One Girl Inc. Launches "In Plain Site" Campaign, Champions Still Anti-Cyberbullying Laws
One Girl, Inc. President Meaghan Jarensky launched the “In Plain Site” campaign to end cyberbullying. The campaign is a coalition of anti-cyberbullying groups that help to educate young people on how to avoid becoming victims of cyberbullying and their legal options if they fall prey to online harassment.
The campaign also includes a legislative component, in which Jarensky and coalition partners advocate for stiff anti-cyberbullying laws in all 50 states and at the federal level. Jareknsky is leading the fight in New York State.
Perpetrators of cyberbullying tend to feel a sense of immunity due to the anonymity of being online; but the irony is that, while the perpetrators fear being publicly exposed, they violate their victims’ privacy in their sinister plot by exposing them online. Therefore, “In Plain Site” also seeks to expose perpetrators, which will help deter people from committing this act.
The campaign is already making headway on the legislative front. Jarensky recently called for passage of New York State Senate Bill S5871, the E-Personation Protection Act, an anti-cyberbullying law that would impose a stiff penalty of up to one year in prison if convicted of online impersonation with the intent to harm.
“This is only the starting point of a nationwide initiative to end cyberbullying. It is my hope that this will serve as a model for future legislation in other state legislatures and at the federal level,” Jarensky said.
"Spreading lies with the goal of harassing, humiliating and shaming is a violation of one’s social boundaries and often has a traumatizing effect on the victim as we have seen time and time again, having consequences including suicide among young people,” Jarensky added.
“At the core of it, this is a social justice issue. As human beings, we are all entitled to fair and just treatment, and basic human dignity includes respecting each other. Respect is something that is often overlooked, and only when we include that in our everyday actions will we be able to uphold our responsibility as human beings. Becoming a more understanding society is not an unrealistic, lofty dream: it is necessary for humanity to move forward.”
State Senator Kevin Parker, who introduced the bill, said, “Cyberbullying is the 21st century version of the 18th century pillory. Instead of being exposed and subjected to public abuse for a finite period of time, e-personation subjects its defenseless victims to humiliation, denunciation, attacks, and denigration on a continuum, a progression of expressions that multiply leaving defenseless victims in their wake – sometimes fatally.”