It’s amazing the ways people respond sometimes. Fear. Such a powerful thing. For example, years and years ago when I was a child, some urban legend spread about needles and razor blades in Halloween Candy. Now, without adequate information, the public responded. Hospitals and police departments used x-ray and metal detectors to discern whether or not the little kiddos were safe. Fast forward 30 years, and to this very moment I still check my daughter’s candy.
Last week a seemingly innocent post went viral on Facebook. “Change your picture to a cartoon character and raise awareness for child abuse” or something to that point. Suddenly, like a wildfire of animation, Facebook lit up with colorful characters of our past and present. Superheros, cartoons, comics – they were all equally represented.
People posted about how happy they were to support the cause, or they spread the message. Great. Some people didn’t change a thing. Whatever.
And then, still others, had to jump on their high horses and spew about what nonsense it was because it didn’t actually help a child at all. Which led me to ponder. And I did think about it long and hard. These are the *same* people who will talk about the color of their bra or how they “like it” to raise Breast Cancer Awareness. Ok, really? Tell me what color your bra is or how you like it has anything to do with Breast Cancer Awareness? You what I like? I like it in a white lab coat in a fully funded research facility where an actual difference can be made. But, you know, that’s just me.
But sure. We draw awareness. Great. Hopefully at least one woman or two took the time to do a breast self-exam and knowing what color bra I wear saved her life. One can hope, at least.
Which leads me back to child abuse. Abuse is a CHOICE by the perpetrator. Cancer happens. Diabetes happens. Heart disease happens. Child Abuse is a choice to deliberately inflict harm onto another person. So yeah, I changed my damn picture and supported the movement.
Why? Because after a long day, and not enough healthy outlets, I got the crap beat out of me when I was young. It sucked. And the physical scars are long gone, but the emotional trauma remains. Had the perpetrator of my abuse seen something, that for one small minute, took her back to a place when she was happier and healthier, maybe she would have given me a reprieve for one night. Maybe, just maybe, those cartoon images gave some poor kid a break – for one minute. For one night.
And then, today, I see fear. “What? The whole thing was a scam by pedophiles to lure children into being their friend on Facebook!” Outrage! Anger! Disappointment. Mostly because we were all misled by criminals.
Of course, when you think about it, it could make sense. But then… really? Something went viral and was just started by a “group” of perverts to lure children to them. C’mon. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, does it? First off, I know that there are creeps out there. And I know that there are “groups” like that. But I highly doubt that any group that preys on the innocence and vulnerability of children would have the NERVE to start something in the hopes that it goes viral and children all over Facebook would be easier preyed upon. Not to mention that such bastards wouldn’t have the guts to draw attention to themselves. So, of course, I look to the site where all things from the internet get sorted out: Snopes. See the article here.
I supported the movement, as small and grassroots as it was. And I support the message behind it. Hey, abusers, you are in the wrong! Children, or anyone for that matter, don’t deserve to be hit. Not the way you are. And believe me, you’ll get what’s coming to you, in some fashion. The universe is perfect in just that way.
Think about how you’d feel, if you were that kid hiding in the dark. Maybe you wouldn’t care if Sally from Denver or Jackie from St. Louis has Scooby Doo as her profile picture. But, maybe that abuser does. And maybe that kid can sleep without pain or fear tonight.
I don’t care so much about those people who disagreed with the message or even the movement. I don’t think they are bad people. I know they aren’t. And they have every right in the world to question. As a matter of fact, please question. Question more things, more people. This is the bottom line: question reality. Question what you are told. But beware. Questioning can be a slippery slope that you slide down into fear and paranoia. And no one wants to be in that place.