It is impossible to comprehend the vindictiveness of trolls spouting hurtful comments online as if it is entertainment. This week Rebecca Judd was the victim of some absolutely disgusting and outrageous vitriol when she posted a photo for her online followers.
The television presenter and AFL WAG is pregnant with twin boys and often shares updates with her more than 15,000 followers on Instagram.
But this time, among those complimenting Rebecca’s blossoming bump in a picture she shared after her baby shower last week, were hateful comments slamming her for being too thin, calling her “disgusting”, a “stick insect” and telling her she needs “serious help”.
“Anyone believing this is healthy with or without a baby is delusional,” one hater wrote. “You need help, lady. Serious help. In the meantime, please do stop trying to be a (role) model to anyone. You are dangerous.”
“Pretty mean thing to say. Women (especially pregnant) are of all shapes and sizes. Her health is very well monitored I’m sure,” one person wrote, in Rebecca’s defence.
When did this kind of public attack become acceptable? Aren’t we all bored of fighting this same dangerous nonsense?
Let’s look at it for what it is, complete strangers attacking a pregnant woman for no other reason than to make an uneducated comment about her appearance.
In a society dedicating millions on anti-bullying programs in schools and workplaces, where we tell our children to be kind and not to call others names, this behaviour from adults seems ridiculous and unbelievable.
This is not the world we want to send them into. It is not entertaining, celebrities are not free game and this is not how we hold onto our assumed right to free speech.
It’s easy to say Rebecca and other celebrities put themselves out there and so open themselves up to wider criticism but, in all the circles we each travel in, there are people we place in positions of power.
What these online haters fail to remember is we see them for who they are – ignorant, reckless and the kind of people we need to protect our children from.
They fail to see we are raising children who might take the stage one day, they may run out onto the field and find success in sport, they may excel at science, deliver the news or run for politics.
Our children may even just find an audience somewhere that thinks they are interesting, thinks they have style and, as their parents, these online bullies had better believe we want a world that celebrates that.