook and this blog (over 100 hits last month in just a few days from Google and other search engines), to present to CH as “evidence” that my participation of commenting on that page meant I was “involved from the beginning” (whatever that means) in some nefarious activities.
This is where, looking back, it gets rather comical and incredulous. This “investigator/stalker” and CH determined that my hubby (who rarely is online except to read news and play WoW) and I were the masterminds behind these alleged “hate” pages BECAUSE:
*My first name and former last name were similar to the name of one person’s fake account on Facebook who has one of those pages.
*Hubby and I use the terms “hubby” and “wifey” (a fact the “stalker” discovered here) – and so does this other person with a fake account and another one of those pages.
That’s it. Comments on a public page on Facebook and these two benign coincidences–all the “proof” she needed to “confront” me and demand I tell her the truth about my alleged involvement. Well, ummm…yes, I made comments (along with dozens of other people – and mine involved no profanity or attacks). No, my hubby and I certainly are NOT these other people, nor have we ever been involved in creating “hate” pages or participating in any illegal activities such as cyber stalking and bullying.
Well, that didn’t suit her–she claims I wasn’t “honest” about her accusation of alleged involvement–so then she proclaimed on HER public and private Facebook pages, blog, Twitter, and other social media that she had identified her “tormentors.”
First she just alluded to me, with this ridiculous announcement (only a partial excerpt, because she went ON and ON) that only has one grain of truth to it – that I admitted to making comments – everything else is quite the combination of horrific fabrications, accusations, and threatening language – and is it any wonder I wasn’t too anxious to admit to the only part that was true, knowing that this is how she “deals” with people?
Another note of interest – when she confronted me, she claimed not to know who this person was who randomly sent her screen shots – but as you see here, she starts right off confirming THAT lie when she refers to him or her as “one of the many people investigating” —
“I’ve recently discovered the true identity of one of my stalkers, thanks to one of the many people investigating this ongoing issue. And I confronted her. She denied being “that person,” and even tried to mislead me about her involvement until I began showing her screenshots…I’ve also been shown some other screenshots that prove… that she was directly involved.
Innocent people who don’t even know me have been harassed because of this group of people — and this woman was involved from the beginning and she chose to pretend to be my friend, keeping herself on the same friend list where I keep my family members … This woman participated in behavior that put all of these people in danger — and all the while she sat there posting biblical scripture on her own facebook page daily, pretending to be this pious Christian woman who would never, ever be caught up in behavior like this.
May you bite yourself with the same venom and toxicity you’ve tried to inject into others.
May you live every day reminded of just what kind of person you really, truly are (and it’s NOT the sweet pious Christian woman who everyone sees posting scripture every day..not at all).
May you dream every night about the lives you’ve tried to actively ruin. May you see the faces of the children of the adults you’ve tried to harm. They are your victims too, after all.
I have spoken my will and it is done.”
Malicious defamation –>check.
Impeaching the honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation… of a living person or persons–>check.
Exposing them to public hatred, contempt or ridicule–> check.
Yes, on that third point, many people asked her to let them know just WHO this awful person was–meaning she was falsely accusing, maligning, and libeling me. Here are some comments other people made:
“Let me stalk the stalkers. I’m creepily and delightfully fiendish”
“I suggest you do all you can to ruin their lives. Look at it this way, revenge is sweet.”
“I hope she gets what she deserves and then some.“
Then apparently she didn’t get enough responses or enough pity, and I stopped reacting after the initial shock of the first day or two. At my hubby’s suggestion, I posted a couple of times in attempts to defend him and me (on her Facebook page – which she deleted – I never emailed her, because I don’t even know her email), and then in public posts on my own Facebook page.
But then I stopped mentioning her or referring to the situation – so in response, because nobody was paying attention to her claims (I guess?), she got nasty and blasted my name and screen shots on all her social media accounts over a couple of weeks’ time just before Christmas.
Her comments below (excerpted from two different sources) that I allegedly wouldn’t stop talking about HER are just more asinine accusations, lies, and evidence of some extreme delusional and narcissistic behavior, also fully fitting the definition of libel and malicious defamation of character.
It’s mind-boggling to read the projection that’s going on, where everything she’s accusing ME of, is in fact what SHE is guilty of doing! And you can tell, she truly hates my daily routine of over 3 years, of sharing Bible verses and devotions:
“In case you’re wondering, it was Karen Lee Banks that I confronted recently …who’s been involved with this whole weird cyberbullying campaign. Since then, she’s pretty much taken every opportunity she could find to smear me publicly while virtually flagellating herself with her compulsive religious posts (the lady posts so many prayers throughout the day her page is like a virtual prayer closet).
Let me explain that her reaction to this situation makes me feel like she’s involved far deeper than the few mean-spirited comments she’s made about me. That’s because I’ve not attacked her. I’ve only expressed my shock and hurt feelings that someone … has been participating in very clear and obvious cyberbullying and stalking. Instead of either proving to me that she’s not deeply involved, or instead of being contrite for her admitted and proven involvement, she has chosen to further target me with the same vitriol that she’s shown behind my back.
To Karen Lee Banks: I truly do not know what I did to you to deserve what you’ve done, and I truly don’t know how you feel justified in doing it. I don’t know how you can honestly feel justified in participating in obvious trolling and bullying while lurking on my page under the facade of being a friend and colleague.
Your mean-spirited comments about me have continued publicly even while I have chosen to remain silent (until now, of course), and I just don’t understand how you can think that this makes you look like a decent person. One half of your day is consumed by posting “prayers” and other Jesus freak bull****, and the other half is spent participating in cyber-trolling and ill-intended gossip, and ever since I confronted you you’ve been lying to your friends about me while I have done my best to honor what I said to you in the first place (that I wouldn’t publicly shame you).
You truly are a bully. I wish there was something for me to apologize to you for, some horrible transgression that could halfway justify your toxicity, but there really isn’t anything. Since there is nothing for me to apologize for, all I can do is simply offer you my advice: Be a better person. Just be a better person. Quit lashing out at me and quit dragging my name into your daily posts.”
She even convinced other people to “unfriend” me on Facebook if they wanted to remain HER friends. But, as my hubby says, they were NOT real friends if they are going to believe these crazy lies and accusations CH said about me, when what she claims I’ve said and done is so wildly out of character from everything those “friends” have known about me through online interactions over the past few years.
Then, just the week before Christmas, she made this announcement:
“Waiting for call from a detective…to discuss the cyberstalking that has been taking place over the past year…I have a feeling that some families are going to be spending xmas visiting their kin in jail…such is life.”
And someone commented:
“I hope so. That’s ridiculous. They are idiots.”
I have only been “watching” her social media accounts over the past few weeks because she drove me to it, so I could gather evidence with screen shots – I would be happy to never look at another picture or comment related to her, as long as she ceases and desists from this personal attack and stalking!
I have nothing to hide, because I know I’m not the one behind these pages, no matter what she claims for “proof”! I have only become acquainted with a couple of the people behind these pages (I still don’t have any idea who they really are or where they live) because they feel bad about CH attacking me and falsely accusing my hubby and me of being THEM.
Meanwhile, I have contacted her state’s Attorney General, her city’s sheriff and police department, and our state police department, to report HER for all the things she has done and said that fit the definitions for libel and defamation of character. Taunting, bullying, harassment, posting personal information, and religious hate speech also appear to fit Facebook’s violations of community standards, so I have also contacted Facebook’s legal department:
Bullying and Harassment: Facebook does not tolerate bullying or harassment. We… take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals.
Identity and Privacy: On Facebook, people connect using their real names and identities. We ask that you refrain from publishing the personal information of others without their consent.
Hate Speech: Facebook does not permit hate speech…we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their …religion….
If I knew the identities of her other “investigators/stalkers” – I would certainly be contacting authorities about THEM, too!
I’m also checking with local legal representation, now that the holidays are past.
So anyway, that’s my “two cents” or two dollars – maybe twenty dollars, considering the length of this – and the story of how my month of December went, and the reason I was distracted from blogging, other freelance work, and all the other good things in my life.
If you made it all the way through this — God bless you! Have YOU ever been the victim of a cyber stalker or bully? What actions did you take to handle the situation?