Despite our progress over the years to combat discrimination, it remains deep-rooted in our society.
This profoundly worrying trend must be addressed before anyone else gets harmed. Sadly, social media has enabled anonymous people to hide behind computer screens and hurt others without consequences.
Scott Gavin of Merseyside, England, was left horrified when some cyberbullies mocked a video he had shared to celebrate his daughter Megan’s first birthday. The clip shows the little girl with Down syndrome covered in cake, but malevolent commenters called her a “Downie” and an insensitive slur.
Scott vented his anger at these trolls: “My shock went straight to anger! Clearly, there is no place for this type of bullying, and we must speak out against it. I wanted to locate those responsible for such vile comments.”
After reflecting, I realised that no person or situation had the right to ruin my little one’s day. Thus, I refused to succumb to anger and let someone else determine our fate.
I have decided to take this opportunity in a positive light and educate uninformed individuals. To share the love, I will post pictures of Megan on my social media pages.
Scott, the father of a child with disabilities and five other children, is all too familiar with stories that he has heard from other parents like him. “It’s heartbreaking,” he shared regretfully.
Scott wondered why people view disabled kids differently, asking rhetorically:
“I don’t understand it.”
This sentiment was echoed in one comment on his video, which read: ‘Kids in Africa are starving, and you’re wasting cake on a child who can’t even comprehend what it is.’
No matter their challenges, people with Down syndrome can learn, succeed in school, lead happy lives, develop meaningful relationships, and make significant contributions to the world.
We must recognize these facts and show our support for this young girl and all people with special needs. Let’s stand together to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to live a life of dignity, respect, and equality!