The internet provides a platform for numerous individuals, including bullies and unhappy people, to target strangers with hurtful words. Certain individuals tend to be the primary victims of such attacks even in contemporary times.
It appears that many derive some form of satisfaction from inflicting emotional harm on others using technology, and this situation is no exception.
What sets this particular story apart is the victim’s ability to voice her thoughts and confront those who attempted to hurt her.
On an ordinary day, Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson was shopping at her local Walmart when she lost her balance and fell. Desperately trying to regain her footing, she struggled, especially because she relies on a scooter due to her physical limitations.
Despite the lack of assistance from those around her, Jennifer managed to steady herself.
Unfortunately, Jennifer soon discovered that she wasn’t as alone as she initially believed. Instead of helping her when she fell or checking if she was alright, a stranger decided to take a photograph of her fall and share it online. Users from all over flocked to the post, mocking her for being overweight and ridiculing her fall. Many responded with surprising hostility, hurling insults and derogatory labels at a woman they didn’t even know.
They taunted her about her weight, labeled her lazy, and openly reveled in her misfortune.
Of course, these individuals knew nothing about Jennifer. They were unaware that she is a full-time mother with health issues and a passion for crocheting. They also didn’t know that Jennifer is unafraid to stand up for herself.
While many people would retreat in the face of such hateful online attacks, Jennifer chose to assert herself.
Realizing that addressing the accusations would draw even more attention to the photograph taken without her knowledge, she proceeded with her response.
“The reason I am sharing this is because people find it amusing to laugh at individuals with disabilities,” she explained in her post.
Jennifer confronted the accusations of laziness by explaining her spinal condition, spondylolisthesis, which occasionally causes pain and weakness in her legs. Consequently, the longer she stands, the greater the likelihood of her falling—a circumstance she has grown accustomed to.
She further explained that on the day in question, she was feeling particularly weak and in pain. Despite her physical and mental health struggles at the time, she still went grocery shopping for her family. While attempting to pick up a case of soda for her husband, she slipped and fell hard. She thought she heard laughter nearby but dismissed it, as she sadly became accustomed to encountering rude individuals who made fun of her in public.
“You cannot see my disabilities, but they exist and they are real. So, the next time you encounter photos making fun of people, remember that you know nothing about these individuals or the challenges they face every day. Laughing at someone is never just harmless fun,” she emphasized.
Jennifer also condemned the act of taking the picture itself, stating, “My main point in sharing this is that I didn’t choose to be photographed during a low point in my life.”
She continued to address the accusations of laziness and the assumption that being overweight or physically impaired is a matter of choice.
Importantly, she reminded everyone, “Obese people are treated as less than human and subjected to ridicule. I simply want people to acknowledge that fat people are human beings too.”
In conclusion, Jennifer explained that she wasn’t seeking apologies or pity; rather, she aimed to promote understanding and compassion.
“I am a person, so please treat me like one!”
We are deeply impressed by Jennifer’s poise and empathy in the face of such anger. The world, particularly the online realm, often feels like a negative space, but individuals who stand up for themselves and others truly brighten it.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Please share them in the comments!