An (Un)fortunate Reminder.

I have been (un?)fortunately reminded why I did not want to be a part of any social media groups, relating to or based on deafness / sign language. For I am now much happier, without, having since left quite a few.

Why?

Having this extraordinary second chance at life has meant I have very little tolerance for such toxic “deaf world” attitudes. For me to get extremely angry nowadays is very rare but as always, is justified.

My personal experience (here in the UK) is that because deaf people do not support each other, that often makes matters worse. Sadly, causing mental health issues from within.

What is deaf culture? And an important message for the deaf community.

The deaf community has however, come a long way and that should not be forgotten. From being hidden away, or being forbidden to sign, to what it is today for we now, are able to be an equal. There is still a lot to do to improve the mental health state within the deaf community and it is down to the deaf community to work harder through legal means to improve situations.

Each and every being, deserves to be respected – regardless.
Each one of us, deserves better.

I would like to publicly thank my friends, for your continued support. For one another especially. For your courage and conviction.

Much love and admiration to you all. 💖💖💖

Bless your cottons! 😜

May positivity and peace reign over us all, once more.

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~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Cybernauts Of The Deep Web

cybercrime1

The other day, I was chatting to a friend about our favourite TV series. They realised just how much I enjoyed watching anything to do with forensic science, especially crime scenes.

Since our conversation, they have watched CSI Cyber and are now, hooked on it. The terminology for them is somewhat different but Google is a handy tool. They also stated they have often wondered just how much of the technology crime is real on such programmes…

I answered them speaking from experience having watched forensic science and all the police series to date, how it all felt rather familiar. How much I suspected they used real life experiences or cases from the past, to base their storyline on and in return, relatively use the knowledge gained from that crime unless otherwise stated that the “Storyline is not based on real life characters or crimes.”

CSI Cyber for them is proving to be very educational, making one more aware of what criminal activity could be committed via the use of technology. Though I deduce, it may make some people even more paranoid of technology, upon realising the extent of just how vulnerable one can be, to the know how’s, the miscreants or rather, the “black hats” as one would describe them.

I quote myself from an earlier article I wrote about the media’s influence, which also stands within this context…

“There is an online world being formed, which makes people feel able to take things into their own hands, making comments, posting YouTube videos or articles that spread like wildfire within seconds of it being publicized.”

It is sadly, quite the playground for bullies. One of the many disadvantages the cyber world has is that everyone is accessing and potentially misuses the same or similar info from the exact same places.

“Each one of us will interpret the context based on our personal knowledge, understanding and experiences. Not everyone will seek the truth or a deeper knowledge in order to be better informed about what we are being told or given to read, by or via the media.”

People forget just how quickly technology has contributed to riots of today whereas in the days of snail mail, only a fraction of the number would have taken heed and caught up in the act of which by then would have fizzled out.

The very same online world is not being policed adequately hence why cybercrimes are on the rise. Be it verbal and mental abuse, hacking of one nature or another, viruses, phishing and so on.

cybercrimeOnline banking is something I would never do since the cyber world is beyond our capabilities and understanding. If I could be ultra-confident my details were encrypted and private then maybe, just maybe I would be a little bit more trusting of the cyber world.

All the possibilities we leave ourselves open to, people just do not realise until it happens to them by which time, may be too late for some. Big brother may be watching yet they too, are just as vulnerable.

As with everything there is always a balance, there are good people out there who are genuinely trying to help people, needing the online world to benefit their causes, despite the black hats trying to spoil it, for the white hats.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Stop The Online Abuse.

Being in the public eye for the past two years has subjected me to many forms of online abuse be it indirectly or directly. I have witnessed the “mob mentality” escalate appallingly fast when someone may have a different school of thought, or by simply being different. Take the time for example when I was attacked for choosing to speak instead of sign in my BBC interview. I naturally speak when I am with hearing people as I am more comfortable doing so yet my choice to speak was not respected by those who demanded that I signed just because I come from a deaf family. I was put between a rock and a hard place and I was damned if I did sign and damned if I didn’t. The sheer number of sheep flocking was astonishing – thank God I am not a sheep! These days, too many people take advantage of peer pressure to manipulate and dictate others what to do.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou.

There will always be someone who can put forwards different perspectives on issues and situations due to their experiences in life and knowledge, making the impact for change greater – surely everyone deserves to be respected with kindness just as much as the next person regardless? It is extremely healthy to have variations of viewpoints so one can be educated and decide – especially for themselves.

When having a different opinion one tends to be singled out as a “Troll” yet to single that person out as a troll must be another form of abuse in itself.

The World Wide Web.
The World Wide Web.

However I have recently experienced a new form of online abuse and I have been left saddened by it. This experience has made me want to retreat, have nothing at all to do with the world-wide web to distance myself from all the negativity and to restrain myself from reacting. Life is far too short.

To go onto social media and post potentially libellous material which names a person, persons and so on when they cannot defend themselves surely must be another form of online abuse? Especially when there is no evidence that the named party has attacked or done anything wrong yet people feel the urge to personally attack the named party? And what’s worse, people adopting the “mob mentality” by joining in and adding fuel to the fire. No one is born with hatred – it is instilled and mimicked. If only respect worked in the same sense.

Seeing that occur from a distance opened my eyes and I soon realised I had been in the very same position numerous times now. Unfortunately I know I am not alone in this experience for a friend of mine was personally attacked recently by someone posting a video onto social media publicly naming him and criticising him. If only he had sorted his dispute out privately with the named person – he would not be now known as a bully within our circle of mutual friends.

I will not tolerate or condone any form of online abuse around me especially bullying. I made it clear that I would not stand for this within the Tree House in the form of personal attacks (or when we are named outside the safety perimeters of the Tree House which subsequently is inviting us to take action) or be associated with those seen to be contributing to the very public online form of abuse. Yet making it clear, I was inevitably set upon. My position as founder in trying to protect the Tree House from any potential damage was questioned, undermined. oppressed and criticised. Being unbiased and diplomatic sets myself apart from others and this helps me to look outside the box – as always I will do as I deem just, adapting to each situation based on my experience. Was my being criticised and slated another form of online abuse? Maybe not in their eyes but it certainly felt like it to me.

To have thick skin is very important and deaf people are extremely vulnerable to the various forms of abuse, be it online, within society, at school, at work and unfortunately at home. In all walks of life, there will always be that someone who will try to drag others down no matter who they may be, for being different. My scars have healed over many times now hence why my skin has grown thicker and if I can refuse to be manipulated, so can you. Positivity rules!

Do not encourage any form of online abuse because these emotions which are associated with being bullied will exhibit themselves within the victim(s).

◾Depression

◾Shame

◾Low self-esteem

◾Sadness

◾Difficulty trusting others

◾Anger

◾Anxiety

◾Frustration

◾Fear

The offenders’ hatred should not dictate your time and you would only be lowering yourself to their level if you join in or encourage it. Rise above it because people who show their true colours in this manner deserve to be reported to the police so keep a record of all the evidence and present it in order to take action. I have done this in the past being a victim and they have listened – they issued warnings to the offending parties. With actions comes consequences – if they can dish it out, they can certainly take it.

Please, don’t have one rule for yourself and another for others – put yourself in the victim’s shoes and walk hundreds of miles in it first, taking a look in the mirror before passing any judgement or criticism.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.

It is about time online abuse in its various forms is stopped. Help by being a part of that change in stopping personal attacks, cyber bullying and all forms of online harassment. Fight back – especially for justice.

Thank you, for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Some useful links for your reference:

Internet Safety

Bully Online

Crown Prosecution Service

Taking action about Harassment.

Harassment Act 1997

and last but not least,

I would like to applaud Dr Taylor.

Update: Defamatory gossip is now being spread about The Tree House and myself which is once again another form of abuse – Please keep evidence of this as we have built up a case which we have taken action on with positive results.