#NotGuilty: A Brief Reflection on the First Week

Things have become pretty overwhelming. The interest in covering the #NotGuilty campaign and engaging with it has surpassed all intangible ambition that we had begun with. But as national newspapers get involved, negativity too suddenly becomes far more present. From the mist of the internet’s deepest, darkest depths emerges: trolls. But I will not call them ‘trolls’. Because that gives each particular grey face a pseudo-community which they do not deserve. These singularities suggest ideas that are repulsive. They try to evoke any response that they can.

It is miserable that in response to a campaign about community. About the wonderful unity of man, and a mission to stand tall in adversity…we meet aversion. Distorted keyboard-bashers with masks happily covering their real, human faces. But they only make themselves exceptions. Fantasists too arise, stories with strange erratic discordance that resonate to us that something is wrong. There is something not right.

But. This is irrelevant. Irrelevant to the overwhelming and usurping response that we have already achieved. Those who have suffered assault have come forward, those who have never suffered assault have come forward. Our community has responded to the #NotGuilty campaign, and personally to Ione and her poignant piece. It is not just a campaign of empathy, but sympathy. It is a campaign about stepping forward and remembering that each of us is real and part of something implicit and eternal.

Blurred exceptions, you do not have a community. It is not a community, but a bitter web of grey faces. We stand strong. Ione’s face boldly stands on The Times’ front page. Her words embellish website after website, positive response falls from tweet to tweet, and each Facebook share adds to this interweaving, ever-growing, and ever-fighting community. The pride we feel will not be destroyed. We remain gleeful and enthused. The responses pile up, and the society we live in is lifted. For a moment, our community rises from unanimously implicit, to explicitly present. People are using their voice – their words, and those words enforce, letter by letter, that we exist. And that we exist together.