Don't You Dare Judge Amanda Berry, Internet

Cleveland kidnapping victim not immune from trolls

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 1, 2013 11:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you'd been imprisoned and horrifically abused for a decade and then heroically escaped, you'd think the Internet would cut you some slack, right? No, of course you wouldn't think that, because you've been on the Internet. Kidnapping victim Amanda Berry made a surprise appearance onstage at a Cleveland music festival this weekend, smiling and waving to the cheering crowd. This simple, positive moment somehow riled up "the lowest form of opinion generators—Internet commenters," Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon observes. Here are some choice quotes Williams spotted:

  • "It’s just odd given the years of abuse she suffered. Normally she would not have that kind of trust or comfort. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t make sense."
  • "It seems to me she was enjoying it and is gonna use her ordeal to cash in."
  • "A real victim.....lol."
  • Multiple people noted that a man stood behind her and kissed her neck onstage—or, as commenters put it, she was with a "dirt bag hanging all over her" who "groped" and "pawed" at her.
"You don’t expect much beyond a gaping, misspelled void when you stare into the cold dark place that is Internet comments," Williams writes. But it's shocking "that the judging and shaming that rots the soul of online community" applies even to "a woman who spent a decade being abused, because she had the nerve to go outside and be happy. And it sadly presumes that there's an appropriate way to behave after an unfathomable nightmare." Click for Williams' full column, or go here for more on Ariel Castro's sentencing hearing today.

Amanda Berry, one of three women held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade, makes a surprise appearance at the RoverFest concert in Cleveland, July 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Brian Harrell)
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Amanda Berry appears on stage at Roverfest.   (YouTube)

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