The Drop

by Lori Dwyer on September 2, 2012 · 11 comments

This post has sat for weeks now in the dark of my Drafts folder. I may have deleted it without ever publishing it, it’s so black and ugly and oily and it sits on my stomach likes a slick of rancid fat.

But then all hell broke loose in the direction of Aussie quasi-celebrity Charlotte Dawson on Wednesday. She ended up in hospital on Wednesday night. Long story, short- after outing a Twitter troll to their employer, Ms Dawson was attacked beyond the point of human decency. If you’re very brave, check her stream from the last few hours Wednesday night, when she began retweeting the worst of the worst tweets tagged with #DieCharlotte. I wish I were joking. I’m not.

I know that my reaction to this, the anger I feel, is tainted by what’s happened to me, and exsapreated by the fact that Twitter has always been one of my soft places to fall- Tweeps have been nothing but good to me.

But fuck I am pissed off. People are idiots. You think this is funny?

To just compound the bullying culture we’re so immersed in here we can’t even see it, a stack of articles have come out further attacking Charlotte Dawson. For not ‘just ignoring it’. For taking something as ‘stupid’ as someone telling her to hang herself seriously. And because, hey, she’s been nasty herself in the past. Because, shame on her, she should have just shut up and not retweeted the disgusting nastiness coming her way.

What crap. If we can find a way to blame the victim, that makes the shame less for the perpetrators and the cowards who allow bullies to stand behind freedom of speech.

There is no excuse for this. None. Nada. Nothing. Full stop.

And, as Charlotte Dawson has said, if you’re going to say this kind of crap, be prepared to stand up and put your name to it.

Because this isn’t funny. This isn’t something you use a schoolyard taunt, a joke, a stir. THIS IS FUCKING REAL.

This is what I live with everyday. This is the reality of what a hundred dickheads where ‘joking’ about on Twitter the other night. And if they weren’t ‘joking’, this is the reality they wanted to see.

I just can’t comprehend it.


*Trigger, trigger, trigger. This post contains graphic imagery, suicidal themes and references, and would not even be allowed to be screened in this country, never mind classified anything.

I wish, vehemently, that I remembered what it was like to consider a post of this nature inappropriate or shocking. Welcome to my reality– what you are about to read is a matter of fact to me, a matter of every day life… I think about this stuff every single day.

I want a vacation.*

There is a certain inert posture that you know. You know that you know it, you can visualize it in you remind right now if you try… but you couldn’t tell me where the image originated, I’m sure.

If you’re lucky.

There is a certain set of the body, a certain posture that tells us when a person is unconscious. Never having seen a corpse, I can’t speak with certainty, but I’m imagine it’s much the same, only different– something about the way their body sits that just is not right. Something that screams at your primal neurons that something has gone very, very wrong here.

The posture of a person hanging by their neck is the same again… only worse, in that it’s so goddamn fucking unnatural.

I see it in my sleep.

The weight of a person, unconscious, suspended by the back of their neck. Head shifted slightly forward on an angle that, again, is just not right, that screams that something is wrong… deep down, you know a lot about your own biological psychology, and everything you know pumps your heart with the kind of adrenaline that is only released when your psyche senses mortal danger.

It’s everywhere.

Fuck not being able to discuss suicide– I couldn’t get what I’m writing right now published in any newspaper on the country. But watch MacGuyver in the middle of the night on free–to–air TV and see a gallows, a noose… a drop. No warning, no foresight; just the room suddenly spinning and me sobbing to my friends to change the channel, change the channel, change the fucking channel now please.


My mate Bunny brings me a present, it’s a Papa Smurf stuffed and happy, a short white cord attached to his hat with a suction cap to hang him on the window. And I do and it takes me weeks, weeks to look at it properly… there is something about the posture he hangs with, the way the cord and the suction cup make him sit that terrifies me, that make my heart skip every time I see him from the corner of my eye.

It’s everywhere.

A skit on the radio laughs about our prime minister jumping off a roof. The Simpsons (Halloween episode twenty two, for those of you playing along at home) has Bart and Milhouse and they have nooses around their necks and as the scene finishes they drop and that’s not funny, that’s so not fucking funny I could scream until I die.

It’s not the rope not anymore. Work me through the trauma of the rope and the yelling and what I’m left with is the drop (“There goes my hero, watch him as he falls…“), that awful nanosecond of free fall before there is no slack in life and your chance is up and over and who the fuck knew that nerve existed, anyway?

The drop. And the posture, that awful dead cold posture of someone who’s weight is suspended in a way no one’s should ever be.

That… and the slightest, most chilling sound…. another one of those things that chase me in my sleep, torment me in my dreams…

The tiniest, slightest creaking sound… the rope, creaking slightly as I shook him. (Why didn’t it break? It never occurred to me until know, that creak, what it did… it stopped me in my tracks, unwilling and unable to shake him too hard because all I can see is taught rope cutting into flesh and I don’t want to hurt him and why didn’t the rope fucking break?)


Ahhhh… Fuck. Sometimes I think it will be so simple to write things out… and obviously, it’s not.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Meri September 4, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Human nature sux big time
Get humans together and we have the potential for great good or more often great harm!


The Flying Drunken Monkey September 4, 2012 at 1:31 am

Fuck. Oh Lori just….fuck. Xxxxxxxxxx


Sapphyre September 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thank you for writing this Lori. You are a champion of people who can't fight for themselves and I give you massive kudos for that.

Suicide is not funny. DH had suicidal thinking most days for years.

My dear friend who started a new job a few weeks ago has been loving it. And then something happened one day at work. People had the flu and one of them made a joke about how she'd kill herself if she was still sick tomorrow. And the rest of the group started discussing how they'd kill themselves. Not a topic of conversation for the lunch room, people!

My friend, who has self-harmed and tried to commit suicide herself, and had a dear friend hang herself last year, just sat their quietly trying not to cry and freak out. Later she asked her supervisor if this sort of thing went on a lot. (She has not revealed her MH problems.) She revealed her friend's suicide. Fortunately, her supervisor saw how upsetting it was and promised to curtail similar conversations quick smart in the future.

Some people who suicided have left notes saying they wouldn't have done it if one person had said hello or how are you to them that day. RUOK Day is coming up in 9 days. Please everyone, ask someone how they are that day, if not every day.


Linda D September 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

There are some things I've never been able to comprehend. Years ago, when crowds would cheer on those being executed with a guillotine? How could they do such a thing? Nazi Germany and a race being hunted down and exterminated? Surely that couldn't happen again. But, in a way it did, on Twitter the other night. I saw that rapid mob-mentality and it was just so disturbing. Some of the most horrendous thoughts were being uttered to another human being. And they were gloating of it.

When I first saw this stream I thought, "Oh, I hope Lori's not following this" because I found it so deeply disturbing. Hopefully it's shocked our society out of thinking that trolling is something we can shrug off. It's symptomatic of something deeper in our society that needs to be stopped. We need to stand up and say that this is not the society we want.

Thinking of you today and always x

Reply September 3, 2012 at 8:59 am

Random anecdote: There's a poster for a new TV show up at the bus stop near my work and it has a man sitting with his legs crossed and in the corner of the image is a rope, tied in that most awful of knots. And everytime I see it, even though I don't even know you properly, I just 'internet-know' you, I think of you and how something like that, that if you were driving past, might effect you. I think about how loaded the image is and how they've just chucked it into the TV promo at the bus stop as if it's nothing. Everytime I see it, I think, "What if Lori had to walk past that every day?"

On the online troll note – as much as I adore the internet for everything it's given me (a job, the ability to live far from my friends but keep in contact with them, education (I do courses online), a place to put my stories so it's not just me keeping them close and unread…) I also hate it for it's dark side. The innate cruelty of humans is sometimes staggering. One wonders if they are so cruel and awful outside the realm of their annoymous keyboard tapping and clacking? What's happened to these people to make them so full of hate?


Karen September 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I agree with Spagsy:
It is total bullshit and hurtful and fucking NOT FUNNY.
Let's head out for a freaking ice cream cone…I'm buying.


Suzanne September 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. It moved and unnerved me in all the ways it should.

As an aside, I'm so, SO grateful that my generation JUST missed out on being the social media generation – we were still myspacing back then! I sort of feel like facebook and twitter should be offbounds until 18. for the sake of damaging your future self. Not that that would have changed anything in Charlotte's case, but it's a dangerous, dangerous tool that people need to be taught how to use safely.


fifi_labelle1 September 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I watched Charlotte's twitter stream last week & was so disturbed by the hatred and total lack of respect for life that some people have. Some of us have experienced how quickly life can be taken away and maybe that's what makes us appreciate it all so much more. I'm disgusted by the lack of respect that some people have for another's experiences and this past week I have felt saddened and disillusioned…….I'm still really lost for words and shocked how it all ended up playing out last week.

As always though I think you write passionately from your heart and I hope that your writing helps you in your journey…..xxxxx


Anonymous September 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Mob mentality has always existed, it is just a new medium and maybe a higher feeling of anonymity when a person can hide behind a twitter name and temporary email address. I am shocked that the media, and even a few of my friends, seem to be excusing it. I am terrified of what my daughter may face in a few years in high school :(


Spagsy September 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I read this wanting to say something. I know I have to say something- refer to your previous post about people trying (and failing) to say things to make you feel better ok the post made me want to stop trying to find something to say to make you feel better. But I still had this niggling feeling that I wante to say something.

That maybe if I said something it would help – in some strange way- prove your point that suicide is something to not be ashamed of, something that if more people talked about, there would be more people talking and less people 'doing' it…

But unfortunately while I can (poorly) articulate WHY I want to say something, I just don't know
What to say. Except fuck.
"faaark" I am rendered speechless as that is the only thing that comes to me.

That and a longing to give you a hug.


Amanda Hardy September 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

I've thought about bullying, cyber-bullying, for a long time. How each generation keeps inventing it on their own, this incredible unjustifiable irrational cruelty. Cruelty they don't even know they're perpetuating, that they won't even remember having committed in five years, but their target will remember for life.

And because it's so dark, so very dark a topic, we don't want to talk about it. That, and because we just don't have any answers.

But it needs to be more than talked about. It needs to be taught. Same way you teach Sex Ed – because generation after generation keeps coming up with the same urges and making the same life-threatening (AIDS, rape) life changing (pregnancy) mistakes. You teach it to keep kids safe, and people say YOU'RE TEACHING THEM TO HAVE SEX!! No. You're teaching them to know where their natural curiosity leads. Putting something dark into the open to lessen its impact.

Same with violence. We need to teach Violence Ed. Kids need to know what harm their words can cause. They need to know how to hurt people, how to step in if they see someone getting hurt. Who to ask for help.

Violence is instinctive. Stopping violence isn't. It's tricky and it needs to be taught systematically in schools, and taught young. Because if we keep hiding from it, it keeps hurting people twice -when it happens, and again when they feel the survivors guilt, their own recriminations for having let it happen to themselves.

Xxx. Hope your day gets better. Manda


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