Duke student’s ordeal a learning opportunity

Illustration by Chris Kindred.

Daniel Parker
Guest Columnist

The Internet has brought with it an increase of people who can’t mind their own business. The cloak of usernames provides cowards with the perfect chance to intrude into the lives of others and pass unfair judgement.

The anonymous nature of the web gives people delusions that their over-the-top insults are somehow justified.

A freshman at Duke University who goes by the name of Lauren in interviews had her porn star alias ‘Belle Knox’ revealed. Afterwards, Lauren dealt with harassment from classmates and strangers. Some even called for her expulsion from the university.

The legal decisions of consenting adults are not anyone else’s business and are not worth the torment of strangers. Condemnation of harmless behavior is a waste of energy.

In no way does Lauren’s job choice affect her academic career. No amount of mental gymnastics can justify calls for her expulsion for the university. Some people even called for the use of violence against Lauren.

The money Lauren received from the films paid for her tuition. People are angry about a student choosing a completely legal route to make money because of their moral objections. No one is harmed by the way this consenting adult makes her money. Although you could make a weak moral argument about her profession, doing so would be unnecessary and cruel.

The threats of violence against Lauren are disturbing. We live in a world of full of war, crime and corruption. Yet some people find themselves wasting their energy on trivial events like this young woman’s personal decisions.

If our country spent its attention on something productive, instead of other people’s business, our world would be better for it. However, some people still find themselves mesmerized by trivial affairs.

An attention deprived section of our population passes judgment on consenting adults for basically harmless activity. Lauren’s decisions honestly aren’t anyone’s business, nor do they justify the level of harassment she has received.

Lauren is inspiring in the way she is owning up to her decision. The way she refuses to back down in the face of numerous threats shows an admirable level of self-assurance and determination.

“The Internet does not dictate my life, my sexuality is not some sort of blackmail to be used against me, granting you ownership over my life or my story. It is my life. It is my story, so I’m refusing to let the bullies win,” Lauren wrote in a column for xoJane.

I’m outraged at the amount of hatred one woman can receive for doing something within her personal freedom. It’s disheartening that people would waste their precious existence on such a pointless crusade.

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