Friday, March 16, 2018

Potential Fourth Street fallout—on mobbing, emotional abuse, depression, and suicide

So far as I know, no one in science fiction fandom has chosen suicide as a consequence of being mobbed. But if nothing changes, someone will.

At least two of the targets in the #MeToo movement have killed themselves—Jill Messick and Jo Min-ki. That's no surprise to anyone who has read about mobbing—see The very real link between workplace bullying and suicide: Twice as likely to contemplate suicide. I've written about this before: Mobbing drives people a little—or a lot—mad.

More people than anyone knows have been attacked by fandom's New McCarthyites. After posting Positively Fourth Street, or On being banned for ... vague reasons about nearly indescribable things?, I was told more stories. I should have expected that--people whose fears keep them silent will tell things in confidence to those who speak out. Once, in an online argument, I was foolish enough to say I was supported by lurkers in email. The people on the other side assumed I was lying and mocked me. I only pitied them—if you've never been supported by lurkers, you're the bully in the room.

I want to assure people that I'm not suicidal. I like to think it's because I'm a hard ass, but I know it has more to do with having people in my life who love me.

Yet people kill themselves even though they're surrounded by love. Being driven out of a community causes enormous psychological damage. Humans are herd animals. For some, death is more comforting than being cast out.

If you're one of those people, reach out to a friend or a suicide hotline now. That feeling is powerful, but it is a lie.

People who have not experienced mobbing often think it would not harm them. They are like Trump claiming he would have run into danger. Braggarts are usually people who have not been tested.