The internet has become a platform for bullies and unhappy individuals to target strangers with hurtful words. Sadly, certain groups of people are more commonly victimized.
It appears that some individuals derive pleasure from hurting others through their words and technology provides them with an outlet to do so. However, in this particular case, the victim, Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson, was able to confront those who attempted to bully her.
Jennifer was shopping at her local Walmart when she lost her balance and fell while trying to catch herself on nearby shelving. Jennifer struggles with mobility and relies on a scooter.
Jennifer managed to get up on her own. Sadly, she soon discovered she wasn’t as alone as she believed. A stranger chose to photograph her fall and share it on the internet, instead of offering assistance.
Many people online mocked Jennifer for her size and for falling. They displayed unexpected hostility, insulting her with various names and terms. They criticized her weight, labeled her as lazy, and openly delighted in her misfortune.
These individuals were unaware that Jennifer is a full-time mother dealing with health problems and enjoys crocheting. They also didn’t know that Jennifer is not afraid to stand up for herself.
Many individuals might avoid confrontation when facing online negativity from numerous strangers. Jennifer, though, chose to defend herself. She was aware that her actions would draw further attention to the image taken of her without permission, but she went on with it. In her post, she states that she is sharing this because some people find it amusing to mock those with disabilities.
Jennifer addressed claims of her being “lazy” by clarifying that she has spondylolisthesis, a spinal issue that can cause leg pain and weakness. This condition makes it more likely for her to fall when standing for long periods.
Jennifer shared that she was experiencing significant pain and weakness on the day in question. Her mental health was also not in good shape, but she still went grocery shopping for her family. As she tried to lift a box of soda for her husband, she slipped and fell. Jennifer thought she heard laughter nearby, but didn’t pay much attention to it, as she’s sadly accustomed to people mocking her in public.
“You can not see my disabilities but they are there and they are real. So next time you see photos making fun of people just remember you know nothing about these people or the struggles they face every day. It is never just harmless fun to laugh at someone.”
Jennifer addresses claims of laziness and assumptions that she “chose” to be overweight or physically challenged. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing that obese individuals deserve respect and should not be ridiculed.
Jennifer states that she is not asking for apologies or pity, but only for understanding and kindness. She reminds people that she is a person too and should be treated as such.
Jennifer’s bravery and empathy in confronting negativity, particularly online, inspires us. People who stand up for themselves and others make the world a better place.
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