Everyday we each have the opportunity to say something with our words coming from our mouth, or through the use of our typing skills. Everyday we each have the opportunity to do something or say something that plays a role in another person’s life. We can use the opportunity for the good of others, and we can also hurt others. Do you consider yourself a person that considers how your actions, your words, impacts another person’s thoughts, feelings, and life? Are you the type of person to take the time to educate your children about the importance of considering how their actions impacts others? Do you believe you should think before you do or say something, and consider how you may be impacting another’s mental health? Do you believe that some experiences should be considered private, and you can trust others and yourself to hold certain interactions as private information?
Certainly we are not 100% sure of the impact what we say or do has on others. Although, we are lying to ourselves if we do not think that talking about another person through the use of technology cannot not have an impact on those people we are sharing information about! It concerns me deeply to my core that there are those among us that will put private information out there about others. Where is the loyalty to others? How many of us live with high morals? The case of the Duke University female named Karen Owen is a recent example of this concern that I have.
This past week Duke University student Ms. Owen received marked publicity for a document she wrote exposing specific details about the males she had sexual relations with. She rated her sexual experience. She rated the sexual behavior of the males and their body parts. She gave a detailed account of her sexual experience with each male. Rather then considering these men as humans with feelings, she went ahead and posted their pictures, their names, the sports they played in school, and personal information about them without their permission! To say she is sorry and did not intend to hurt anyone is outrageous. We know as young as Kindergarten-age, that when we speak about someone to another, what we are doing can hurt that person.
The fact that as a society we reward disloyalty, we reward putting another’s life out for others to read, is a painful commentary. What happened to empathy for others? Are we exacerbating a societal condition that exists through the use of positive feedback and reinforcement of behaviors that blast others? How can people trust in a world where too often people are untrustworthy? How do we protect ourselves and those we love from getting hurt by someone that is out for their own gain?
Also I shall mention the double standard in the particular case of Ms. Owen. If a male were to have created the same document about women, how do you think the response would have went? How would the females that were listed and their parents react? How would the media react? In her case she is being rewarded! Awful! Do these men not have a voice in any of this? Are women able to get away with certain things that men are not? What about attractive women, does that play a role in societal response?
My concern is the notion that in the vein of self expressiveness, too many no longer consider others at all, others are discounted, and rather just the needs of the moment of one’s own self is the focus. How many are only and all about; “me, me, me”? Is this the minority of people?
My hope is that as adults, as parents, as clinicians, as educators, and as students, we can all take the time to consider our actions and care about how we impact others. In fact, all the money that Ms. Owen may potentially make on a book deal, or any other publicity she is receiving from having used others for her own personal gain, perhaps NOW she can consider how she can positively impact others. For an example, what about this for an idea, are you ready? How about if I suggest she consider giving a percentage of her publicity financial gain to her “subjects” as she called them? After all, they were participants in her study, shouldn’t they be reimbursed? Although, these males were unknowing participants, certainly that would not make up for exposing them! Hmmmm, or would it?