Kian Goodsell

The Brett Kavanaugh Case and the Pillorying Nature of Social Media Culture.

In our contemporary society, we neglect to understand that we’re the first generation accessing social media and its vast capabilities, then any generation prior. As with anything, there are pros and cons; however, the difficulties still remain that we are not completely understanding of its complexities. The voices that it gives us, are not always necessarily positive ones. Areas that are needed full sensitivity, are in fact polluted and contaminated with inappropriate satire, attempting to assuage the severity of the cause. Tweets, likes and emojis appear meaningless, until quantified on a mass scale, both supporting and stigmatising major news. The truth is, social media has desensitised us to the importance of taking such news with compassion. Depriving us of our rights to our rawest emotions.

Throughout the past week, the trial of Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge also asked to be on the Supreme Court, has gone underway. The trial led by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accuses Kavanaugh of sexual assault when the pair were in high school with other women responding and coming forward with similar statements. Ford continued to vocalise a highly emotional response to the jury, mentioning the fear of her own life at the time and has “haunted” her ever since. Kavanaugh continues to deny the accusations.

Amid such a harrowing narrative, Trump had decided to hit back at Ford at one of his rally’s in Mississippi, mimicking her testimony in front of a crowd dominated by his supporters, who then, continued to applaud. “How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember.” Further exemplifying the concern that what is such a distressing reality for so many, is a joke to another. Accompanied, with a crowd, largely populated by men, whom condone such a response.

Whatever the verdict of the trial, there are still so many experiences and stories, globally that are supressed by so many because of societal conventions subjugating vulnerability. Stigmatising victims and their wellbeing. With rape being the most under-reported crime, estimating at an astonishing 63% of cases not being reported and an average of 85,000 women and 12,000 men being victims each year, in the UK alone. The suffering is immediate, and prolonged, further exacerbating the mental state of the victims.

Yet, when such people come forward and admit their agony, you have the likes of Trump interfering and ridiculing the testimony for political support. In addition to the arising social media popularity, using similar themes for their own comedic purposes and adapting elements of the trial into memes. It makes one question, have we starved ourselves of our empathy? And yes, enlarge, there has been support for the victims who have come forward, both related and unrelated to the case. But, it is still unfortunate that members of our culture feel the need to parody delicate matters.

The trial continues to encourage others to come forward with their experiences, crediting the voices of the repressed, that may not have been credited before. It’s a truth for many and should be treated with dignity and sympathy, yet, I fear that with the rise of platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, controversy is communal. These have given many accessibilities to mockery without consequence, further instilling those who haven’t had their stories shared, into submission and fear of judgement and an outcry of inappropriateness. Morality is neglected, and inaptness is comedic, boundaries are pushed, and we forget that people are hurting. Individuals then shape their behaviours, thinking about how it may influence their popularity and social status. It is understandable that such behaviours can’t be generalised to everyone, on the contrary insensitivity has spiked, with a definite correlation in the rise of mistreatment and social media.

Is social media truly liberating, or is it an environment that invites damage without regulation?

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