There has been a lot of discussion in recent months about bullying in the book community. I particularly remember this post that Drew wrote last summer about stopping all the hate flying around in the book blogging community, if you haven’t read it go check it out: An Open Letter: Let’s Stop the Hate.
The point is, bullying is alive and kicking in our cozy little community, we all like to think we are playing nice, and some of us get by without being too heavily affected, I was definitely one of those people until this week, and too be honest I wasn’t going to say anything until I read something this morning which stopped my heart and made me realise we have to stop keeping quiet and start fighting back.
I had an argument with someone, not someone who is particularly a part of the book community, they sit on the edge friends with a lot of authors, a reader. It wasn’t an argument connected with the book world even, and it was dealt with, although our friendship didn’t survive the argument. It happens.
What I didn’t expect was to have several indie authors I didn’t know send me nasty, abusive messages. Threatening, calling me names. All in the name of protecting this person I had argued with. Believe me, it wasn’t that big deal of an argument. I blocked and deleted all of the messages, and had my mental health been in a better state that would have been it. But it wasn’t, I have been very sick this week so those messages were ammunition for my psychosis to really play havoc with my state of mind and I was in a really bad way fighting suicidal urges for three days. Probably what I should have done was copy those messages and outed each of those people publicly, let everyone know the bullies they are. But I didn’t have it in me so I let it go.
Then this morning I woke up and logged into Facebook, and read this.
Two people, an author and an artist, from the indie book community both pushed to a suicide attempt by people harassing and bullying them? This is beyond acceptable. This bullying in the community HAS to come to an end.
As you all know I lost a friend to suicide just two weeks ago and that is a feeling I will never recover from. I also know how it feels to want to take your life and to be led in that hospital bed having tried and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. One of my attempts was the result of bullying and for a person to make you feel like your life is not worth living is unbearable, to know that somebody has that much power over you is the most awful feeling in the world.
We, as a community, need to start fighting back, we need to start telling these people that this is not acceptable. We need to start calling people on this bullshit and telling them that they cannot speak to other people in this way. It’s time to start making it clear that we will not accept anything less than civility.
We have a good thing in the book community so let’s start protecting it and each other. If you have ideas on how we do this, what we can do to stop more authors, artists, bloggers, PA’s from being pushed to the edge then let’s hear it. Let’s talk about your experiences. The more we talk the less power these people have. Let’s name the people who are doing this and take away their power, encourage them to start having more respect for their fellow book lovers.
If people can’t show respect on blogs/in groups/on pages etc then maybe they need to be kicked off/out. Honestly, I don’t hold the answer to everything in my hands but maybe as a unit we do. There are far more of us who are kind, considerate, and understanding than participate in the bullying so we should be able to overcome this and work out a solution.
You all know how passionate I am about mental health, I can’t bear to see these people affecting people’s mental health like this any longer so we need to do something sooner rather than later.