A Widow’s Reflection on Social Media Violence and Grieving the Loss of a Stranger

By Sabra Robinson

What cannot be said, will be wept – Sappho

Note: This blog is transparent about the emotional effects of witnessing a death on social media as a result of black market organ trafficking. My condolences are extended to the families of those killed online or by suicide by way of live or post video recordings. The opinions expressed in this blog are mine alone so please read at your own risk.

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You’ve seen them, you know, those violent and horrible videos of violence on Facebook; the ones that have several thousand likes, shares and comments and are not taken down until it’s too late.

I give myself a pat on the back for ignoring videos that display horrific crimes and suicides across the world. Nonetheless, one or two may come across my newsfeed that’s already set in motion and it meets the eye. Hence, the purpose of this blog.

I watched a video about two weeks ago that disturbed me horribly, so much so that it had me in tears. According to the caption, a young lady was lured unknowingly by the promise of a new job – a new life. Her journey was paid for in full but upon arrival, her dreams became a nightmare. She became a statistic out of the thousands of girls lured for the sake of trafficking, whether for sex, labor or for unintentional organ trafficking of human body parts. This lure was for the latter.

Why did I watch the video?

-I saw a young girl seemingly the same age as my daughter in an awkward place
-The start of the video intrigued me
-I was curious

There was no gore, no blood, no screams. She died a horrible death in a remote area electrified by the presence of her killers; she was their prized catch of the moment.

The video showed enough for me to realize that her death was unexpected, and she didn’t see it coming. My emotions got the best of me; I was infuriated that it was not removed sooner. I was infuriated that it was allowed to be shared over and over again. I was infuriated that Facebook had not yet removed this sadistic attack on a young life which accumulated thousands of comments tagging others to see.

Then I thought of her family and the other families of those whose deaths had not made it to social media. I thought about how the families may have provided a farewell party, anticipating their safe arrival and even much so, anticipating their portion of earnings to be remitted back to the household. But for this particular young woman, I asked myself, do they even realize she’s missing?

As a widow, what do you do when you’re faced with an assembly of emotions that you would normally reserve for those private grieving periods for your husband? You’ve already expressed your loss to a point which you’ve vowed to never weep like that again, but then this happens; a death is publicized publicly for the world to see.

I get that death happens and life continues on. But you try your best to move on and you can’t because you’re grieving the gruesome death of someone you don’t know, which makes it even more difficult (at least for me).

You can’t console them
You can’t touch them
You most certainly can’t help them

They’re alive one minute and the next they’re gone – permanently.

Depending on your beliefs, grief conditions us to prime the body for a burial or cremation of the loved one but in cases like this, it’s impossible because there is no body, there’s no visitation to view the body, there’s no funeral, no burial, no rites nor a procession.

How would you cope?
How do you cope?
How did I cope?

Since viewing the recording, I’ve changed how I allow my mind to receive and act on problematic online viewings:

I became aware of my surroundings, my social media, and email advertisements
I will be selective about what posts will flood my newsfeed and report violent videos and graphics if they somehow come through
I researched this horrific trend to see what I could do to help
I intend to speak to my therapist about it
I prayed for her family
I informed my daughter
I cried.
I wrote about it!

The video really shook my spirit. I kept reflecting on the young girl’s face of how innocent she appeared before her death. One moment she was alive and the next, she had her wings.

It could have been my child.

A few days after I reported the video, Mark Zuckerberg posted his plans to combat violent recordings and pictures posted on Facebook (I doubt if my reporting it was the cause of the post). Nevertheless, it brought a smile to face and gladness in my heart because it was acknowledged by a major social media company who vowed to do something.

I’m hoping that this young lady’s family and the families of the thousands of other men, women, and children can at least rest a little better in knowing that many of us care and we’re trying our hardest to do something about it, too.

My sincere condolences and prayers are extended to the family and I pray that justice is served swiftly to the murderers, deceivers, liars and cowards behind the cameras.

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Resources:

What You Need to Know About Human Organ Trafficking. 

Body Snatchers: Organ harvesting For Profit: Kidneys and other organs are selling to the highest bidder on the black market. 

The alarming number of children killed for black market organ trade

Raid on Illegal Body Part Selling Operation in Chicago, Warned In Hidden Colors 3

After Murders, Rapes Shown, Facebook Will Hire 3,000 to Check Videos

Feel free to visit more of Sabra’s writings at BlackWomenWidowsEmpowered.com

About 

Sabra has been widowed since 2012 after 23 years of marriage and is
the founder of Black Women Widows Empowered non-profit organization.
She is a certified Christian grief counselor, GriefShare facilitator,
Career-Growth Coach, and is available for speaking engagements. As the author of The Lost Sheep: How I Got Over the Hump, Sabra has also contributed her writing to Blavity.com.

Sabra’s writing style is primarily reflective-based tapped with a sense of world awareness.

A Baltimore native, she currently resides in Charlotte with her children.

To contact, visit her website, or read more of Sabra’s writings go to www.BlackWomenWidowsEmpowered.com

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