Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

As our country becomes more divided, almost on a daily basis, online hate grows more and more prevalent. 

A PEW Research survey shared that 14 percent of adults say they have been harassed online due to their political views. 

From outrageous online behavior from people in power to parents that continue to perpetuate the nastiness through mom shaming, we are witnessing a breakdown in civility that's now in crisis mode.

Even before the existence of iPhones, Google, or FacebookMonica Lewinsky became one of the first victims of global online shaming. Like many who suffer cyber humiliation, Monica fell silent for a long time, but today, she’s an inspiration fighting back against the worldwide chorus of nastiness.

Flashback to 1995: a young Monica, fresh out of college, was excited to start a career in politics as an intern at the White House. She could never have imagined the roller coaster she was about to endure. Workplace romance is not new—but when you are employed at the White House and your boss is the president of the United States, that relationship is taken to a whole new level. Let’s be clear, it takes two to tango, but Monica’s youth had yet to catch up with the wisdom that comes with age and experience. When the news of her relationship with the president was revealed, she was devastated to find herself branded a tramp, slut, whore, tart, bimbo, floozy, and even spy. Monica was shattered.

After more than a decade of silence, Monica has now become a force to be reckoned with, championing this cause that she personally understands is strangling our culture.

Is Monica Lewinsky a target of trolls because she had a relationship with politics almost 20 years ago? 

Trolls are not only morally bankrupt people, they can be just about anyone according to University of Michigan researcher Lindsay Blackwell who studies online harassment. A Stanford University study concurred this in their research. Associate professor, Jure Leskovec of computer science at Stanford explains,

“Just one person waking up cranky can create a spark and, because of discussion context and voting, these sparks can spiral out into cascades of bad behavior. Bad conversations lead to bad conversations. People who get down-voted come back more, comment more and comment even worse.”

In the Civility in America survey, 59 percent of Americans have quit paying attention to politics due to the negative tone and incivility. With over half of the people stepping aside, sadly it only takes those few disturbed and angry people to create digital discourse. 

Armed with keypads, cyber-combat is the latest form of warfare for these trolls.

The Activist

Today Monica Lewinsky is not only a social activist and international speaker on cyberbullying, she's a leading anti-bullying advocate that is feeding the online world with her inspiring #BeStrong emojis and positive words of wisdom.

Her new PSA, In Real Life, helps us to understand the impact our words have on people in reality. 

In Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (Sourcebooks), Monica wrote the foreword reminding us: "As a society, we can—and must—do
better to help protect others online, be mindful of our own clicking behavior, and remember neutral compassion."

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