Further thoughts

Something I was thinking about last night when pondering whether or not to pursue police action was that it’s a very telling indictment of society when a concerted online bullying campaign can tip a person over the edge into depression, so much so that she can contemplate aborting her baby and this would be perfectly legal.

Tom Chivers from the Daily Telegraph wrote a thoughtful piece on bullying yesterday and how words can really hurt – they trigger an intuitive evolutionary response and can do real damage.

Using social media to bully & harangue others is an increasing menace. I can well see how others could be driven to extremes and suicide. It’s a tightrope to be walked, but where someone has clearly transgressed the limits of acceptable discourse and actually tried to interfere in another’s real life (such as in my case) then we need to think again.

When a pregnant woman is driven into depression such that abortion is mooted as a solution, something needs to change. When social media is able to whip itself up into such a misguided frenzy of moral superiority, that a pregnant woman pleading with others to stop, for them to at least provide detailed charges and evidence of whatever it is she is supposed to have done as a matter of natural justice, is met with more bullying, derision and accused of using her unborn child as a human shield – something is seriously wrong.

When a well-known pro-abort blogger with a self-proclaimed mission of exposing liars in the media, sends a string of emails accusing you of making a malicious blog comment, evidenced by “it must be you it mentions your nana, don’t even try to deny it, does your good Catholic lawyer know what kind of a person you are”, it gets to you. When he says that he will publish something defamatory about you, but is just giving you the chance to respond, it gets to you. Why should I have to defend myself against something I haven’t done?

When fellow Catholics menacingly and repeatedly comment “tick, tick, tick your time is up” and admit they are working with this person to “expose” you, refer to you as a boil who needs to be lanced, as a person in need of public exorcism, that they are looking forward to seeing you suffer, they’ve bought popcorn, and then piously proclaim that it’s necessary, everyone must pray but I must be brought to my knees in order to repent and apologise, it’s sickening. Particularly when I haven’t done whatever it is I am vaguely accused of and there is nothing to suggest otherwise.

When people are willing to destroy my family through a misguided sense of “justice” something needs to change.

We talk about living in a progressive enlightened tolerant age. Quite how civilised is it to accuse, judge, condemn and punish a pregnant woman, to revel in taunting and abusing her, for the simple fact she has, in their opinion, got above herself and is trying to build a career?

I am a mother, a wife and a university student. My husband is a funeral director on minimum wage. Two years ago we had a lovely big rectory and garden, guaranteed income and lifetime stability and a wide circle of friends and a support network.

Today we are struggling, with reduced living space and no nearby friends or family. I have no idea what the future holds, where we will be living or what schools to think about for my children. Mothers and families crave security. I sometimes find it hard to get out of the house with 2 very small children. I don’t know many people nearby and am loath to invest in friendships locally in that I’ve no idea whether or not we will be living in the area for very much longer. It’s why I had become a bit dependent on the Internet as a support network as many of my real-life friends are there.

I actively encouraged and supported my husband in his decision to convert knowing precisely what this entailed. I knew the future would be rocky and uncertain. As a result of this unfounded hate campaign we could find ourselves homeless and without a job. A zealous Catholic has already described how my university’s Catholic Society has been contacted, to find out if they knew me. The fact that I was unknown (I attend a local parish instead) was held to be damning. There has been talk of contacting our diocese to exact an apology and prevent “scandal” which isn’t commensurate with the gloating over the alleged forthcoming “media sh*tstorm”. The charges are that I pretend to be bullied whilst using this as a cover to bully others.

It’s precisely to protect myself and my family that I am seriously considering what to do next. I didn’t start blogging to build a career, I did it because I enjoyed it and it tied in with some of the previous voluntary pro-life work. It’s a shame if it has to end, but I have to put my family first.

The bully has stated his intent that this “Mallory Towers Messalina”, this “Iggy Pop in drag” should be made to withdraw from the net. To do so is to let him win. Other people have kindly said that I write some of the best pro-life stuff around. I wish that were true.

Maybe the answer is just to solely concentrate on that. The last thing I want to do is cause scandal to the Church I love and the cause I am so passionate about. I’ve been accused of being a terrible wife and mother. I am told I am neglecting them as a result of blogging or tweeting in spare moments either at home or in the university library. It’s provided a great foil to Marxist gender theory. The Internet has been a source of comfort, spiritual inspiration and support.

There is nothing like Christian fellowship, with people who cry, rejoice and share in your sufferings and triumphs. At times of trouble they bear your burdens and lift you up in prayer. (Though it is fair to note that two people who have reached out and provided comfort have been skeptics and atheists.)

The wonders of Christian fellowship renders its failure even more painful. It is always hurtful when someone says horrible things about one, but when they are a brethren in Christ, the pain is magnified. Vulnerability is a key part of Christianity. We open our hearts to each other and to Christ in order to share in his suffering, this can be wonderful.

The word “vulnerable” derives from the Latin vulneris meaning “wounded.” If you’re vulnerable you’ve let down your guard, you are capable of being wounded, which means uncharitable words and deeds are not like water off a duck’s back but penetrate through and pierce your heart and soul.

13 thoughts on “Further thoughts

  1. General sympathy, cups of tea and babysitting intentions (there’s just over 900 miles between us, so can’t do much more on that front). 😦

    90% of being a saint is being a nice guy, as my english-fourth-language confessor used to say.

  2. Keep writing. You are a light in the darkness which is often painful to those who dwell in the shadows.

    This is your white martyrdom. This is your cross. It’s hard and painful, but you are not alone. You have Christ and His Church. And bow you have me praying for you as well.

    God bless you and may He give you a moment of peace so that you might catch your breath.

  3. Gah! This is my third time trying to post a comment! I don’t know what WordPress is doing.

    Here’s what I’ve said in detail twice now, in a nutshell: People are crazy and do mean things in the guise of “the Church Militant.” It’s nasty, uncharitable and not Catholic in the least. Ignore them.

    You are brave and wonderful for this post. I cannot tell you how much I admire you.

    You might not have a great community around you, but at the very least you have a sister in Christ praying for you from across the pond.

  4. I migrated over from Calah’s blog and am so impressed with your work! From one pregnant Catholic lady to another, many, many prayers for you and your family.

    People who fall into the “well-meaning” Catholic catergory can do some of the most damage. They neglect basic charity with the excuse of overturning the money changers tables. They get so busy trying to effect an agenda they don’t work on the personal holiness part. I have no idea how anti-harrasment or anti-defamation laws work in the UK, but do get the police involved, if you can.

    Peace and blessings!

  5. So now you are living like a bunch of illegal alien Mexicans.

    Everyone is out to hang you and pound you into the dust.

    You have to care for your children as a mother hen her chicks.

    Satan is pounding on the front door and the wolves are in the back yard circling.

    Welcome to Catholicism.

    *

  6. Madam,

    Grab a nice cup of tea, sit back, and contemplate:

    Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
    that never was it known
    that any one who fled to thy protection,
    implored thy help,
    and sought thy intercession,
    was left unaided.

    Inspired with this confidence,
    I fly unto thee,
    O Virgin of virgins, my Mother,
    to thee I come,
    before thee I stand sinful and sorrowful.

    O Mother of the Word Incarnate!
    despise not my petitions,
    but, in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

    Three Hail Marys for you this day as I have to save the rest for souls much worse off than you.

    *

  7. Depression is very difficult and in pregnancy it is awful. Recognising the depression is the first step and spotting Twitter and the bullying you have received as a contributing factor means you can take action on that. Take the time you need. It can be a long road back. You continue to be in my prayers.

  8. You have a lot of friends and supporters, Caroline.

    I guess we should post that support more often. I shall try to do so.

    As for the others – block them and ignore the cess pits they may then run to. My next decade of the rosary will be for you, to ease your mental turmoil.

  9. Dear lovely Mom,
    I somehow stumbled onto your blog. I’m an American living in Canada, with English parents. I’m a convert to Catholicism from the Episcopal church, which we never attended at any point. The grace of being Catholic is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m a lawyer by training with 2 kids of my own, married to a nonpractising Muslim. Crazy, huh? To cut to the chase: I’m horrified at the abuse you’ve taken-I assume you live in England, and your abusers are English. I used to be proud of my English ancestry, but it seems the English aren’t nearly as civilized as they used to be. I don’t think you’d be so abused in the US or Canada.

    If I were you, I’d give up this blogging, as the toll isn’t worth it. Concentrate on your family and take up apologetics in another fashion. One where such ugly, disrespectful comments don’t reach you. You can still serve the Church and take on the secular culture, but avoid this horrendous abuse. Whatever society these individuals are trying to build, I don’t want any of it. Discovering the timeless morality of the Catholic church is the true compass.

    All the best to you. May God bless you and your family. Know you have someone far away praying for the peace of Christ for you and your family, a peace that the World cannot give.

    Love to you,
    Susan

  10. “When a well-known pro-abort blogger with a self-proclaimed mission of exposing liars in the media…”
    Who is that, Caroline? Do let me know, otherwise I won’t know where to target my ire…!

  11. Rather than my usual general comment that you and your family remain in my prayers (which you do) I shall make sure that today I say a rosary for you all.

    The more I read about Twitter, the more I’m glad I’ve not got to grips with it. Yuk.

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