The Power of Social Media

Make friends in Minutes.

When I was a kid, I had penpals. The kind you had to actually use a pen to write to. Then, you’d send the letter off, and a few weeks later, you’d get a letter back. Sometimes I miss the days of real letters.

I’m also very grateful for new technology. If it wasn’t for Facebook and feeling like I’m still a part of the lives of my friends back in Australia, I think I’d be a lot more homesick. I love that I can read the Australian newspaper everyday and I love that there’s an app for the 2DayFM radio station so I can listen to Aussie accents here. I enjoy watching the Aussie news over the internet, even if it is in small 3 minute blocks.

When I’m having a bad day, I can email someone and get a response back and feel better in minutes. When Corey Feldman did his interview, it brought back a lot of memories and some heavy emotions. Then I got an email from another child actress. She had famously gone public in the US and pissed a lot of people off. She had been following my case in the media, and another friend on FB put us in touch with each other.  She wrote me a couple emails and put everything very matter of factly. In the first email she talked about the balance of power in assault cases. She called it “sexual abuse vs fame public reaction mathematical algorithm” The public’s belief in and support of a victim of rape/sexual abuse is directly proportional to the fame and “likeability” of the victim, and inversely proportional to the fame and “likability” of the perpetrator. In other words, when a victim goes public with her story the response she receives will have nothing to do with the severity of the rape, number of occurrences or age at when the crime occurred. It will be based solely on her fame/power vs the fame/power of her perpetrator. She had several examples, and it was kind of a downer, because I’m not the famous/rich one in this case….

Her second email however was like a revelation and has helped me tremendously. Also: Something to remember – that I had to learn – is that the apprehension, conviction and incarceration of your perpetrator is NOT actually YOUR responsibility. It is the responsibility of law enforcement.

But remember, when people attack you for speaking out: any trouble the bastard is in, is entirely HIS doing. You didn’t “get him in trouble” – HE DID when he started assaulting children.

By the same token, when those on your side harass you to do more, you are not on call to “put him in jail”.  You called the cops, it’s THEIR job to put him in jail.

This was the most empowering thing anyone has ever told me. It lifted the weight off me. She was right. I had done my duty and told the police. I gave them my statement. I invited them into my home in Texas and continued the investigation here. When they email me or call, I answer them the best I can. A lot of people may not agree with the way the investigation started, but it was MY journey, not theirs.

I have been laying low in Texas since the investigation started, because I was told I should. It was “duty” to go crawl back under a rock till it was over. I had to make sure there was a conviction. If I didn’t stay quiet, it was my fault if the case for the other girls didn’t pan out.

I’m sorry, but it’s NOT my responsibility. I will do my best to help the police in any way I can, but I’m not going to stop posting on my blog, or be social on twitter, or talk to people on FB, or have conversations with people in real life just because there’s an investigation underway. I don’t know how long it could take. Nobody does, and people can’t realistically expect me to withdraw for years if it drags out that long. As long as I’m not talking about the investigation, there’s no reason I can’t also be an active member of social media.

Meanwhile, in the twitterverse, I think we’ve all been following what’s happening with Andy. His blog is now down off the internet, and he’s currently hiding hoping things will blow over. I’ve been amused that people have been so upset that I was quoted in the Sun as having laughed when I saw Andy in there. With the way Andy dishes on others, he has to expect that people give it back. And apparently he does. I got this PM from him this morning after someone called me a “nasty piece of work” on Twitter.

I’ve had some really interesting conversations with people over the last few days thanks to Social Media. It’s nice to be able to communicate instantly with people all over the world, instead of waiting till it’s already old news. That being said, I would still caution people to be careful what they say on the Internet. It’s easy to take things out of context. Sarcasm doesn’t convey well in 140 characters. You can still be taken out of context. Private doesn’t really mean private. Andy used to love grabbing screenshots on my PM’s to him, as I have done above. But, it also lets you communicate instantly and be able to check in on someone and make sure they’re OK.