Social media has been a tremendous advance in the way we communicate and connect with others. I’m the last person that needs to be told that. It’s been an incredible tool for staying in touch with old friends, for advocating about issues that I care about and sharing the minute details of my life with complete strangers. However, every step forward like Facebook or Twitter has a flip side to the coin. In the case of Facebook, cyber bullying has emerged in a manner that was not possible a few years ago. No longer do kids only have to fear the long walk from the front door of the school to their first class, but also the entire World Wide Web is a potential maze of torment.

With Twitter, it’s a little different. There is a mob mentality that emerges when trending topics are bouncing back and forth and people are trying to keep up with what is cool. That is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend started trending. At first I was shocked and then I was disgusted and then just perplexed. Part of the problem was that people were stupefied by the fact that the topic was trending in the first place so they were all commenting on it’s existence and thus giving it more traction and publicity.

Those who did get sucked into the trend got treated to gems like:

khalifa_kalz Marvin khalif-khalat

#reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend If she don’t give head BITCH that’s a felony!”

tylercarroll14 Tyler Carroll

#reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend Touching a black mans dick.
wes_xp Wes ryan
Happy Women’s Day!!!!!! Haha just kidding #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend when they try to make a day all about them…. Psh selfish bitch
seannscene too swag

 Because you feel like it #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend
It’s easy to be tempting to look at this as harmless fun, but there are impressionable young (and sometimes just immature) people reading this nonsense and if they are getting told this in a vacuum without any positive lessons to outweigh the hate then it can definitely affect the way they treat women in the future.
Now Twitter might not be the ideal setting to teach young men about respecting women, but we have to take every avenue that is open to us and shout at the top of our lungs to be heard over the senseless noise. I get asked sometimes if I get tired about talking about these issues and of course I do. I don’t want to feel like I have to lecture people every day, but I try and remember a story that a grad school professor of mine told in class this year. He was talking about a African political leader who had been praised for the way his country responded to the HIV crisis and he compared it to being a village chief and there being a lion at the gate. You have to shout and wake everybody up so that they can get to safety. In this case we have a violence epidemic in our country and it’s threatening the safety and wellbeing of our women and our youth. We have to shout as loud as we can. Maybe eventually we can drown out the trending hate. #letshope.

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