On Bullying

Wow.  It has been an intense past couple days.  My mind is still spinning a bit over it and probably will for some time.

I have to say a hearty thank you to all of those that have commented, messaged, emailed etc. giving me your support, e-hugs and advice.  At first I was a bit terrified of what the hell was going on but you all made it bearable.  If I end up with a few new friends out of this it may have *almost* have been worth it.  If nothing else, it’s the definite silver lining in all of this.  So again, thank you.

However, the negatives… oh what is positive without a negative to balance life out.  The biggest detractors, Emily included, have said (multiple times) that if I didn’t enjoy this drama, I would have just deleted my review and moved on.  I would have never made a blog post and I certainly wouldn’t still be talking about it.  The horse doth hath been beatenth.  Or something like that 😉  I know that I will not turn a single one of you onto my side so to speak but this is my blog and I can write what I want and if I want to defend myself to these claims, so be it.

As a child, I was sexually molested by my older brother.  Yeah yeah, that’s beyond bullying I know but hear me out.  I was 5 years old and in Kindergarten and my brothers friends watched.  They went home and told their parents and the entire small town I was from knew about it.  At that age the smallest thing is embarrassing such as forgetting your socks on “Sock Day” at school (yep, I still cringe when I remember this) so imagine this kind of a story getting out and it being all over town.  I was humiliated but furthermore, I was teased.  I was teased so bad I went home crying almost every day from school.  Kids can be so damn cruel sometimes.  The bullies had found a ripe story and ran with it and I was blamed for what happened to me and even told I deserved it.  Sound familiar?  We ended up moving across the town, I changed schools and thankfully the furor died down.

Fast forward a few years to 7th grade.  Our schools merged and the kids that I had left behind remembered me – and my past.  It all came back with a vengence at a time that I was pretty fragile.  My Mom was dying from emphysema and I spent most of my spare time taking care of her.  My brother was in the Navy and was still a bone of contention between our parents.  My Mom sided with my brother in the “incident” as we called it, my Dad with me.  It was to the point my parents were about to divorce but my Mom’s illness was too bad for my Dad to just leaver her, especially without insurance.  So, life sucked at the time.  Then all of that shit came back up and the bullies, now more experienced and cruel at 13, were beyond awful.  I never stood up to them, instead I used all the strength I had just to get through the day to get home and take care of Mom.  I can’t begin to tell you though how hard those years were and how much anxiety I still feel looking back at 7th grade.

Over the summer of my 7th grade year, my brother, who if you recall was in the Navy – AND gay, died.  The official story we got was that he committed suicide after being outed as gay by his fellow military “brothers” and he was bullied so badly he killed himself.  There is a lot of grey area however and to this day I still can’t say for certain if he was murdered by a bunch of assholes or if he really did kill himself because of the assholes but the cause of either scenario is that he died as an end result of being bullied.  No matter what he did to me in the past (and trust me, we didn’t get along remotely after the incident) he was still my brother and what happened to him was shameful.  You may read that and think “wow” or hell, I’ve even had people ask how I’m still sane after all of that.  Instead, the kids I went to school with thought this was a great thing to leap on and again, I endured more bullying teasing me that my brother committed suicide and asked if I made him do it.  Again, kids are cruel.  Again, I just endured it, not having the strength to battle back.  They did finally stop though when my Mom died that Christmas Day.  Thank GOD.  I guess my life had reached such a sad point that even the bullies didn’t quite know how to turn that one around.

This brings me to now… can you understand why now that I’m “grown up” I don’t tolerate bullies and refuse to let them make me cower?  See why I would stand up for someone that is being bullied?  I sure as hell didn’t want this drama on my doorstep but I also wasn’t going to stand by and not let my voice be heard regarding what happened.

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  1. I’ve known you many years and don’t often hear you speak so in depth about your childhood. I know it deeply affects you but you have never been a “pity me” mentality. I’m only putting this out there if more of Emily fan girls are saying you just want sympathy – that is not your way and never has been.
    Personally, I would not take the blog post down. Ms Giffin still has yet to issue a formal apology (which I know wouldn’t mean much at this point) so to me, her bully mentality and mean girl behavior needs to be documented for when it happens again… and we know it will, people that refuse to take responsibility for their actions NEVER learn.
    I think the only way I would take it down is if she did issue a heartfelt apology PERSONALLY to both you and the other reviewer but this is YOUR voice. YOU have EVERY right to be heard.
    In closing, might I add her suggesting that her bullying tactics would cease if you took down your bad review is blackmail. I will NEVER read another book of hers, support any movies her novels may be made into and I will direct others to do the same.
    Best to you, always.

    1. Thank you Mary!

      Yeah, I don’t do the woe is me shit. It’s not my thing. I cringe about bringing this stuff up (hello naysayer saying WELL WHY DID YOU!?) but I feel that without the backstory, the end result (me being upset for AvidReader being called a psycho by Emily’s husband) isn’t quite as understandable. Heck, there’s a lot of friends that don’t even know much of this story – they know my family is all deceased but that’s it.

      1. Damn, Corey, I’m…in awe. You’ve been brave from an age where most people have trouble spelling the word, much less understanding it. And you’re still fighting real bullies every day, unlike some whiny ass titty baby writers I could mention.

    1. As you can tell, I am not a very good writer 😉 Also, where would I start? Too many tragedies, not enough book space.

  2. Wow! You are a strong woman, and I admire you even more now. Thank you for sharing that, even though it was from a painful past.

    This is a very powerful testament to what cyber bullying or playground bullying can do, and I think it says a lot about you that you stood up for avidreader, and FOR YOURSELF. Now that you’re older, can fight back and defend yourself, you should consider this a triumph!

    And for what it’s worth: I think Amazon should re-instate your review. You have a right to your opinion regarding the author or the book. They are not mutually exclusive.

    All the best to you Corey!

  3. Our forefathers died for the right to freedom of speech, whether it be in written form, from the pulpit, or on knees is private prayer. This is your blog…your “cyber home.” Say what you want. I also hope you continue to review books, because if you don’t, EG wins, and she doesn’t deserve to. As a new author, I’m scared of the bad review, but I also realize not everyone is going to like what I write. I hope I never lose my focus that I write because I love to and if someone enjoys my story, that’s just icing on an already delicious cake. I’d give my eye teeth just to be on Amazon’s 100 top selling list, let along #2 on NYT.

    Personally, I think she didn’t end it right away for the same reason a child throws a temper tantrum. Bad attention is better than no attention, and the adverse publicity, unfortunately, put her in the limelight, albeit in a poor light.

    Thank you for sharing an intimate, tragic page from you life. Bullying should never be tolerated, but children don’t have the life skills, or sage wisdom age affords adults to cope. It appears you chose to be a survivor rather than a victim, taking from the adversities of life that which will make you stronger, and casting off the rest . Kudos to you for standing your ground.

  4. Bravo to you for sharing! You endured true bullying and survived with the ability to stand up for others. Thank you for acting on your beliefs, supporting that Amazon reviewer, and not backing down.

    It is amazing to me how much author “bullying” is going on lately, and how these authors feel that they are the ones being “victimized” by negative reviews. Unbelievable. The one thing that struck me with the whole incident is that the author’s husband behavior was based on the review having been the first posted by Avid Reader, as if that makes ones opinion less valid. I post almost all of my reviews on Goodreads, but once in a while I will post on Amazon. Usually when I feel strongly against the book and feel the need to put out a “warning.” I have never had a single comment about a negative review on Goodreads, but have been attacked on Amazon. Perhaps it is the forum.

    In any event, glad to have found your blog. And I wanted to commend your actions as admirable.

  5. You didn’t do anything wrong. That author was shameful for trying to deflect the blame instead of just owning up to the fact that the three of them (herself, her hubby, and her assistant) royally fucked up by jumping on a reviewer, then attacking you.

    Stand your ground.

    1. When dramas such as what Corey suffered through go down, many reviewers, bloggers and readers become disheartened. We’ve been told our opinions matter and that Amazon (as well as other similar sites) want these reviews. We’ve been told authors need them, and even occasionally appreciate them.

      And then we watch as honest reviewers are tarred and feathered for those same honestly expressed opinions.

      Corey stood up for what she believed and has received a lot of respect from all quarters. The other reviewer may not have been aware of what was going on, but Corey was prepared to stand up for her anyway, and stand by her choices.

      Ms Dalton, your willingness to come out and support Corey is a really lovely thing. I did give a little fangrrl squeal when I saw your name, but I also feel so much happier to know a) that other authors were aware of what was happening, and b) do not support it. It is not easy to speak against a colleague, but it is nice that you have.

      Corey – I’ve spoken to you about the review events elsewhere. Reading your blog post here makes your honesty and willingness to stand up for others even more meaningful and valuable. Good on you, and best of luck!

  6. There’s not much I can say as a response, except thank you for sharing and showing others that 1) they aren’t alone in their tragedies; and 2) that there are still honourable people in this world. Thank you for not being one of the bazillion people who would walk past someone being beaten bloody on a sidewalk (which is what the internet seems to have become…a virtual sidewalk).

    I would hope that Mrs. Giffen would reach out to you and offer a proper apology as well as learn from this going forward. But even if she doesn’t, just know that you did something worth doing. And people will respect you for it.

  7. Corey,
    I am in awe of you. You are an incredibly strong woman – God bless you.
    Thank you for sharing your memories. I support you fully in your stance against bullying, no matter who the bully is.

    For what it’s worth, it sounds to me that Emily Giffin would have deleted her Facebook posts and offered an apology and moved on . . . except that she has enjoyed the drama too much. Pot, meet kettle.

    Stay strong, Corey!

  8. Hi Corey,
    I found your blog through Reading and Chicken’s link to the Emily Giffin post. I wanted to contact you to tell you that your posts have inspired me to donate money to the Megan Meier Foundation. Thanks for being so very honest, both in that post and in this one.

  9. Only just arrived here via the Emily Griffin furor. Just wanted to say that your stand is understandable and justified. Perhaps this is too personal but I just wanted to tell you that you are an incredible person for going though all that you had too without letting it break you. Not many people could have gone through what you did and survived. You’re an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing and best wishes.