Scroll on by…
I see this a fair bit on social media if you don’t like it just scroll on by. This is often coupled with the statement that everyone is entitled to an opinion, you should respect that. Well, is it really that simple. I suppose it’s true that we are all entitled to hold an opinion on things, but is it really just a difference of opinion or a disagreement on an issue when a person maintains a position in the light of clear evidence to the contrary?
In recent years the Australian Army have been forced to face the issue of sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender inequality being rampant within its ranks. It has been an issue for a long time. For too long it was not addressed and swept away as an anomaly or isolated incidents. In the midst of this the Head of the Australian Army, David Morrison in a statement about the issue declared to his soldiers that “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Telling his soldiers if they walk past any of these issues they are effectively accepting them as Ok.
Back to social media, and in particular so-called autism support groups, these are groups are often dominated by parents of autistic children, predominantly mothers. They are a playground for conspiracy theories, quack treatments and cures and of course the ubiquitous lies of the vaccine and autism link myth.
Links to quack sites are regularly posted, to sites such as vaxtruth.com naturalnews.com and similar havens of absolute rubbish and lies.
Should we just scroll on by and not note that these are indeed quackery, disproven claims which are not supported by the scientific evidence?
Should we just put this down to a difference of opinion?
Statements about abusive treatments curing a child with bleach, or unregulated bovine hormones? Should we just scroll on by and mark it down as just a difference of opinion, you know they are entitled to have that opinion?
In a sense, it could be reasonable to say yes, you could just scroll on by and leave them to the false beliefs. It would certainly enable a more peaceful and conflict-free social media group.
But here’s the thing….
It has become such an issue in some groups that rules are set in place to ban those particular posts, which, seem to be utterly ignored by the evangelical fervour of the vaccine causes autism brigade.
And here’s another thing…
These groups are often joined by parents who have just discovered or are in the process of discovering that their child is autistic. With newly diagnosed kids, they are in a state of shell-shock, they are looking for answers, and unchallenged rubbish leaves them vulnerable.
A link to a so-called miracle cure that is left unchallenged is fertile ground for vulnerable and shell-shocked parents to be deceived.
So I posit that it is far from the right thing to scroll on by. To leave such lies and deception unchallenged. It becomes in effect that “the standard you scroll past is the standard you accept”.
These lies must be challenged. These abusive treatments must be stopped. These evangelical spreaders of quackery must be held to account for their lies and misinformation.
No, we should not just scroll on by. We should stop, we should speak up.
Because no, it is not just a difference of opinion, it is incorrect, untrue and false information. It should and must be challenged and shown for what it is.
Please, I beg you, never just scroll on by past lies, quackery and dangerous treatments.
The truth must be spread, being autistic is #DifferentNotLess, and autism does not need to be cured.