Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Sound of Silence

On Sunday, we saw a band of people get together to create #twittersilence in protest against the spate of abuse, bomb and rape threats directed at female writers, journalists and politicians.

I don't condemn anyone if that was what they chose to do - your Twitter, your opinion, your life, your way of dealing with things.

But it wasn't for me.  I just don't get the idea of being silent.  I don't get what it was hoping to achieve.  Especially as a minute past midnight some of those who had chosen to take part came back with more tales of the above threats.

Doesn't silence mean we're giving into the these sad, lowlife losers who get their kicks from trolling and threatening?  Doesn't silence equal fear?  Isn't that exactly what those people want?

I understand that changes need to be made - no one should be allowed to make another person's life a misery through fear or stalking - I get that.  But this isn't about introducing an 'abuse button' on Twitter - which I think will end up being the most 'abused button' ever.  This is about making sure that threats, lies, hounding and stalking are taken seriously and dealt with swiftly. With Twitter I would imagine that, now they've recruited so many new members of staff, it's a fairly straightforward process but we also need to consider the saddos who make it their life's work on other platforms such as blogs.  Temporary IP addresses (VPM's) need to be denied to private individuals - it's an oversight that will lead to further mischief and abuse.  Why should any honest, decent person need to shroud their internet activities if they have nothing to hide?  Why should that be an option?

I haven't been threatened and I hope I never will but I know what it's like to have someone so wound up by your very existence that they feel they have to keep trying to stick the knife in - where they just don't want to let it lie, move on and get on with their own life.

It's annoying - in the same way as a fly you want to swat or a constant dripping tap - but it's also intriguing.  What have I done to upset my own stalker so much?  What's their real problem with me?  I know it's not someone who knows me in real life - although they like to pretend that they do - so why do they feel that they need to spend so much time on following my every move and condemning me for it?

The facts are these:

*We sent our son to private school - big deal!
*We struggled to keep him there when our circumstances changed but we did it and we're proud.  It was worth every minute of the worry.
*He suffered from school phobia - a very REAL condition - which, with our support,  he overcame.
*He was not bullied - EVER.
*We appeared on 'This Morning' and in 'The Daily Mail' to help other kids - I met with three other families face-to-face and had email contact with many others who thanked us for highlighting this condition.
*I write popular chicklit novels - two of which are based on my observations of certain types of mothers and show them up for what they are, in a tongue and cheek manner. Most of my reviews are 5* - nuff said.
*I made good friends with parents at my son's prep school and his secondary school.  The decent ones!
*I am a size 38C bust and I wear size 12 jeans - I'm not fat or skinny.  I am most definitely not 'corpulent'!
*I eat chocolate and crisps!  Who doesn't?  Unless of course you're a lettuce leaf sniffer as featured in the Mummy Misfit books.
*I smoke - disgusting but true.  Not a cheap brand though - cos I ain't a cheap kinda gal!
*My kitchen is painted in 'Tapestry Thread' - a period colour. Not nicotine or menstrual.
*My family - those close to me - and my friends, are incredibly proud of me.  I don't embarrass anyone. It's far worse to go around leaving 'anon' comments on blogs - does my stalker proudly tell their family and friends what they've done? Being a writer is a massive achievement - being an anonymous bully is not.
* I am very happily married - I love, live with and laugh with my soul mate. I count my lucky stars every single day that I'm married to such a wonderful man.

So that's me, in a nutshell.  The me that drives someone nuts!  They've been reported and I will track them down and shut them up.  I don't publish their comments on my blog any more because that would give a voice to their lies.  But I always respond to them.

Because, in short, I won't be silenced.


  1. I totally agree. I must say, I think you have handled your dealings with this troll/stalker, with real dignity. It's about time the law got a grip of social media, it's now a big part of our lives, and just like malicious telephone calls had to be dealt with when we all got telephones, trolls should be silenced now - not us.

  2. I agree with you too. I just wonder what kind of life this person has, she/ he really needs to seek help if that's how they get their kicks. We have just heard on the news how another young girl has killed herself because of horrible people a bit like your troll destroying her life with words. It's not on sticks and stones that break your bones words can also break your spirit. We have to stand up to those people, seek them,expose them and let the police deal with them. They are spoiling social media for everyone. Maybe Amanda it's because you have a lovely husband,a clever son, are a successful writer and love your life is the very reason this person has a grudge, it's their problem, not yours.

  3. Thank you, ladies. Words will never break my spirit - I prefer to let my stalker be buried in their own grudge. I put a name to my words, they don't have the guts to ;)

  4. I'm always staggered when anybody behaves in a totally unbalanced and frankly MAD way towards someone else. There is a Tory Councillor here who has had 2 absolute rants at me, in public, in a council chamber,in front of a whole public meeting, calling me names and swearing at me. For why? because I choose not to allow him and his developer mates to build houses on our green space and I won't be cowed by his bullying, as the rest of his colleague are. I reported him to the appropriate committee - as they were all his Tory ''mates'' nothing was done. My response: go on campaigning, writing to the press and maybe, stand against him in the next elections. I did the Twitter silence, we agree to disagree, but I sent solidarity tweets to Mary Beard, Stella Creasey and Caroline.....You go on being your brilliant, successful self! We stand at your shoulder and support you.

  5. Nice to see that my stalker returned but had the good manners to keep her mouth shut.