Cyberbullying: 'The Facebook Fight That Fractured My Face'
This is a teen-written article from our friends at YCteen, a publication by young people about the issues that matter to them.
Social networking sites are supposed to be a place for friends to connect and chat, right? That’s what I thought until I was the victim of aggression that spilled over from Facebook into real life.
One day, I was harmlessly joking around with a friend on Facebook. We were commenting back and forth on his status when all of a sudden, one of his friends -- we’ll call her Sara -- rudely stuck her nose into our conversation.
For some reason I still don’t know, she immediately began insulting me. For instance, she said that I shouldn’t have been born because my father was too busy having sex with other men. She didn’t even know me or my father; how could she make that kind of accusation?
I was angered by her senseless attacks. But instead of stooping to her level, I simply called her out: “I don’t even know you. Why are you acting immature and insulting someone you don’t know?!” I might’ve used the word “insane,” but that was only to point out how irrational she was acting.
It was no use trying to reason with her, so eventually I dropped it and walked away from the computer. When I later asked our mutual Facebook friend about Sara, he said she was crazy and always looking to start a fight. In the moment, I was disgusted and taken aback at how some people thrive off senseless drama.
It was my first encounter with online aggression. I wasn’t blind to stories on the news about cyberbullying, but I’d never heard of anything like this happening to anyone I knew, and I found it confusing. Why would this complete stranger come out of nowhere and, totally unprovoked, start insulting me? It seemed she was doing it purely for her own entertainment. I guessed she enjoyed instigating conflict from the safe distance the Internet allows.
From Virtual to Surreal
I was wrong about that last part. A couple of months later, I was at a friend’s party. As I was about to leave, I saw a girl I recognized from her profile picture as Sara. She obviously recognized me too, because she lunged at me.
The situation felt surreal. What had been a virtual-world dispute was now landing at my feet, literally, in the physical world. I was shocked at what happened next.
Sara started wrestling with me, as I tried to keep her off me and prevent the situation from escalating. For two minutes we were going around the room in circles, holding each other’s hair with death grips while she tried to kick and punch me.
Someone stepped between us. She was still pulling my hair, bending me at an angle toward her. Then, I felt a blunt force against my eye, and everything went white.
She released me, and I leaned against the wall to catch my breath. When I regained my vision, I noticed blood on my hand. I lifted up my head and saw a blurry room full of people waiting to see more violence. Clearly, this was like a dramatic reality show to them. One person was even videotaping it.
Feeling immense pain, I hurried to the bathroom to look in the mirror. There was a gash on the corner of my eye next to my nose, and the whole right side of my face was already starting to swell and bruise. I could hear Sara in the other room boasting about her vicious kick to my face. When she saw me, she pointed and laughed.
Disgusted with everyone in that room, I left immediately. The next day, my mom decided it was best to go to the hospital since my face was badly bruised and swollen. It was a good thing we did, since X-rays showed I had four facial fractures and several scratches on my eye.