Having to live with the guilt of hurting someone unintentionally is really a traumatic experience. As soon as I instinctively shared on Facebook what eventually turned out to be a rumor about the missing Bhutanese student in Australia about two weeks ago, I felt as though I slipped off the edge of this entire world. Although I removed the post as soon as I doubted its authenticity, somebody was quick enough to take the screenshot of the story and started sharing it across Facebook and WeChat. It was indeed this copy of the post that ignited the issue and went viral on social media. So I feel it was this copy of the post that did more harm than mine. I believe everybody who deliberately shared the post to defame me should also be equally guilty of spreading the rumor and hurting the sentiments of more people. Many people soon contacted me privately and accused me of posting the story. I had to spend hours trying to explain and apologize to them individually. At last, I was able to make peace with most of them except a few whom I personally know. A former school-counsellor who is currently studying in Perth even went to the extent of defaming me openly on my Facebook wall. He openly questioned my professional ethics as a counselor and I fully agree that I have overlooked it when I blindly shared what I heard in a WeChat forum. But if we turn the table around, he is also a professional counselor, and yet the way he is using the social media to launch personal attacks on me does not demonstrate his ethical practice either. He seems to be a better counselor than me with good understanding of counseling ethics and values, but I can’t understand why he is so keen to spread the hatred towards me through social media. As a counselor, he should be able to see me just as one of his clients or an ordinary human being at this point of time. . He must know that a counselor is also a human being and he/she can never be perfect all the time. I have made the mistake and I have accepted it. So what is the point in digging the dried shit again and again?
Despite all the defamatory comments on social media about me, I kept quiet because I was terribly guilty of what I did. The worst thing was that there were still few people who seemed to enjoy what I was going through and kept sharing the screenshot of the post randomly across Facebook including my own timeline probably to make me feel more guilty. I had to personally request them not to do so but they would not remove it. For the first time in my life, I realized how dangerous can social media be.
Meanwhile, the issue seemed to subside a bit as both Facebook and WeChat went cold again with the passage of time. But a few days back, I was once again shocked to find another story trending on Facebook and WeChat about me. The author who has published the story under a pseudonym has once again accused me of being a rumor-monger and has insulted me to the core. The very fact that the author has randomly published his post across public forums on Facebook and WeChat clearly indicates that it is purely intended to defame me and sabotage my reputation. Looking at the choice of words used and the underlying intention of the story, I think I know who is behind it. Since the author has repeatedly accused me of self-fabricating the rumor, I think I should clarify it briefly here.
To be honest, I was not the creator of the story I had posted two weeks ago. I heard people discussing it in a WeChat forum and someone shared that he got this update from Perth, Australia. My greatest fault was that I acted on impulse and went ahead to share it on Facebook. I deleted it immediately after I realized it was not ethical to do so, but the saddest thing was that by the time I removed it, somebody had already taken the screenshot and instantly the matter got out of my hand. There wasn’t anything I could do to stop the circulation. I even posted a public apology to the family, relatives and close friends of the victim but I had to remove it later upon the request of one of the victim’s friends who wanted us to forget everything about the issue. He was kind enough to understand what I was going through as a result of the incident and reminded me that everybody makes mistakes and that I am not an exception. Even one of the victim’s relatives was more empathetic and understanding than my fellow-counsellor who went wild with me. He comforted me that everything would be fine and that I should not worry much. It was such a huge relief for me.
However, I have learned a big lesson from this incident. I have promised that I shall be always careful with my activities on social media henceforth. I am still deeply disturbed by the incident and with some people around who are still working hard to destroy my image, my mind is still not in peace. Whenever I think of the issue, the world seems to move on without me. I am extremely sorry for any damage I might have caused to the victim and his loved ones. It was totally unintentional. My love and prayers are still with the victim and his loved ones at this point of time. May God bless them as always!