Trolls, Fame and Blame : Helen Razer on Charlotte Dawson

Back in the mid to late nineties, I was relatively famous. Oh. I know.  I know. That’s a petty, unbecoming claim and one I would not dare to make were it not for the fact that it is both (a) true and (b) information necessary to the unfolding of this story.  A story, by-the-bye, that ends with me not being famous at all.  Obviously.

Stay with me, here.  I promise this story has a point which is neither me nor my yawning lack of fame! This story is about another girl.  We’ll get there.

When I was twenty-one, I landed the kind of job that exists more in teenage imaginations than it does in the actual world. I became a broadcaster on the ABC’s FM music station, Triple J.  A fan, a show-off and a chatterbox, I couldn’t have dreamt of a job more suited to my otherwise useless talents. I talked  non-stop about rock for a living.

Every life has its moment of perfect combustion; that white-hot time where you find yourself ideally suited to your environment and your era.  This was mine.  “Indie rock”, as we called it then, became immensely popular and so did the people associated with its dissemination.  So it was that a loud, frequently unpleasant and elitist young feminist who dressed EXACTLY like Courtney Love ended up in all the women’s mags and frequently drunk on television panel shows calling people “sexist”  and “racist” for no good reason.

Look, I’m certain I was annoying.  I was under-informed and over-exposed.  I fired ten-dollar words like bullets from my MAC-red mouth and I disagreed with everyone on principle.  I can say with some confidence that I would have found me annoying. People didn’t have social media as a means of critiquing the “top down” media back then so I get that some young people would have felt frustrated revulsion for this smart-arse apparently “representing” them and the music they loved. I get it.  I do.

But, I didn’t really “get” the jar of urine appended with the anonymous note “Die Slut” that arrived one day in the mail.  I didn’t really get that men I’d never met yelled at me to tell me that they wouldn’t find me worth raping.  I didn’t get that one stranger had a world view so shattered into pieces that all he could see was some luminous version of me.  The better known I became, the more brutal the attention became.  It reached its perverse acme with the stranger.

The stranger pursued me for months; maybe even a year.  He spent most of his days in and around my office waiting for a chance to hold me.  He was, as a doctor who had committed him to the psychiatric care from which he often fled told me, “delusional” and, as such, was utterly sure  in his belief that I was his wife. His wife, apparently, whom he had wed “in a special place”.  “A special place”! My life was beginning to feel like a cheesy daytime thriller.  Radio Horror: The Grunge Rock Stalker Story.

To cut a long story short, he broke out of the psych unit,  lied his way in to my workplace again and embraced me. I then lost my shit for some time.

Now, I’m not telling you this story to tap your sympathies.  First, on a global scale, my experience of harassment was quite manageable and, fourteen years later, I’m fine.  Second, I spent much of my late twenties in a very public posture of sympathy-tapping. I told My Story of My Stalker to magazines, newspapers and television programs.  Here’s a hint: if you want every over-50 you meet to look at you as though you’re walking pensively in a drift of meadow-grasses, DO agree, as I did, to appear on both Australian Story and Sixty Minutes. Otherwise, I can’t recommend the experience.

Picture: Craig Greenhill

I don’t like to recount this stuff.  Not the years of death threats, vicious insults or the very persistent, very unpredictable stalker.  Moreover, I don’t like to talk about the way I “dealt” with it. Or, rather, didn’t.  But I’m moved to talk about it all because of – here she is finally – that other girl.  I want to talk, in as much as I can, on behalf of Charlotte Dawson.

To be clear, I don’t know Ms Dawson more than the merest bit. I have interviewed her and once she gave me the number of a FABULOUS makeup artist but beyond this, I have neither knowledge of nor personal interest in her current fortunes.

What I do have, however, is an interest in compassion. I’d like to see people with a little more of it for Charlotte and I think I am uniquely placed to foster this understanding.  The criticisms I have noted of Charlotte in recent days are so similar to those I once heard.

The most insistent advice-slash-criticism Charlotte has been given is to “just ignore it”.  I remember this; in fact, I heeded it.  I did ignore the urine.  I did ignore the jibes about my lack of “rapability”. For months, acting on advice, I ignored the stalker.  Thanks to my studied ignorance, two things happened: First, I wound myself into a knot of fear from which it would take years to unfurl. Second, the police were annoyed that I’d let the situation fester.

Of course, the  credentialed psychologists who use the Internet (i.e.  busybodies) think that Charlotte should just “ignore the trolls”.  I’m afraid this makes me sarky and mean.

Is that the case, Dr Conflict-Resolution?  Was it years of study that led you to this conclusion?  What a shame that this view is not supported by anything but your very nosey nose.

When you’ve had your life upturned by violence or its threat, then come talk to me about ignoring it all. Trauma has its own logic.  Sure, Charlotte’s management of her tormentors may not have been executed according to the Psycho Handler’s Handbook.  But it wasn’t  particularly inflammatory.  She didn’t “ask” that threats be made against her life any more than I called up Curious Gifts and said “Send me a jar full of urine and a note that wishes for my death! Send it right away!”

The other common volley at Charlotte speeds along the lines of, “Well why doesn’t she just turn the computer off?”

Does anyone genuinely believe that a death threat – however it is uttered – can just be switched off? Even by a media-savvy, confident loudmouth bitch.

I was told a thousand times to forget about the stranger. To turn him off.  I couldn’t.  Before I could forget him, I needed to learn everything about him. I sought his name; his date of birth; any fragment that would help me make sense of a puzzle with me as its unfortunate clue.

I needed to stay vigilant. Or, my fighting animal did, at any rate. Certainly, there was no real point in me calling the police, my employers or the psychiatric unit where the stranger was held over and over again; it was like I was hitting “refresh” on a browser. I had to stay “connected” to the movements of my attacker. I thought. I was acting from instinct. I am certain Charlotte has felt a little like that in recent days.

There are other questions about Charlotte’s behaviour, too.  If she was legitimately anxious, why did she talk to media? If she is REALLY so cut up about a little thing like a death threat, then WHY does this “alleged incident” coincide with the launch of her book?

As for the latter question, I’d like to say WHAT THE EFF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Instead, I shall say that Dawson always has something to promote.  Of course, her hospitalisation was going to coincide with some professional obligation because she is a single woman who has worked without pause her entire adult life.  Furthermore, being of my vintage, Charlotte knows that “breakdown” and “stalker” publicity is that rare kind of bad publicity.  She’d only have to check my press clippings and subsequent disappearance from the media landscape to work than one out!

And to the former question, and all of them really, I’d say this: there is no correct way to respond to ugly, unsolicited threats. In fact,  if this had happened to you, you could very well find yourself in a corner throwing your own poo at passersby while singing the hits of Nicki Minaj.

Terror has its own logic.  I hope, in or out of the spotlight, you never have to learn its terms.

And I hope that somewhere the daughters that Charlotte and I never got around to having are preparing to enter a world where loudmouth ladies are just loudmouth ladies and not women who asked to be beaten down.

Readers seeking support should contact Lifeline – 13 11 14 and www.lifeline.org.au or Beyond Blue at www.beyondblue.org.au

 

Helen Razer is an occasional broadcaster, frequent writer and incessant yabber-pants. Follow her on twitter @HelenRazer or at Bad Hostess

 

More details about Charlotte Dawson’s harassment by Twitter trolls here.
Images via News.com.au

  • Ella

    Brilliant. Balanced and so well written.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.wong.948 Mary Wong

    Congratulations on your honesty and forthright approach to this topic…and to life in general. I remember you from the J’s and whilst you were loud and apt to throw the occasional inept remark, I enjoyed listening to you…and regardless of what you did – or what Charlotte did for that matter – nobody [yes NOBODY] deserves death or other threats! Sadly this world continues to degenerate where, for some reason, peopel think it necessary to knock the hardworkers and support the degenerates…where will this end???

  • Helen

    superb.

  • http://twitter.com/ruthbruten GourmetGirlfriend

    brilliant Helen.
    all of humanity could do with a bit more “Interest in Compassion” .
    yesterdays news just left me with heavy sighs and heavy shoulders…….

  • David

    Hi Helen, FireDilo here. That certainly makes thing crystal clear. Just one little thing in my defense – I was bullied through the entirety of high school and have been since in the workplace. So I understand what it feels like and how impossible it is to ignore in person. I’ve also spent years watching the trolls where they live, in their dark corners of the internet. There’s no humanity there to appeal to. So even though I have experienced it first hand and studied trolls for years I haven’t been able to come up with a solution other than not empowering them by ignoring and blocking them.
    The last thing I wanted was to make victims of bullying responsible for what happens to them. Of course this is the fault of trolls and not the victims, any other inference would be adding to the attack on the victim. I’ve been a victim and understand that’s far worse than the original trolling. Its an insult!
    I keep coming back to the fact that good, thoughtful, just people are trying to appeal to any morality, humanity, social conscience or empathy in the trolls and it just isn’t there. Some of the things I’ve witnessed in those dark places were abhorrent examples of how low people can go. I saw no humanity there.
    Signed Frustrated of Internets

  • http://www.edenriley.com/ edenland

    YES. “Terror has its own logic.”

    I’ve no idea what it felt like when the digital wordstorm of bile and vitriol washed over Charlotte the other night, so I can’t make assumptions on how she should have handled it.

    It’s worrying that there’s no easy fix for this. The online culture that my kids are growing up in really scares me. To simply shrug and say, haters gonna hate … it’s not good enough. I know my way around a keyboard very well, but I feel powerless about this. Sucks.

  • KateB

    Thank you Helen for sharing your own experienc. To be the focus of such a sustained and terrifying campaign of hate that both you and Charlotte have been subjected is a most terrible thing
    I am so grateful that you were both so courageous in finding your voice to expose these vile creatures

  • Lisa Barton-Collins

    Truth, well spoken. Nobody deserves threats of death or violence, and advice to ignore it is just dangerous bullshit.
    I loved listening to to you and Mikey Robbins every morning on the way to work. My boyfriend and I used to laugh our arses off, it was a great start to the day.
    xx

  • darrenrowse

    Thanks for a great post Helen.

    I personally don’t know the answer to this type of hatred but think about it often.

    I’ve had my fair share of it over the years from small segments of the interwebs and each time was so different an called for different responses.

    On occasions I ignored (don’t feed the trolls), on others I responded over politely (killed with kindness), on others I allowed others to defend, on others I publicly shamed/exposed.

    Each tactic worked to some extent in some circumstances while on others they backfired.

    Probably the best ‘tactic’ was to spend time building and relying upon real world relationships with people who I valued and whose opinion of me really mattered and to work on my own internal feelings of self worth.

    The trap that many of us fall in is to allow others to tell us who we are and how worthwhile we are – this is dangerous on two fronts – we can end up believing we’re worthless when the hatred comes or can end up with inflated egos (when the praise and rockstar treatment comes our way).

    Working on having a grounded but loving ‘real life’ network of people around us is the only real thing that’s kept me sane through the ups and downs of my virtual reality.

    • Nicole Humphries

      It’s refreshing to see an educated, well thought out reply Darren, you are obviously a man who has commited precious hours to developing ‘real’ relationships which in turn, I am surmising, would have helped you put the ‘other crap’ into perspective.

  • Bianca Wordley

    Helen, Once again you’ve written with such clarity on a topic that’s been muddied over recent days. I remember getting deaths threats after writing about a well known mafia connected developer. They were “just” threats, but difficult to ignore. It’s impossible to, because somewhere in the back of your mind while you sit alone with your thoughts you wonder – what if they’re not threats, but intentions. Pack mentality online scares me. My thoughts are with Charlotte and others being attacked x

  • Reannon Hope

    Last night my 12 year old came & asked me for the 100th time if he could open a Facebook account. My reflex response was no but then Tim says let’s sit & talk it over- WTF?! So we sat with him & talked about why he wants it, the bad things that can happen & I was surprised at how clued up he was. It was decided that he can have Facebook ( with conditions ) & I am worried as hell !!!!
    My boy is good, he knows wrong from right & above all is still really innocent. I’m not worried about him doing the wrong thing online I’m worried about those people who get a sick kick out making people’s lives a misery. Those people who sit behind a screen & stalk & throw words out there without thinking of the harm they cause. When I read about a strong grown up woman being attacked for little more than living her life & sharing her views with the world it makes me worry for my boy even more. I hope he never has to deal terror, never has to try & make sense of it or play on its terms. In the meantime we prepare for the worst while hoping for the best……

  • http://twitter.com/Rachkln Rach – Mummy Muddles

    Brilliantly said Helen. What upsets me is why these people spread hatred without any sort of compassion or concern of the aftermath? You can disagree with someone, but why can’t you do it respectfully, with civility? Is it the ‘power’ of making someone feel so awful? I guess I’ll never understand it and it makes me frightened thinking of the world my four little ones are entering (particularly my fragile pre-pubescent girls). I agree with Eden, I feel powerless and it really does suck.

  • Mel

    I love your writing Helen. I knew before I opened the link on facebook that it would be a more interesting take on the Charlotte Dawson story than I’d find anywhere else.
    It’s a funny old world we live in where, under the cover of anonymity, people can put so much energy into trying to rip others to shreds. And the kind of hatred reserved for women on the internet is frankly terrifying. The massive social media hate campaigns that have gone to people like Rebecca Black, Yumi Stynes, Samantha Brick – yuck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ramona.barry1 Ramona Barry

    Ive been so conflicted about this Charlotte Dawson thing because she always seemed like a bit of a bully herself. When I heard shed been hospitalised I must admit to being cynical. Helen I have to tell you your position is a compelling and a convincing one – and i feel a little ashamed for my initial reaction.

  • weebirdy

    “Terror has its own logic” – spot on, Helen.

    I don’t get all the “play passive” advice, either. It’s hardly effective or realistic.

    Three cheers for loud-mouthed ladies! Long may they live.

  • linda

    Am sad that that things come to this pass and i feel for your passed traumas and for Charlottes very real present traumas. Abuse whether it be physical or mental is still abuse and trolling is quite a nasty form of it. I wish you both the best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/meredith.ogrady Meredith O’Grady

    I love your intelligence Helen Razer xxx I’m a better person for reading this article, thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/smiffys4 Sharon Smith

    Well said, Helen. Working in the media I’ve had stalkers too, although nothing on the scale of what you’ve had to endure. It made me retreat so far into myself I was too scared to speak my own thoughts or feelings in public for fear of criticism. Not any more. I feel for Charlotte but I also fear for the future. This has to stop, though legislating it away isn’t the answer. Discussions like this on forums like this are a start.

  • http://www.katesaysstuff.com katesaysstuff

    I live in a little bubble world where I tend to assume positive intent in people. I stumbled over Charlotte’s Twitter account last night and was struck dumb by the hatred and vitriol that had happened there.

    I do not know where the answer lies, or if there even is one. But I do know that I was revulsed by what I saw, and it hurt my heart so badly for Charlotte and for the world we live in that people feel they can spew such bile at another human being. I liked it better in my bubble.

  • http://twitter.com/RachaelLonergan Rachael Lonergan

    Well said Helen. I had a troll latch on to me on Twitter so I blocked him/her as ‘the experts’ recommend and the next thing I knew the same anonymous douchebag had gone out of their way to send me threatening messages on Facebook. They made the point they could always find me. And I’m not a public personality either…just a person who uses their real name and has opinions. There’s a few ‘experts’ tsk, tsking over Charlotte’s response to her situation and in my opinion, their agenda is largely to increase their own social and mainstream media reach. Ironically, generating attention to themselves their main game, not unlike trolls.

  • http://twitter.com/Libstarh Libby Harpham

    As one of those who loved you and grew with you in the mid to late 90s; sure there were days I would swear at you on the radio (in the car on the way to work) and sure there were days Id think WTF are you on today. But there were so many more that not only myself but many other 20 somethings (and more) were inspired and at times moved by you. When you first dissappeard off the air and out of sight my thoughts were you were making a stand, saying “well if you cant play nicely then everyone misses out” type of thing. Its not until I have read what you wrote about Charlotte that I truely realise how wrong I was. Whether in the media or not you never know what is going on inside of a person, that what you say might be the straw that broke the camels back, that you might just open up the wound that has been hidden so deep inside of a person. Do we need to put Valium in the water supply so everyone just calms the EFF down. I think there is far too much hating and negative “die bitch” type of comments out there these days. Whatever hapened to informed debate. Really is this the best these people can come up with??? What no “I think you are a vacuous person because …” comments, people need to take a good hard look at themselves and if they want to have their opinion, which everyone is entitled to, then do it in a constructive way not a destructive one. Thank you for sharing Helen I am still inspired by you and love your work xo

  • http://twitter.com/Libstarh Libby Harpham

    Helen as one of those who loved you and grew with you in the mid to late 90s; sure there were days I would swear at you on the radio (in the car on the way to work) and sure there were days Id think WTF are you on today. But there were so many more that not only myself but many other 20 somethings (and more) were inspired and at times moved by you. When you first dissappeard off the air and out of sight my thoughts were you were making a stand, saying “well if you cant play nicely then everyone misses out” type of thing. Its not until I have read what you wrote about Charlotte that I truely realise how wrong I was. Whether in the media or not you never know what is going on inside of a person, that what you say might be the straw that broke the camels back, that you might just open up the wound that has been hidden so deep inside of a person. Do we need to put Valium in the water supply so everyone just calms the EFF down. I think there is far too much hating and negative “die bitch” type of comments out there these days. Whatever hapened to informed debate. Really is this the best these people can come up with??? What no “I think you are a vacuous person because …” comments, people need to take a good hard look at themselves and if they want to have their opinion, which everyone is entitled to, then do it in a constructive way not a destructive one. Thank you for sharing Helen I am still inspired by you and love your work xo

  • Cate

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write about your experience and your thoughts about Charlotte Dawson and her experiences, Helen. My thoughts are very much with you both and I’m struggling to work out what exactly i want to say. I read your piece this morning, then went and had lunch and have been thinking about it all.

    Being in the public eye is no excuse for the level of misogyny of violent threats you both have been subjected to. No one gets paid enough at work to be subjected to any kind of violence and for many us of the internet is very much a work space.

    I’ve noticed with interest the repeated plaintive cry about how people bullied over the internet should just log off or delete their account. Whilst such comments may be intended to reduce harm, they do lean towards victim blaming and obscure the complex realities of lifestyles and occupations which require accessibility and public personas of a sort. When the internet is part of a marketing package that ensures that one stays in employment, logging off is not always an option (nor finding another career).

    I have to admit to being in awe of Charlotte’s actions to abuse- calling the main bully by phone and contacting her employer. I worked in Universities for ten years in advocacy and was at times horrified by the bullying and sexual harassment pertuated by people in positions of power who would at times, simply receive a warning, then move to another institution.

    Can I also say I’d really like to see cyber bullies pulled up on their language and the threats of violence associated? Threatening people with rape and suicide is just evil and should constitute an act of violence in itself, anonymous or otherwise. I’ve been feeling particularly sick about the comments about hanging, my twin brother David committed suicide through this method a few years ago. The pain never goes away and it is not something I would ever wish on anyone, ever.

  • Julie

    Great article Helen – I loved you back in the JJJ’s day and still do – you nailed it.

  • http://www.easypeasykids.com.au/ Easy Peasy Kids

    Working with behaviour this is an area which is unfortunately increasing at an alarming rate. The bravado behind a screen fuels the venom. They need help.
    There seems to be no empathy, no looking at the bigger picture and things taken out of context far too often. I run a small blog, yet that too sees pretty foul comments and the odd anions like to email me fairly horrendous stuff. At first it shocked me and really worried me, now I click delete and hope the find someone that may be able to assist them.

  • Karen

    The only balanced, well written piece on this topic. It makes me realise that while i thought Charlottes actions/provocations to her attackers we’re initially stupid- she probably had no idea on how to actually deal with it properly herself. Being old does not automatically equip you with life’s skills.

    Stay strong Charlotte.

  • http://twitter.com/Steve_Lockstep Stephen Wilson

    Brilliant.

  • Jo Sommers

    Great post! I’m both laughing and crying at the same time. Listened to you like a (sane) fan throughout my teen years. Loved Hour of Power! Rock on.

  • Mrs Woog

    Thank you Helen xx

  • http://www.nomadiquemc.com/ nomadiqueMC

    thanks Helen – i know that in my disaffected, headbanging, Canberra-borne adolescence your presence in my life, through the airwaves of TripleJ, was of great importance to me. i enjoyed your words then as much as i do now. so when you ‘disappeared’ from the spotlight you were sorely missed by people like me – despite, as you have described above, us not knowing you from the proverbial grain of salt.

    the point here being that right now there are people missing Charlotte’s words and presence in their lives, whether through Twitter or more directly. so for you to stand up for her, with this brave post but also with your own tweets in the intervening days means a great deal to me, and to many others, of that i have no doubt.

    bravo.

    • RuralNSW

      Great post Helen and, as a teenager growing up in country NSW in the 90s, I can relate to the central role you and many of the other Triple J hosts had in the lives of a lot of people. I’m sure you hear it pretty regularly but as NomadiqueMC said, you were a very important and fondly remembered part of my teenage years and those of my friends. When we got Triple J a whole new world opened up, populated by you, Mikey, Sandman, Robbie, Francis (I miss the 3 hours of power), Roy and HG, Judith Lucy, Paul McDermott, Adam and Wil… Now that I’m a thirty something 702 listener it’s nice to hear voices like Adam, Robbie and Angela Catterns on the radio, but I don’t think my life will ever revolve around the wireless like it did through those years. Thanks so much.

  • Frank

    so charlotte should have forwarded the tweets to the police? who are on twitter too to do what nothing? if the threats are in person offline than you have avenues to go down, there is no clear way to report inappropriate or abusive tweets unlike Facebook where you can report comments, pages and posts. It is up to Twitter (the company) to provide the ability to exclude or report users who send offensive or persistantly threatening users..

  • http://twitter.com/thriftymamatas Jessie Reid

    I went through puberty listening to Helen and Mikey and the the Ladies Lounge- Helen Razer was a big part of my cultural experience and I remember distinctly the stalker incident/a, weirdly I remember an acquaintance of mine (and his- it was Canberra- it is like that) explaining to me that he genuinely loved you and I still remember the sort of horrified chill that crept through me when I heard his actions defended. Yes when you are a public figure there will be idiots and mentally ill people thinking the worst and wishing the worst for you- even if you are not being loud mouth, brash individual- I see people leaving vitriolic comments about Miranda Kerr and Michelle Obama FFS. I had never heard of Charlotte Dawson until this incident but I am horrified that people genuinely might think that it is some publicity generating stunt…

  • Barbara Fisher

    Brilliant.

  • Gerard

    Hi Helen, thanks for writing this. I wish I could give my support to Charlotte publicly on twitter, but I myself am afraid of getting abused by her haters just for showing support. Sad.
    By the way, I remember you from the 90s and always thought you were good for a laugh on whatever tv show or radio station you were on.

  • Rachael

    I think it’s sad that many loud mouthed opinionated women (of which I am one) have little choice but to hide their identity or avoid voicing their opinions for fear of being bullied, stalked or worse. It’s wrong, but self preservation is the only way (for me)…and why I got out of the blog game long ago, and use pseudonyms for Twitter. I truly despair at some of the things I read…abuses which would never if ever be directed face to face with a person…to know people think in the ways they do or would speak to a fellow human being that way is horrifying.

    I can only hope that the law and technology will collide in a way that exposes the vile bullies who hide on the Internet.

  • Bethany

    Bravo, Helen, well said. Thank you for including Lifeline’s 24/7 contact number – so important for topics such as this.

  • Akyrah Storm

    Let’s put things into perspective a bit… Charlotte recieved 1 tweet from a young man who had less than 80 followers… it was retweeted by very few of his followers because quite frankly they are young and probably don’t give a hoot who she is… She then CHOSE to retweet that message to her 22k and THAT is how this whole mess began… she replied to him “maybe I should” and then allowed him to be attacked viciously by her followers and only weighed into the conversation when it was advantageous for her… the person who she complained about hadn’t even sent one single tweet to Ms Dawson abusive or otherwise… and the highly inapproprite comment she did make she apologised for to the fellow user directly
    Charlotte then went ahead and made a complaint – which is everyone’s right, which was dealt with and she recieved a response to say as much… keep in mind this happened all about a month ago (maybe three weeks)… she then made a calculated move to ‘expose’ the troll in the media in a promotional tour of various tv and radio and was inadvertantly was set upon by some very real and very nasty trolls…
    I do have a measure of sympathy for Charlotte but she really needs to have some accountability in all this. She complained about the troll, addressed the troll personally and was assured that it would not happed again… yet she persisted – for whose benefit? who knows… now an ordinary woman’s job apparently hangs in the balance after being villified in the media and another woman is on the brink of a nervous breakdown, this is what happens when you try to stem bullying with bullying…
    The sentiment was there Charlotte the execution poor.

    • Nikki

      I have to agree, Charlotte Dawson is and always has been a bully. I personally believe she’s used the media to her own advantage for her own gain (in this instance) and to hell with who you trod on in the process… She’s not a very nice person…and quite frankly, Karma Charlotte…you live by the nasty you receive the nasty…..

  • Debyl1

    Love your raw open honesty.x

  • Caz

    Helen, you used to be a legend, not just “relatively famous”.

  • Sam

    I’m sorry, Helen, I do not agree.

    There is a substantial difference between what happened to you (a wilful, planned and sustained campaign of stalking) and what happened to Charlotte Dawson (a fetid pile of insults and throwaway lines, posted effortlessly and anonymously by Internet weirdos). To compare the two – other than to say that they were both wrong and both undeserved – is utter nonsense.

    Further to this, I’m not convinced that Dawson has actually been subject to death threats, by the strictest meaning of the term. “I am coming for you tonight at your address” is a death threat. “I hope you die” is an insult; a particularly malicious and hurtful one, but an insult nonetheless. It wouldn’t stand in any court, criminal or civil, as a threat bearing either motive or intent.

    The Internet is full of poisonous and objectionable personalities, that is a known fact. If you linger too long in their world, you’ll either get hurt or you’ll become one yourself.

    • Dangerdame

      I agree with you, Sam. There is no legitimate comparison here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.sholly Fiona Sholly

    This is the most important story you have ever written and shared with us so thank you. And so well written it is. I have friends who are are as beautiful as Charlotte and people forget they are still people. I am now going to refer to very attractive people, like Charlotte as “”the beautiful”".

    Strangers think that because you are a model, you have everything under control and perfectly happy with your life. Mums won’t talk to beautiful mums at pickup from school because they think that they are up themselves….
    Dads aren’t allowed to talk to them just in case.

    People are scared of ;;the beautiful;; so they don’t talk to them. Therefore the beautiful are often lonely… The beautiful therefore have to work harder than everyone else. How often do you see “”not only is she beautiful but she has a double master degree in medicine.”"

    When people hit out at “”the beautiful” they see them as fair game. They think that their life is perfect so they can cope with nasty. They can no more cope with nasty than you or I.

    Just like you, they look in the mirror and say I wish my nose was smaller; my tummy flatter… They are just people.

    I happen to like Charlotte Dawson; I have watched her on television, nurturing and mothering young models. I like her style; I think she has her head on straight and I would not mind her giving advice to my daughter.

    Those mean people who are hiding in their kitchen posting mean stuff about people that they don’t even know are a real worry.

    So if you can’t say anything nice and you still choose to do so, you need to be arrested and taken before the courts and charged.

  • caronnect

    Well written! Hooray for loudmouth ladies. So so true: “.. there is no correct day to respond to ugly, unsolicited threats”.

  • TIBC

    If Charlotte Dawson is so worried about death threats, why did she make one of her own?

  • philip

    Helen, people may say all kinds of things about you but what they can’t deny is that you can write. Go well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JacquelineAnnMcMillan Jackie McMillan

    Great job Helen, thank you for speaking out on the bullshit harassment that women in power experience. As if to illustrate your point, Alan Jones claims today that we’re destroying the place. Keep rattling the cage! And who said sisterhood was dead? XX

  • TIBC

    Oh I see, you only wanted comments patting you on the back.

  • Mairanya

    Whatever Charlotte said or did or whatever motives some might attribute to her, unless you saw the attack it would be impossible to fully understand its magnitude. The tweet response was beyond anything anyone could imagine. The worst offenders have been removed so you can’t see now, but apart from 100s of vicious messages creating a ‘trend’ saying she should kill herself, there were the sickest and most seriously disturbing pictures I’ve ever seen. Thanks for the thought-provoking piece and also the comments.

  • http://twitter.com/theredwitch The Red Witch

    This is brilliant! I love you yabber-pants. Relief. Now I know it’s hypenated.

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  • Fiona Lake

    Interesting that for a number of years we’ve had increasing numbers of ‘comedians’ who earn a crust by trotting out ‘jokes’ that are just basically nasty comments about other people – public figures such as politicians, sports people etc; and ‘types’ of people – such as ‘bogans’. Now, for the first time, the hoi-polloi ‘audience’ has a means of replying & voicing their displeasure – instantly, and to a wide audience, via Twitter & online. I do not condone vicious behaviour but it’s high time that people in the media & entertainment industry accepted that HELLO! communication is no longer just one-way, and accepted responsibility for their own nastiness, which has fostered a belief amongst some people that it’s ok to behave to be as mean as you like if it gets a laugh. There’s been much talk about ‘anonymous trolls’. Is it really much worse for someone who is anonymous to make a nasty comment, than someone who is clearly identifiable & high profile? It could be argued that the latter is far worse because for starters, far more people hear the comment and far more are more likely to be influenced by the view, as it’s come from someone well known (unfortunately).
    Also – about time that posting comments on forums, blogs etc can only be made by people verifying their identity & not given the option of ‘Pick a Name’ as this one does.

    • James Shaw

      Excellent response. Exactly what I was thinking as although the behaviour of the trolls in this instance is disgusting, I have seen Charlotte tweet some very, very nasty comments including telling someone to kill themself. She really is not a nice person and I cant sympathise with a nasty person like that, when they are really just getting what they have given out for so long.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.g.obrien Sharon G O’Brien

        That is incorrect. Charlotte Dawson, whom I follow, has RE-tweeted troll comments on people hanging themselves. She herself has never expressed that opinion. Would you care to post the exact tweet? Thought not.
        I notice you’re a male too James. You’re not part of the problem by any chance are you?

    • raine

      At least in the instance of someone high profile making a comment they have to stand up and do so under their own name and subject to whatever backlash ensues, and that takes guts. any one of us can say whatever the hell we feel like under a fake name with no responsibility or ownership, just because we feel like it in the moment. i dont know about you, but i think a lot more carefully about what i post on facebook under my own name than a knee jerk response i might make to someone on an anonmous post. the kind of “nasty comments” you refer to are rarely of the threatening or straight out disgusting deluge variety of anonymous trolls.

  • Guest

    Helen you were an absolute legend (still are)!! I LOVED listening to you during my late teens and early twenties, the bits that made me scream with laughter, and the bits that made me cringe. Pure gold.

    Since when did we have to only hear or read things we agree with? And when we don’t agree, when did it become OK to abuse and hurt in response? Whatever to happened to responses brimming with wit, intelligence and importantly civility?

    Great article Helen, I admire you and wish you well.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/lluchetti1 Lisa Luchetti

    I know you were famous Helen :-) and you still are to 44 year old me. I loved listening to you guys in the morning on the way to work. In fact you are the reason I changed over to Triple J. Famous or no, everyone deserves their privacy. Computers are amazingly powerful when put to good use and that’s what I love about their clicky little keys. Folk just need to remember that whether we are in the spotlight or watching the spotlight, we all need positive reinforcement.

  • Susan

    Copy from post I just left on Punch (a piece that included a quote from you). Mark Rolls posed that suggesting people switch off their computers and walk away is ignorant:

    Don’t agree with you Mark Rolls. That smacks of choosing to become a victim. It’s not ignorant and it does help. I know people who feel literally sick in the stomach because they spend so much time in social media…and the only remedy for that sick feeling…switch off and switch your head off from the space. When you disengage from a bad time online…and it might take up to a week for some people…it is amazing how free your brain feels and how back-in-perspective online life is.

    I don’t agree with Helen Razor either and let us not forget that most of us at some time or another have been harassed by trolls. Helen saying she is driven to find out all she can about them is part of the obsession and inability to let go. I’ve experienced it myself.

    I wrote a PhD on life online years ago so it’s not just a contemporary 2012 issue. You got NO sympathy ten years ago if you were distressed by trolls.

    Anyone who knows social media could have told Charlotte in a heartbeat that most of those Tweets were from accounts set-up to target her. The whole “you win” and even the demeanour in which many have written within since the event suggests some writers see this as a battle…a power game…a win or lose game. If you see it as a power game your mindset needs adjustment.

    Like anything psychological…you can’t change the behaviour of others..only your own. Why so many ‘experts’ are flying in the face of this sage advice now, I do not know. You must switch off otherwise you are like all those current Big Brother viewers from the western states complaining about the show giving away spoilers before they get to see what’s happening for themselves. People are saying to them over and over..switch off…Unlike the page..be responsible for yourself. But no, they want the world to change for them. That won’t happen.

  • Susan

    I do want to add that my post shouldn’t be read as lacking in sympathy for Charlotte. I am very sympathetic but I am concerned about all the advice pouring in from writers suggesting that people must win some war against trolls. I consider that poor advice. An IOC member came out during the Olympics and suggested athletes attending to their social media accounts performed less than those who kept away. I believe that to be absolutely correct. As said, you can’t change the behaviour and mindsets of others, but you can change your own. Even the assumption that all the trolls were mostly women is just an assumption. You are trying to pin down the unfathomable…to make sense of a ball yarns worth of air and harassment. Look at yourself…that’s where the ultimate solution lies.

  • Susan

    Btw, Charlotte herself has told people to ‘die’ in social media. I notice no-one is pointing this out so far…so Helen..is this acceptable to you? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10804912

  • Athina McMahon

    Beautifully said, honestly spoken….it never ceases to amaze me how people can judge when they have never walked in anothers shoes. Compassion, empathy and a little understanding….a little goes such a long way and can be incredibly healing and powerful. There are many aspects to someones life- stories which could be told a myriad of ways- but lets never discount the feelings associated with a story being told from the heart, because it is not our heart, and therefore not our place to judge. Nice to see someone advocating on Charlotte’s behalf. Congrats to you.

    • lola

      This coming from someone not opposed to bullying almost anyone in her like past and present?? Stupid comment

  • http://www.facebook.com/LordJackWinkler Jack Winkler

    I really, really, really would like to have some alone time with each and every one of these bullies. It may not be the proper, or the humane, way to react, but I think an ass whooping would do these trolls good.

  • mark

    Looks like I’m alone here, Helen but I’m not one of the cheer-squad who think “you’ve nailed it”, to use the hackneyed buzzwords of the Master Chef and X-Factor crowd.

    I think you missed the mark. What you concertedly try to enforce is that the physical manifestations of dislike you experienced are the same as the messages CD chose to receive by keeping her account open. As you try to equate physical intimidation (and sickness) to written taunts, which as far as we know have gone no further and I suggest will not, you also seek to absolve CD from any responsibility and make her out to be the victim of a terror campaign. Sure, you somewhat indirectly call her a bitch because you believe being edgy in a contrived manner somehow balances your argument but this is not the case.

    Having never heard of CD before this tempest, What I see is a silly girl who by misadventure and a severe lack of good judgement e.g., re-tweeting vitriol or denigrating others online (some elementary research shows that the bullied champion of the bullied is also … a bully) has painted a big virtual target on her big virtual ego and the pranksters of the Internet have had a field day with it.

    You (and your readers) don’t understand that for these “trolls”, this is just a diversion, a little
    game and that they don’t really care about CD one
    way or the other. This is just a short term thing before the next target wanders along and starts making a fuss that is enough to prick their pointy green ears. They don’t know CD, nor do they want to – care factor zero so to speak. They don’t care a lick about her work ethic or any good she’s done. All that matters is having a good time (or for many even just an interesting time suffices) at her expense – particularly at the expense of her ego.

    A celebrity who is putting their ego out there when they tweet, blog and use the Internet as a soapbox must realise that social media is a two way venture and one’s celebrity status, followers (or sycophants as the case may be) do not actually make one’s opinions more valid or one anymore shielded from scrutiny and attack than their obscure contemporaries.

    I imagine that you and (from reading the comments about the graveness of word/phrase being tweeted) others think that behind the keyboards of the perpetrators are indeed people with chronic mental problems that like your stalker are clinically delusional or who are ravenous hate mongers with acute anger management issues. It isn’t any where neat the majority case.

    What there are a disinterested office workers, the unemployed, students, kids etc and lots of shut-ins sitting there with one arm on the desk propping their cheek while the other lazily types in the barbs that are so much ado about nothing. Does this make the comments less acidic? No. Is it made right? Of course not. But as the media cycle moves on so will the trolls because this affair is just the flavour of the day.

    Despite being on twitter and having a blog etc, you’re a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to this and I can see the subtext of your comparison narrative: “how and why can people do these things online”. You suggest they can’t or shouldn’t because of your “real world” experiences but this does not equate to the comings and goings of all virtual spaces under current practices (legal, social and technical).

    Despite your online savvy, you’re still in quite a confined area of the sandbox and unaware that that the Internet is the quintessential playground to a very very large number of people. It is also a great social equaliser but _only_ online. That is, when you climb into said box of silicon and go (virtual) face to face with the masses you must be ready for these people to say whatever they want to you good, bad or vile. The comments affirm that your readers cannot comprehend why this is so either – why people are not being constructive or civil on the Internet. It is simply because they DON’T have to be. They exercise their (assumed) freedom indiscriminately and unlike a real life or even an Internet forum, there are no mods, and no referees. You are it.

    As the kids say, deal with it (at least until legislation and the ability to police it globally say otherwise).

    The thing is though, when you climb out of the sandpit it’s business as normal. Caste and class rules apply and the law’s more readily enforced. I put it to you that CD choose to get hurt by not exiting the sandbox as a reasonable adult would when faced with unreasonable TEXTUAL assault. She has reaped what her poor decision-making up to and beyond the central incidents has sown.

    Helen, you certainly don’t have the full story regarding the flaming, however, the article title was spot on (well a third of it). These Internet malcontents who when offline are likely pretty ordinary/nondescript people are just Net trolls, and trolls will do as they do and try to get a rise out of someone for the sake of amusement _particularly_ if that individual is grandstanding or acting even a little hypocritical, making them an easy mark.

    What we have is one sad soul who took up the troll’s mantle and rather than ignore this person, CD pursued them, and then pursued them once again to their place of work resulting in the rest of the clan coming out in force now that they’ve spotted a new “lolcow to milk”.

    Much like the way these albeit loosely coordinated “operations” (are you aware there are organised groups involved?) commence, they will cease just as quickly if CD stops holding their interest. So how does she do this?

    You suggest this is not possible because of your experience and truly you could not see the mail before the postman delivered it and you were not to know there was a jar of urine therein. Similarly, you could not prevent the mentally ill person turning up arbitrarily at your work.

    Yet CD can prevent the virtual mail-man. She is the gatekeeper of her online accounts, she can pull the plug or censure access and not one virtual jar of urine will get to her. She can switch off the computer and no crazy message will she see if she doesn’t goo looking for it. But instead, she continued to play stupid games with bored people whose numbers and time to idle away is beyond hers and she got burned. Especially when she decided to do some stalking of her own and call a workplace over a personal matter.

    I don’t care for the troll gangs but I don’t really care for CD’s childish behavior either. It is regrettable she got hurt due to what might be summed up as “Internet naivety” but the onslaught won’t be sustained and already the troll attention span is waning.

    That piece of advice though, when people say, “don’t feed the trolls” – it’s not some kitschy Facebook-era platitude. It’s a saying as old as the Internet and tested in fire. If you’re putting yourself out there on the Net and have something to lose like your credibility, you better start living it and be the “bigger” adult.

    It’s not right but it’s the way it is.

    • Jaq

      Wow, what a remarkably *long* response. Must be hard Mark, being the only person who sees things clearly… Hard to be you.

  • Trav

    Brilliant Helen, absolutely brilliant.

  • davidG

    Very good Helen. I had been thinking about you (in a good way) when reading the story about Charlotte Dawson. The parallels are there.
    I remember Helen Razer on JJJ. Occasional pain in the tits but I kept listening. I still would, there was one band you use to bang on about all the time, can’t quite remember them. Age has its advantages. :)

  • Anne

    Helen, You are a legend. I loved listening toTriple J back then – you were one of their very best. Still famous! Great article – thanks. Some people just need to be informed, and you’re the perfect person to shed a bit of compassionate light.
    Cheers! xo

  • Regedar Belcher

    Love your work, Helen. Been a fan of yours since the early 1990s, on the J’s and in the The Big Issue. You write so eloquently.

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  • Another perspective

    I would like to raise an issue about why we are hearing so much about this trolling issue – and I think it is quite simple. I would also like to go on the record to say that trolling is annoying. I would also like to state that trolling is, was and forever shall be a thing (an entity, an idea) that was created by folkds less than the age of 25 (and so can’t help but feel a twinge of embarrassment when I hear 50 something journalists talking about it as though they understand it). But I digress.
    The reason we are hearing so much is because Twitter is an entity used not by everyone, but by a few. Who are those few? Journalists, celebrities, and influential people – and of course trolls who find it fun to mess with this silly device. It’s that simple, the coverage of the trolling issue is so huge because journalists (I would imagine the overwhelming majority of them, bloggers and opinionists included – and honestly what is the difference these days?) are always on Twitter.
    This leads me to my final point in this illogical argument. Why should I (and by “I” I refer to myself and the general (unfamous, non-journalist, non-influential) public)) care about these people and the fact that they have created a platform where people can anything to them in complete anonymity. Do you honestly think that if I started a webpage tomorrow that said, I am Blah Blah and I am awesome and famous I wouldn’t be besieged with vitriol. Of course I would, that is the nature of the web. If you invite people into your home, some of them are going to get angry. I just know that what I would do is shut down my page and go, oh well, the web is a bit of a nasty place sometimes.
    I wouldn’t go crying to the media, the police, and anyone else about wo is me I haven’t been hurt by sticks and stones, but words certainly hurt me (not even words said to my face mind you, just text) – yes that’s it – text hurts.

    • Craig Sheppard

      Yes, that is another perspective, but I have to say a ridiculous one. Why should the web be any different from larger society? Why don’t the rules apply there?

      Why should you care? These ‘people’ that you talk so dismissively of, are people. They are to some extent a persona, but they are still people and don’t deserve the sort of hate that can be dished out at them. Look, I think ‘fashion’ is one of the most time and resource wasting vacuous pieces of rubbish on the planet. Charlotte Dawson, as one of it’s champions, I don’t get, wouldn’t follow and wouldn’t pay attention to. That’s as far as my ‘hate’ (it’s not in fact hate, but extreme disinterest) goes. Would I abuse her on the street or on the web? No. She doesn’t deserve it and that’s not the way society does or should function. Dawson hasn’t done anything to damage society, she hasn’t killed anyone, she hasn’t advocated eugenics, why such extreme hatred?

      I don’t know if she handled it correctly, I don’t know if Robbie Farah’s threats were appropriate, but I have never been on the receiving end of an orchestrated campaign of hatred. In Farah’s case, I’m pretty sure I would have felt like doing what he threatened to do.

      I just can’t fathom you saying that just because a famous person opens their virtual door to strangers of course they’d be besieged by vitriol. Why is that a logical extension? If that famous person stands on a real street and is abused in the same way by real people and you walk past, would you just say ‘oh well, that’s life’ and keep walking?

      You may be content to give over the web to sociopathic idiots who think they can say what they like because it’s anonymous, but not me. Twitter et al are virtual society that should have the same rules of decency and accountability applied.

      • Another Perspective

        Twitter et al are virtual society. So untrue, so old, so wrong. You sound like my dad, and I’m not particularly young. You just don’t get it. On the plus side, I just read a great article which I think supports my view (check it out if you are interested).
        It’s funny how easily people can become trolls – are you a troll for calling my perspective ridiculous (and hence making my blood boil) – probably.
        You are absolutely confusing the internet with real life. People under the age of about 30 understand the fundamental difference. The internet is a living, breathing, ever changing web of knowledge (in the form of pictures, video, text and other media). The internet is nothing like the real world. People wouldn’t shout abuse to other on the street because it would be offensive and very aggressive. Shooting off a random 30 word text is hardly the same order of magnitude. I would say, “oh well, that’s life” about vitriol on the net, but not in real life Australian society. It’s about context, which you seem to have failed to grasp.
        Another issue is that of the temporality of the dialogue. What makes posting online (and even texting to person you are intimiate with) so frustrating is that it isn’t a real dialogue, it is a false dialogue in an artificial setting. 80% of the meaning of a sentence is portrayed through body language. Another issue to consider.
        On the plus side, I just read a great article which I think supports my view (check it out if you are interested). In fact, I wonder if the author stole my idea about sticks and stones…who knows….
        http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/culture/blogs/all-men-are-liars/sticks-and-stones-20120910-25n74.html
        And once again I would like to re-iterate I am not a fan of trolling, I think it is annoying, but I think that all this celebrity woe is me fanfare about online trolling is both unexpected and very much disproportionate to the hurt. As to my original point, the story is gaining gravitas BECAUSE (see I had to use capitals because you cannot see me) the overwhelming majority of people who use (i.e., produce content and have their feeds followed) Twitter are journalists and those who are famous and influential.
        Let’s talk about school yard bullying, not the bullying of celebrities online. Seriously, perspective.

        • Craig Sheppard

          Firstly I’m not a troll, my real name is there for all to see and while I disagree with you, I’m laying out my case in a calm and rational manner. We’re having a rational debate about something we differ on – could not be more different than trolling.

          When you send a message directly to another person, whether you speak it or type it and whether or not it’s a public forum or a private one, it is real life. One person has told another to go hang herself. Another has, in as much detail as you can in a tweet, detailed how he’d defile his dead mother. And we’re supposed to just dismiss those? What possible context could justify that? Of course it’s real dialogue, it’s a message conveyed from one person to another. There’s nothing ambiguous about those messages, directed at real people.

          You’re right in that the two cases in the media now are there because they are high profile. They are shining a light on something that goes on everyday in the same media amongst school kids. You want to talk about schoolyard bullying? This is how the bullies attack now.

          You say people wouldn’t shout abuse in the street because it would be offensive and aggressive, I agree, but what on earth makes shouting abuse at someone via text or video on the web different?

          The internet is not some different fantasy world, it is inhabited by the same people who walk the streets, who feel the same things, the same hurt, no matter how it’s delivered. The web is worse because now rather than getting your head shoved in a toilet you are being publicly humiliated and that humiliation once posted is damn near eternal and infinitely shareable.

          • Another Perspective

            Yes, but you choose that public humiliation. You go on the internet and put your head in the public sphere at your peril.
            And it is not the same as schoolyard bullying. School yard bullies post online and then interact with their victims the very next day. A celebrity who receives an anonymous text online is so far out of the same ballpark it defies belief that one could even suggest they are similar.
            The context is different.
            Let me pose a question to you (eventually), perhaps a sensitive one, and one I have asked myself. My mother died a few years back. I asked myself, what would I do if I was on Twitter or Facebook and someone I didn’t know somehow wrote a profane message about her? My answer is that I would block the person, I might have a chuckle that people could be so dumb, so moronic; I might even reflect that the world contains some ‘evil’ people (but did I really need this message to tell me that? Honestly, no, I paid attention in history class and I watch the news regularly). I would then seek to block the person, and I would move on. So, what would you do in reaction to a person attacking the memory of a loved one online?
            My point here is that the magnitude of our reaction to these stories is way out of whack. Celebrities being attacked on Twitter should get over it; much as we all would do; and much as I’m sure many children do in GENUINE bullying situations where the attacker and perpetrator know each other (yes I understand that bullying can occur anonymously, but that is more like stakling, and that has been happening to celebrities for a long time).
            The other issue at play here, which I will introduce, despite the fact that it may muddy my previous points, is that it is not trolling if you don’t respond. All these articles, all this reaction, is flaming the fire of these morons. So stop, and talk about something else – like school bullying, which as I have already said is, I believe, far different to this form of bullying and far worse.
            Bullying is bullying, trolling is something else.

          • Another Perspective

            And further to your point that, and I quote, “The web is worse because now rather than getting your head shoved in a toilet you are being publicly humiliated and that humiliation once posted is damn near eternal and infinitely shareable.”
            That is why going online as yourself is so dangerous. Even the views you have expressed here today will be on the record, able to be found, quoted and used, for as long as someone bothers to keep that information (which I bet will a long time). I wouldn’t therefore recommend going on the record, with your name, for that very reason.
            Honestly, what if you changed you mind? You’ve said it now, and you cannot take it back.
            All this is just to highlight that when you go on the internet as yourself, you are entering some very dangerous territory, because you are inviting people into your home (figuratively speaking) and into your own personal conversation – and by people, I mean anyone who has access to a computer and can read (and the number of those people who are dangerous, who are morons, is large). So I suggest avoiding doing that. You will not be able to legislate, monitor or arrest all the idiots (because the internet is an anonymous tool – and it always will be – how would you even know if three or four people have taken part in this conversation with you? You wouldn’t).

          • Another Perspective
          • Craig Sheppard

            We have no choice these days but to put our head in the public sphere. Whether I like it or not, Facebook, Twitter et al are major communication media. It would be similar to not so many years ago saying, “well, don’t have a telephone”.

            The lines between anonymity and reality can blur very easily and devastatingly, as Helen demonstrated. So that anonymous troll can become the dangerous sociopath, just as the schoolyard bully does. What starts as an online taunt becomes physically threatening or vice versa.

            To answer your hypothetical, the straight answer is, I don’t know. We all know there are some very sick puppies out there but thankfully I haven’t had to deal with that first hand. Blocking is probably a good strategy, but 2 minutes later they have a new account and here we go again so it’s not the ultimate answer.

            Celebrities, I’m sure can quickly get over ‘your music is shit’ or ‘your show sucks’. But ‘go hang yourself’? That’s another level and one that should not be tolerated because it’s indicative of a wider decline in basic societal standards (now I AM sounding old). I understand the trolls do it to get a reaction, but what sort of muppet thinks that’s a good and acceptable game to play? Probably the schoolyard bully now older and without an easy target for their sickness.

            I don’t know what the answer is, and I don’t think it’s more laws, but I do think this is an important thing to bring out in the open. If we accept trolling, we accept bullying in all its forms – and this is undeniably one form of bullying.

  • me

    mmm..interesting. I recall swimming in your pool as a primary school lad with your neighbours at the invitation of your dad. And those very neighbours were the..wait for it… the Dawsons. Common name albeit but perhaps necessitating disclosure. Of course they werent from nz either. So yeah, followed your career a bit and can i just say i cant fckn believe mic bevan played on the shitty wicket at weton creek. Its not the back streets of mumbai but me and you both were surprised. Fark, back to work.

  • Sian

    Fantastic post Helen, completely agree.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.mercer.18 Phil Mercer

    Hi Helen,
    It’s Phil Mercer, yes that Phil from Bundah all those years ago, anyway I still believe in the rhetoric of Midnight Oil and I’m not happy with the way both sides of politics is going, so I’m going to run for office, could do with some media advice, do your research and pm me if you want to.

  • Not into victim-blaming

    Anyone who tells you to shut up (implied) and ignore the “troll” (expressed) is just revealing their status as a world-class ignoramus, a victim-blamer, a collaborator with malignant psychopaths, and a person of closed mind and stone heart. They also reveal their ignorance of abusers, and their (“Anyone who…”) readiness to accept a comforting platitude and shut down their search for truth, having reached the apparently inevitable conclusion.

    My goodness, but some bits of reactionary non-wisdom have a way of really sticking around.

  • http://twitter.com/onekind daniel reeders

    Well, this is a bit ironic. I’m a huge fan of Helen Razer. I’m not, to the best of my knowledge, a troll, although I have my ranty moments. I was following Helen (just on Twitter I swear!) until today I noticed I no longer see her tweets. Twitter tells me I’m blocked. I’d really like to know why — if I’ve stuffed up then I’d like to apologise.

    • Dan

      I’d say that jar of urine was a bridge too far Daniel.

  • Stivette Joan Brownhollow-Smyt

    I like Helen x

  • reata

    I can’t like this enough. As an opinionated, critical thinking woman who is frequently of the “loudmouth bitch” variety i cannot reconcile myself to the BS on other blogs that she somehow “brought this upon herself”. I have always been distinctly grateful to NOT be in the public spotlight, because i know that the more hate garnering outbursts those of us of the honest variety sometimes make are as much a cry for help and a symbol of desperation as anything else. i applaud your empathy for this situation which most of us could not begin to comprehend, but i think that from where i begin to comprehend it most people could do with being a bit more sympathetic.

  • Mike

    It is easy to understand why you were hated Helen. You said it yourself.
    I personally did not, just for the record. If one thinks that it is their right or okay to irritate people then one might like to accept that it is okay or even a ‘troll’s’ right to ‘keyboard warrior’ the sh.. out of anyone in the world. It’s a rough world out there – if the surf is up and you really aren’t as good a surfer as you think you are or that you would like to be, then you may get owned. That is not bad nor good, it is – Just. If someone stalks you or worse, then, this is the big set rolling in, I’d suggest folks start paddling in or out or get ready to perform / surf, for your life! as is sometimes the case. The thing is that, wimps don’t. They expect someone will save them or to be given some Politically Correct magical respawning. This is not the real world. Your ABC was definitely not the real world Helen but the subsequent dumping of you certainly was, some will never get that and that is their main problem. Harsh, yes, and I don’t mean to cause any pain, because as sick or whatever these folks are that send poss in a jar or whatever, I still think they deserve a smack in the mouth to wake them up also. I’m so sick of the drivel, wimps seem to feed each other in an attempt to validate their own inability to understand the laws of the jungle. Recent events prove, that no mater what your sex, wealth, race, health or whatever, Mother Nature always wins…Always.