marjaerwin: (Default)
[Revised Version]


Both are good things.

Each is a different thing.


Freedom of speech is the right to speak your mind without fear of punishment.

Governments and death squads have often violated this. Telecom monopolies can also violate this. Other corporations have too much power, but don’t usually have the same ways to violate this.

Unfortunately, American society still doesn't respect this for whistleblowers exposing government secrets, didn't for anti-war organizers condemning the draft (Schenk) didn't for union organizers until the government tried to use anti-Union and anti-left laws against the right (Brandenburg v. Ohio), and still doesn't for people laughing at Jeff Sessions.

Freedom of speech often extends to protesting against someone else’s speech.

Freedom of speech doesn’t generally extend to death threats, defamation, or fighting words. It is debatable whether it should extend to outing people, or deliberately forcing people to relive trauma. But any legal restrictions are more likely to protect the rulers and police spies than to protect the rest of the people.


Open discussion is the good practice of creating space for informed discussion of different viewpoints.

Unfortunately, American society gives a bigger mic to people with more power, or more money.

Furthermore, the limits of language give a bigger audience to people with more widespread experiences. Consider the stereotypical problem of a sighted person trying to explain color to a blind-from-birth person. It's not so different for a photosensitive sighted person trying to explain strobe symptoms to a non-photosensitive sighted person. Descriptions such as violence, and endangerment, may be taken as hyperbole, metaphor, or balderdash. Metaphors may also be taken as descriptions. I'm not sure it's easier for those of us who experience pain and loss of balance and direction at low frequencies to explain these to someone who experiences seizures at high frequencies either, or vice-versa.

A lot of times, on an issue-by-issue basis, it would make sense to give the biggest mic to people who are more affected by an issue, or are more knowledgable about it. But who decides? I wouldn’t trust any power structure to decide. Freedom of speech helps keep governmental power structures from deciding for the rest of us.

At the same time, death threats, defamation, outing people, or deliberately forcing people to relive trauma, can all keep people from speaking up. These undermine open discourse, and can violate freedom of speech. If individual platforms and individual groups adopt their own standards, these could protect people's ability to speak and participate.
marjaerwin: (Default)
When police fire tear gas and concussion grenades at protesters, that doesn’t mean the protesters were or are committing violence. It means the police are committing violence.

I wasn’t able to participate in today’s protests, due to my disabilities, but while peacefully protesting years ago, police attacked the group I was with, and someone knocked me to the ground, and police repeatedly sprayed pain into my eyes and mouth. Judging by photos of the beating, and bruises afterwards, they also beat me with an improvised club. I have severe asthma, and I could have died if it had gone down my throat instead of my esophagus. I don’t have epilepsy, but I had some kind of seizure due to the pain.

Blaming protesters is victim-blaming. Bullying survivors to try to figure out what we must have done to deserve the violence can be triggering for some of us with ptsd from this violence. It’s not right, factually or morally.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Seeing the following story on HuffPo, it seems a fifth-grader is facing criminal charges for bringing a knife to school to defend himself from bullying.

Seeing several comments which blame the victim, say he's making it up, or he deserves to be bullied or deserves to be jailed for defending himself are triggering.

I was bullied in school. I don't mean I was bullied once. I mean I was bullied every day, sexually harrassed, beaten several times, and beaten unconscious once.

I hardly ever told my parents, because I only ever mentioned anything when it was worse than usual. I eventually got some records which show one school was aware of some of the bullying and was in denial.

Maybe some of you just haven't experienced and can't imagine the cumulative toll that years of bullying can cause. I know some of you have mentioned fighting back. I was usually the shortest kid in class. I wasn't a pacifist at the time, but I was at a real disadvantage in any fight. I know a lot of people can't fight back, and the same things that keep them from defending themselves are often the same things that expose them to bullying.

No one should have to go someplace like that. No one should have to go someplace where they face attacks, where the school accepts the violence but punishes self-defense.
marjaerwin: (Default)
It's hard. Some beatings, some stuff I'd rather not talk about, a death in the family, and frequent reminders that I don't control my own life have sucked all the joy out of my own life.

P.S. I've had good days and bad in the past three weeks. I'm triggered now, but on the whole I'm doing better these days than I was then. I've got a better idea too, of what keeps bringing me back to the beatings, and the other stuff I've survived, and the fear. Maybe I can work through it after all. Maybe it will start getting better instead of worse.


Jan. 20th, 2012 06:57 pm
marjaerwin: (Default)
Was just talking about our experiences of being bullied. I started being bullied in first grade, and was continually bullied through twelfth grade. It is not something we all experience or something we all grow through. It's something that a few people never experience, and some people occasionally experience, and visibly-different people are likely to experience day after day and year after year. That can break you. But the most toxic thing is the pecking order. I learned I would suffer a little less bullying if I turned that bullying onto someone even more bullying. That was wrong. I wonder if it was the price of my survival.

Some teachers and administrators turned a blind eye to the bullying. Some punished the bullied and bullies alike. A few punished the bullied and encouraged the bullies.

What else bothers me is when people with political and religious influence support the bullying. They tell people that being different is 'immoral' and they forget that hurting people is the definition of immoral.
marjaerwin: (Default)
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Yes. Bullied, beaten, and emotionally abused in school for about 12 years. Bullied by other students, teachers, and administrators. Occasionally beaten since then. I got through it with post-traumatic stress responses.


marjaerwin: (Default)

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