How to Support Survivors of Crime – Centre Them, Not the Perpetrators

CW/TW: Discussion of suicide, discussion of hate crime against Greta Thunberg

Recently in Rome a malicious act was committed, a hate crime, against Greta Thunberg.

The intent of the perpetrators was to create pain and give further fuel to a narrative about the hate many in some establishments have against Greta Thunberg and all that Greta stands for, as an activist, teenager, female, and autistic.

Unfortunately some success was achieved in this goal by the malicious person or people involved, because the photo of the hate crime was sensational and therefore highly shared.

The mainstream media in some outlets around the globe were responsible for starting this, and corrupted by the profit to be made off of the misery of exploiting the hate crime photo of an autistic girl, they promoted this photo with the accompanying story in order to make money.

Time to take power back from those who delight in malicious acts against others, and to realign ourselves with the survivors of crime. They need to be our priority and our focus.

Greta Thunberg is a person first and foremost.

We may forget that, because she is famous.

But she does not belong to any of us, whether we adore her or revile her, respect or disrespect her, feel passionate about her message or ambivalent.

Greta is a person who is the victim of a high profile hate crime committed this past week in Rome.

When someone is a survivor of a crime, the most important thing they can benefit from is to take back control of their lives.

How does a person take back control of their lives after they have been the victim of a crime?

They need to surround themselves with people who value them as human beings. People who demonstrate that they are indeed worthy of the ability to consent or decline anything which directly affects their well-being.

Because crime is the opposite of that. Crime is a violation. A betrayal of the feeling of safety in the world.

Safety needs to be re-established, when someone is a survivor of a crime.

Original Crime: Did Greta consent to her likeness being hung in Rome?

No.

Secondary Violation: Did Greta consent to the mainstream media using her effigy likeness, in the hate crime committed against her, Greta, to be plastered all over the news?

No.

Greta did *not* consent to photos of the hate crime, featuring her effigy, being published.

Unless Greta herself gives explicit consent in the future that she wants that image to be shared, we should not repost that image, that effigy of hate crime of Greta. Because it is a crime photo featuring her likeness.

We can choose to be part of the cycle of misery, started by those who profited and continue to profit off of publishing the hate crime photo of a famous autistic girl effigy hanging, or we can remove ourselves from this scenario and indeed be part of pushing back against it.

This effigy of Greta, hanging, is likely and logically traumatizing to Greta, but also to people who have lost loved ones to suicide, those who have attempted suicide, those who are sensitive to imagery, to children, and the list goes on.

Sharing the image of that hate crime, of a specific person’s effigy hanging, advances the malicious intent of those who perpetrated it.

Absolutely, report on the crime in words.

Tell the world what happened, because indeed we need to know. But an image is a powerful thing in the human consciousness, and the term “a picture is worth a thousand words” means something very terrible here. Something easily conjured up again and again in one’s consciousness.

Help remove barriers Greta faces as she leads. Cushion people from unnecessary trauma and steer them towards what will most effectively build resiliency and strength, so that our collective future is one of both safety and belonging. Find a way to both acknowledge the darkness whilst pushing back against it.

#AmplifyTheGood imagery of Greta Thunberg (including the natural autistic mannerisms that are her); do not give a platform to the hateful imagery that has been created about her, specifically the malicious effigy of Greta.

We can not change what has happened. We can not change what other people did, do or will do. But we have the power to #AmplifyTheGood that Greta has achieved and continues to achieve.

We can mirror Greta’s strength back at her, through photos, crowding out the darkness of what is cruel and unhelpful in advancing our needs as a human race. Flooding her attention (and ours) with good images to draw on in these turbulent and important times.

We MUST create a safer world where we all belong. Take power back and #AmplifyTheGood so that we can soften the impact of the hate crime against the strong, focused leader we have in the young autistic woman we admire – Greta Thunberg.

[Image: One person alone at the top of the mountain, representing both the pinnacle and loneliness of fame, as well as the vulnerability of being so visible to everyone else whilst achieving goals]