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Alleged Sexual Abuse in the YouTube Community and How We React


Wow. So a lot of things are happening all at once and I honestly don’t have much to contribute but I’m so rattled up I just have to type something.

There are multiple allegations circulating right now regarding a handful of male British YouTubers and their potentially unacceptable behaviour with young female fans. I’m not going to name names simply because I don’t have any evidence to support either side. As an ignorant bystander it’s not my place to condemn anyone. I’ll leave the judging to the… well… to the judges.

I’ll admit that I’m morbidly fascinated by the development of these situations but in no way thrilled. I’d much prefer my colleagues to have not abused people; not because it’d be more convenient but so thatno one had been subjected to abuse at all. It’s fucking awful and all I can hope is that justice is done and future generations learn from our mistakes.

Hell, I’m determined that people learn from my mistakes; I’ve been a shitty and ignorant person in my life. When I was teenager I thought it was totally okay and not creepy/illegal to solicit dirty photographs from anyone and everyone. I was a dumb horny kid and I hope like hell I can prevent a few of you from being as stupid and destructive as I was.

What these recent events have shown is that, at least in a small way, victims are becoming more comfortable with speaking up and people are listening. That is awesome. No one should be ashamed or afraid of bringing their abusers to justice. However, it could also be argued that people’s eagerness to believe every single claim (including ones made by anonymous users presenting zero evidence) is a little bit worrying.

Our legal systems are largely based on the notion of “innocent until proven guilty” and that’s a good thing. It’s not perfect but it certainly cuts down on pitchfork-wielding mobs and witch hunts. That said, every allegation of a crime should be taken seriously. Primarily so that justice can be done in the event of wrongdoings but also so that folk know there are consequences to making false claims.

I guess all I’m saying is this: if any of these folk were sexually abusing others then I hope they get locked up real quick. However, is it our place as largely uninformed bystanders to take on the roles of judge, jury and executioner? Does that help the situation or does it demote a serious criminal offence into “drama?” Should we not take a step back, allow what should be a criminal investigation to take place and then base our reactions on those results?

I’m open to being wrong on this matter. I’d love to hear your opinions.

- Tom

To anybody that feels like they have been abused - you don’t have to suffer in silence. The NSPCC is there 24 hours a day to listen to you, offer advice and support - and you can speak to them anonymously without fear of people reacting on Tumblr. Their number is 0808 800 5000 and it won’t show up on your phone bill. You can also call ChildLine on 0800 1111, even if you’re over 16.

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