In “The Prince of Shame,” Monica Lewinsky explains how a culture of humiliation has developed from online public shaming and how compassion and empathy can end this culture. In an effort to bring awareness to this issue, Lewinsky gives prominent examples of how invasion of privacy, public humiliation and online shaming has affected its victims at the benefit of those who prey on them. She also uses her own experience to justify how sympathy and empathy saved her after being humiliated publicly. She enlightens the audience on how supporting gossips has fueled the growth of gossip websites, paparazzi, news outlets and some forms of hacking which benefit from web traffic and clicks. These platforms flourish best by harassing and cyber bulling victims, especially celebrities, in order to attract internet users. People should face public shaming and online humiliation with compassion and empathy because it would save victims of cyber bullying.
Four Ways to End Public Shaming and Humiliation
While discouraging public shaming and humiliation, Lewinsky gives us four ways in which we can eliminate online shaming while helping victims. The first solution is evolving beliefs and cultural revolutions. This solution is supported by the fact that other forms of biases were, and are still, successfully resolved by changing the belief; for example, after beliefs about same-sex marriages were changed, they are currently offered equal freedom (81). Internet users have to change the way they view online gossips and shaming by considering the feelings of the humiliated victims and positively helping them. I strongly belief that through awareness campaigns people will be educated on effects of public shaming on victims.
Being empathetic and Compassionate
Secondly, exercising compassion and empathy not only reduces online shaming but also helps victims of cyber bulling and online harassment. Lewinsky’s own experience supports this solution. “I’ve seen some very dark days in my life, and it was the compassion and empathy from my family, friends, professionals, and sometimes even strangers that saved me” (82). She further describes how empathy from a single person can make a difference and how a few people can bring change through consistency over time (82).
Stand for the Victims
The third solution proposed by the author is becoming an up stander for the victims. Although many people would criticize the victims by commenting negatively, a few who choose to stand for the victim can reduce the negativity. One can become an up stander for the victim by posting positive comments and reporting cyber bullying (82). Posting positive comments create a positive view point for other internet users while encouraging the victim of online shaming.
Supporting Organizations that Fight Online Harassment
Supporting organizations that counteract sites that perpetrate online harassment, cyber bulling, trolling and hacking is another way to reduce online shaming related issues. These organizations often bring awareness to internet users, advocate for victims of internet bullying and take down bulling platforms. Although most people and online platforms cover cyber bullying by arguing about their rights to freedom of expression, it is important for them to understand the difference between speaking with intention versus speaking for attention (82).
In conclusion, it is evident that different forms of online shaming have negatively affected victims. The four solutions that can be used to end cyber bullying are; changing the cultural belief, exercising compassion and empathy towards victims, becoming up standers for victims; for example, reporting bullying issues and posting positive comments, and supporting organizations that counter issues related to online shaming and humiliation.
Lewinsky, Monica. “The Prince of Shame.” (2015): 81-82.