A Victorian woman named ‘Laura’ took to Facebook this week to Publicly shame a so-called Sex offender, after witnessing what she called ‘disturbing and harassing behavior’ on public transport, in Melbourne. Since her post becoming viral, shared and commented by millions of people via social media over the last few days, with her seemingly feminist views voiced to aim to stop this behavior toward women. It was made clear, by hundreds of people who personally knew this man that he in fact was autistic and not in fact a sexual predator. Laura has since taken down her post, but did not set the story straight beforehand. She did not apologise for wrongly accusing this man, and promoting hate and abuse towards him, for his actions. She did not apologise for the vilification she created. She just left it, and that is what is not okay.
Public transport is a great way to travel in a city. It is reliable, easily accessible and cheap. But you do encounter all different types of cultures, personalities, and abilities. This is what being tolerant is about. But Laura, demonstrated in her article that she felt responsible to protect another civilian, another female with the fear of her being harassed or sexually assaulted. She felt he was such a threat to the public, in result the man’s face was splashed across social media in an explosive rant by Laura, as she claimed he intimidated four women on the tram.
By reading into just a snippet of the millions of comments, made on this post. It was made very clear that not everyone agreed with the woman’s claims. Some people wrote that the man was in fact a regular commuter on Melbourne trams who has autism and ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly.’
‘I have seen him on the same tram for years along Swanston and Elizabeth street,’ one man told Daily Mail Australia.
‘He exclaims and utter noises very suddenly at times and he does hover over people but he never touches anyone without asking.’
‘I don’t believe he singles out women in that regard either, he’s done it to me before and I have told him to leave me be politely and that he did.’
‘He likes getting high fives from folks, most people ignore him but at times they do give him one.’
Another person pleaded with social media users to stop calling the man a predator.’This man was trying to get a woman to give him a high five and I know this man he has a disability,’ she wrote online.
It is clear with the backlash about Laura’s experience, that she mightn’t have encountered someone with a disability like this man’s before. Does that beg the question, that Australian citizens should be more worldly to understand that because someone behaves differently to what is perceived as behaving ‘normally,’ it does not make them a predator. It just makes them different to you. Which is more than okay.
Pictured below is an online post, via Facebook. In which a woman claims the viral post has led people to threaten violence on this innocent man.
This is in direct comparison to Laura’s actual post, which is pictured below. Since discovering the man was Autistic Laura did not apologise but simple took the viral post down, after millions has already viewed and shared her thoughts and accusations.
Moral of the story, know your facts before you accuse. Before you put it online for the world to see.