Silence of Cyberspace

Silence isn’t golden, it’s just a cover up of noise some do not want or cannot hear. I cannot hear. I am over half deaf. But like Beethoven I hear inside myself deeply. Some cannot stand loud sounds but I drowned myself in the waves of music at decibels that would cause most to cringe. I bury myself within mounds of sound to cover the screams within that I can’t get out and fear to make audible only to find them stifled by people who have their own standards of silence. Some people don’t want to hear screams, hear cuss words, heavy metal music, babies crying, fingernails on a black board. But the silence on what I am about to share must be broken. So please PLEASE try to listen. Try not to cover your ears, your eyes, your mind.

For the past three years I have been on countless dating sites, Jewish shidduchim sites, matchmakers, etc.. Quite literally, I have met, talked to, Skyped with, chatted in text, emails, etc. with well over two hundred people. I had a religious woman tell me I was too picky. However after what I am about to share maybe it is possible that I wasn’t too picky after all.

I have been on a very popular dating site that I believe is international. For multitudes of reasons I limit my search to the country I live in. Still there are over ten thousand people on the site from my country alone. People see a photo, click ‘like’ or ‘X’ if they don’t and it’s that simple. Every ‘like’ gets logged so a person can see who likes them and potentially begin a chat that may or may not lead to further contact.

One day I saw a man on this site. I clicked ‘like’. I never hold my breath as this is no indication of further communication. In the past month I had over nine hundred people visit my profile. It is a fairly high number. I suspect it is that my blonde hair stands out, (not necessarily a point of pride, just born with it). About a month passed and that particular person visited my profile. Within a few days we were talking on the phone and had exchanged emails. Even the first conversation we had was unusually open especially on his part.

Sharing likes and dislikes is common in these encounters. People want to filter out quickly the receptive from the ‘just looking’. After about ten days of many emails and phone calls it was looking quite promising.

I am somewhat religious so finding someone who was compatible with that component was an issue. As time went on hopes and dreams were shared.

The man was well known in the central part of the country. I saw a few notations on the internet to this person so there was some confirmation.

At my middle age I shouldn’t be surprised that the assumption is that I am not twenty and naive to people’s wants and interests. Honestly I actually have been shocked at how bold some people are about intimacies.

When I heard this kind of talk I simply said I was tired and needed to get off the call and rest. I couldn’t process this stuff. I was at work. It kept bugging me. I found myself that night, in the middle of the night looking for every conceivable way to block him on every space we’d communicated. I never did find him on Facebook, even though held said he’d found me there. And while it was brought to my attention that internet fantasies are rarely ever followed through, he was supposed to meet me in my city, he knew where I worked, approximately where I lived. He’s made eighteen phone calls, blocked by my server in the past six days.

And although this person never met me in person, he got to me mentally through cyberspace.

Everyday people are hurt, offended, harassed, threatened by people on the internet. It clearly is the new frontier of how to control and hurt people. It has been know in countless cases to drive people to commit suicide or do things they might otherwise not do.

I AM NOT BLAMING THE INTERNET! That’s like blaming guns for murder. The gun doesn’t kill people. People kill people. So it’s not the fault of the internet but the people who use it.

I had to share this if to inform even one person of the potential concerns with online dating and matchmaking even in this country.

I also hope more people, parents, therapists, professionals understand this kind of stuff is happening cloaked in layers of seemingly consensual conversation between adults. Nevertheless it can and does happen even non-consensually and does sometimes become unwanted experienced realities.

Silence is not always golden. Speaking out against unwanted cyberspace serious discomforts is important. Please be safe and guarded.

About the Author
Israela Avraham is from the US. She is a private doctor specializing in alternative medicine and supplementing her income as a medical massage therapist in four hotels here having previously come from a six figure income. She has been a masorti/conservative rabbi turned Orthodox to make Aliyah.
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