When it comes to taking the bully by the horns, Singer Meredith O’Connor takes center stage.
O’Connor attended the Los Angeles Chapter Information Systems Security Association (www.issala.org ) 8th Annual Information Security Summit dinner, in part to commemorate the event’s efforts to highlight women in the Internet Security field, and in part to highlight the part technology plays in situations such as cyber bullying.
“My nose was broken when I was 12 years old by a bully,” said O’Connor, during an small dinner table session with reporters, Thursday during ISSA-LA's opening reception at the Saddle Ranch Chop House. “I was so devastated, I didn’t even tell my own mother. I felt I deserved it.”
“People don’t understand that bullying is hard to stop,” said O’Connor. She went on to explain that many people either don’t know how, or won’t take, simple efforts to push away abuse, such as blocking abusive chat messages or reporting inappropriate conduct to system administrators.
“When you feel you deserve it, you don’t take steps to protect yourself,” said O’Connor. “For example, even though I was a model, I felt ugly because of bullying by my peers.”
O’Connor said that her turning point in her battle with bullying was telling her story, though video, interview and song, to the public through YouTube and record contracts. Her videos have gotten hundreds of thousands of hits, with comments stating that her music and lyrics have “saved lives” for people confronted by bullying.
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