The BS of bullying
Jasmine Curtis-Smith (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – There are two particular encounters that I will never forget as a child. The first was when I exerted all my efforts into avoiding this girl from my bus service. She used to always pinch my leg and step on my foot on the way home from school. The second was when I was a new student in Melbourne. There was this girl who would always make snide remarks about Asians while I was around. She apparently didn’t know that Filipinos are Asians and when I confronted her about it, she actually said “Don’t worry, I didn’t mean you. Filipinos aren’t Asians.” To this day, I still wonder if she knows where the Philippines is located.

Those first two meetings with bullying didn’t leave any lasting damaging impacts on me. I learned how to stand up for myself and thought that I was strong enough against bullying.

And then I entered showbiz.

Soon as I joined the chaotic and 24/7-everything-on-display life of an “artista” (I shudder at the term), every single part of my life has been placed under a magnifying glass and bullying became a daily thing. At first I had nothing to worry about. I had a clean start in my career and didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. But the mud started rolling in and suddenly, there would be interviews that would be twisted and taken out of context and turned what I said into something it was not. Opinions of me started to come from all directions which then turned into chismis and eventually landed on websites that thrived on hate and bashing. And of course, once they’d be on websites everyone would consider these things as fact. My career suddenly took a surprising turn and caused some of the people I worked with to view me differently which then led to even more rumors, opinions, and chismis. Welcome to the new form of bullying, Jasmine.

The prime form of bullying nowadays doesn’t happen in your face, it happens in front of a screen. These so-called “keyboard warriors” have given me some of the worst days of my life. Sure, it’s easy to say how it’s so shallow of me to be affected by comments and tweets but imagine living day by day for how many months and receiving nothing but senseless hate and disparagements on you and your family. Everyday of people you’ve never even met call you a “wh*re” or say “die b*tch, die”, or call your mom a “sl*t” and your sister “matapobre.”

To be honest, those occurrences were tough on me. I was afraid of facing a crowd in fear that someone would throw something at me. I didn’t want to check my social media accounts or even have them anymore because I didn’t want to see all these hateful and utterly hurtful comments being left behind. I decided to cut ties with the majority of my circles. Kept to myself and waited ‘til I could fly out and be with my mum. Eventually, I stood back up again and told myself that these people would never have the courage to say what they slam on their keyboards or smartphones to my face. 

These are the ones who after shaming you would then ask for understanding because the only reason why they do this is because they’re only protecting the people they admire; that they’re only defending their idols; that they had no choice but to release these thoughts/feelings/pinions on your comment section or by tweeting the worst things imaginable it to you. They ask for understanding but as for me? Suck it up daw, move on daw, and that I deserved all the bashing, shaming, hating daw. I deserved what was coming to me and wala pala akong karapatan maging affected. 

How much time are they choosing to waste on unsubstantial thoughts? How much time are they choosing to spend on websites and accounts that hate and promote nothing but negativity and continuously bash an individual about their personal lives? There are hater accounts I have come across describing themselves as “God-fearing”, “peace lover” etc. but these accounts are the same ones on my page talking sh*t about me and my family. Hello, irony.

Why are we now living in a world where freedom of speech is twisted and taken way out of context? How has it become an excuse to forget to be human beings with values and morals to live by? Forget what the person reading it could feel, heck, forget what they could even do to themselves. Let’s just carelessly throw out all these spiteful words and go on with our lives without thinking of the consequences of what we say. This shouldn’t be the norm. Call me crazy but I hope for a more positive approach at how we use social media. Let’s not allow it to be an instrument of hate and instead use it to our advantage and our progress. Let’s forget about the petty, negative, and shallow things and remind ourselves that we are all going through our own plights in life. We have to say no to bullying and #StopTheHate.


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