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When vegan cyber bullying goes too far

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We’re bombarded with memes and jokes about veganism, and told to be easy-going. But when does the harassment go too far? We all have a right to voice our opinions, but when it offends others and it targets a certain person, then this can be seen as bullying. Take a look at BroadbandSearch cyber bullying stats to take in the impact cyber bullying can have, especially through social media.

Stuff shared an incident that Shasha Ali, a west Auckland resident who admins a vegan Facebook page, experienced. A user looked in to Ali’s heritage, and used her muslim beliefs to leave damaging comments on an event page for a vegan food pop-up, saying “Allah see you soon, I’ll take these sinners down with me.”

“He went through the trouble of finding a vegan event and then doing research to find out I am Muslim and saying something that would hurt so deeply,” she told Stuff. Despite first feeling she had to grow a “thicker-skin,” Ali had the insight to take the comments down and alert the police. Having met the offender, this has been chalked up to trolling, and not something for vegan event goers to fear. Still, the difference between online aggression and a serious threat isn’t commonly addressed or investigated when veganism is involved.

“As a vegan, I have experienced a lot of prejudice online directly and indirectly. I have seen memes and jokes targeting vegans and it’s all supposed to be funny. How is it humour? You are making fun of an entire community. Somehow we are just supposed to watch it and not react,’ Ali argues. We know this prejudice spans far outside the border of social media, and can even be seen in advertising.

When women like Ali make it clear it won’t be tolerated, and that vegans want non-violence to extend to the interactions between humans, we have hope that more people will abandon the vegan targeting they’re told is acceptable. Then, maybe the bullying will stop.

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