Bullying is a subject I'm very outspoken on because people don't understand the impact and the mental scars they leave behind which can take years to heal, if they really ever heal at all.
In my day, compared to today, it was a simpler form of bullying - not that I am condoning it in any way - but it was face to face, name calling, physical and mental hurts, you knew the name and the face of the bullies, you knew the familiar outlines as they came towards you so you could run in the opposite direction.
Today not only do you have to contend with what I went through you also have to contend with the cyber bullying - the nameless and faceless who say the most disgusting things because they feel they have an anonymity and an autonomy to behave without repercussion. I often wonder whether these people online would actually say the things they do if they were standing in front of that person?
When I do venture online and have a look through Twitter some of the comments are lewd and perverted and they mostly come from youngsters. I can't understand why youngsters feel that taunts of an abusive sexual nature are appropriate? The majority of the comments are positive and from genuine people wishing you well but as with most people it's the negatives that you remember, it's the negatives that unpick the wounds of my young self when I was bullied and tormented as a child.
I know the world is a different place these days but it makes you seriously question what the future generation will be like as grown ups with minds so contaminated by sexual violence at such a young age and how they think it is funny or clever to comment in that way.
An example that was shown to me this week which I found horrifying was of a lovely young journalist who interviewed me in LA. She made an innocuous comment about a boy band member looking unhappy. The abuse she suffered online by their "fans" was unfathomable and totally unwarranted and to be honest frightening that young children could even think of such deviant phrases. Under the guise of fans she was threatened with death and torture. These are young children who left to their own devices on a computer are vicious and at such a young age it's very worrying- threatening to "rip out the uterus" of a professional and honourable woman is not the mark of a sane person. Do they really think this boy band would be impressed by what is fundamentally disturbing behaviour? How do their young minds even come up with something so terrible? I just can't understand or fathom this.
Making obscene comments is not acceptable be it in person or on the internet. Social media has allowed the social graces of a small percentage to quite literally fly out the window.
The damage cyber bullying does, long term is just as bad as the scars that I still have from people stubbing out cigarettes on my arm and should never be tolerated.
My advice to those on the receiving end is do not tolerate it and speak to someone who can help. You do not have to live in fear or worry and the faster the bullies are confronted and stopped the better - it is not ok to accept abuse and you don't have to.
It's the bullies that have the issues not you and for someone to have to be mentally or physically cruel to make themselves feel empowered just shows you, the person on the receiving end that it is not your fault and the faster you speak to someone the faster it can stop. You don't have to live a life of fear and misery nor should you and the quicker it stops the less of a scar it will leave. Bullying is still bullying whether you know the name and face of your bullies or whether it is an anonymous coward on social media. Neither is acceptable and people are there to stop it!