A little under a week ago hackers calling themselves The Impact Team dumped over 30 million Ashley Madison clients’ personal information onto the Dark Web. This is being called one of the largest data breaches in the world. As of today there have been two suspected, yet still unconfirmed, suicides as a result of this breach.
Regardless of how we feel about a website whose slogan states, ‘Life is short. Have an affair’, it is not justification for the kind of comments that are flooding social media right now. It seems that while the majority of people are against infidelity entirely, many of those same people are taking to social media to gleefully delight in the suffering of others. I have seen comments so vile regarding the deaths, extortion crimes, and hate crimes being committed because of this breach that I am actually deeply saddened.
Before we fall in line and jump into the role of judge and jury, we should ask ourselves exactly how far reaching this breach will be. This is a criminal violation that will haunt people for the rest of their lives.
Things To Consider Before Passing Judgment
- Do we know what people were thinking when they signed up to this site?
- Do we know that someone didn’t have a weak moment and then turn around and change their mind? And do we know that these spouses didn’t confess all of this to their significant others before this hack went down?
- Do we know whether or not two married people were in an open relationship and both agreed to sign up with Ashley Madison?
- Do we know what goes on behind closed doors?
The answer to all of those questions is that we don’t know.
Trying to Heal Publicly – Effects of Social Media
Relationships are plagued with difficulties, but a lot of times issues can be worked out; trust can be rebuilt. When someone is feeling such a hopelessness that they feel their only way out is to end their life, there is no chance to rebuild anything. And when millions are making light of the devastation, the feelings of hopelessness and despair are that much stronger. People make mistakes, spouses are unfaithful, but before the public blasts were everywhere, they dealt with it privately, as they should still be able to do.
There are some genuinely poor spouses out there, and I’m sure many of them were account holders with Ashley Madison, but the fact that they are now living this humiliation in front of a very enthusiastic audience is awful. This is real life, families and lives have been damaged to such an extreme that it’s going to take so much for these people to even begin the healing process.
When something as significant as this hack occurs and people are turning to suicide to escape, we need to take a step back for a moment. The jokes and vile comments must end, suicide is never funny, nor is it ever karma. This is just something to think about and maybe consider another side of the situation.
**Updated 09/09/2015 to Include this piece from The Huffington Post.