*In lieu of recent events, I wanted to provide my own interpretation and discuss the repercussions surrounding the actions committed by the UGA student population.*
Unfortunately, as a result of youthful ignorance and childish bullying, our University has recently been ridiculed over the incidents surrounding the harassment of an innocent woman. Many students have taken part in shaming and taunting an individual known as the "Lady On Pope Street".
Long before the publication of The Lady on Pope Street, a fad that started in early January, included driving by a private residential home and waiting for a woman to peer out her window - ensuing girls screaming (as if they didn't travel to her residence for that specific purpose) and generating countless amounts of privacy violations via pictures captured and videos taken.
Under the stress of constant harassment, the reactions of this poor woman shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. The unfortunate truth is that people have not stopped harassing this woman. People are continuing to coast by her house, and in the past have been known to walk up to her window andpeer into her blinds. I think we should all take a moment and reflect upon these actions. With the publication of a fake Twitter account to further promote the bullying (which thankfully has since been deleted), recent YouTube videos and countless offensive snapshots - the Athens community should be ashamed.
Partaking in anything associated with 'Lady on Pope Street' is a deranged way for people to wield control over someone who may not be able to, or want to, stand up for themselves.
Attention to this issue has shed light on a silent injustice occurring in the Athens community. Shame on all of those who have been participants in anything that resembles a situation that engages with the topic of this article. Not only does harassment perpetuate negative stereotypes that are commonly associated with students, but also these acts influence further insensitivity on topics such as mental illness, women's right and harassment.
When you start a discussion in which harassment is an acceptable joke, it is only then that you create a space for people to make it just that. Expressing your own insecurities in ways that harm other people speaks more of your character than it does for the people who supposedly 'were asking for it'.
A post from Jimmy John's employee Howard Anderson's Facebook shows the deplorable results of this fad that has clearly gone too far. In this case, property damage that is completely uncalled for, in addition to the inexcusable provocation of this woman.
Thankfully, Athens is filled with people who are better than those who have been a participant in this cruel and hateful fad.
Read on, here.
Change the discourse, don't give into the pressure when it comes to demeaning another person and their rights to privacy, self-expression, and how our culture allows for the victim to become the joke rather than those committing these heinous acts. We can still shift our narrative in this story.