Special Issue- Zoombombing

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Some experts indicated that, “human beings are social species which require safe and secure social surroundings to survive. Satisfying social relationships are essential for mental and physical well beings. Impaired social relationship can lead to loneliness. Loneliness can lead to various psychiatric disorders.”

Scientific American reported that, “with increasing numbers of people isolated because of quarantine and social distancing, COVID-19 is not the only public health threat we should be worried about- loneliness is one as well.”

While loneliness makes some people vulnerable to become a potential victim of various criminal activities such as human trafficking, often survivors of various criminal activities- such as hate crimes- may feel isolated and need support groups to find and connect with individuals with similar experience.

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, and/or coercion for labor and/or commercial sexual exploitation of an individual for the trafficker or others.

Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people.

Dear friends, many community members may feel lonely and more isolated at this time of COVID-19. Everyone has been trying to be creative to overcome this social distancing and isolation by engaging online technology and various platforms. For example, many local and national organizations, including various faith congregations, have used live streaming to bring their community together to make people feel connected in this age of social distancing. Sadly, it has brought to our attention that this unprecedented crisis created a new phenomenon called, “Zoombombing”!

On March 24, 2020, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that a white supremacist interrupted a webinar about antisemitism hosted by a Massachusetts Jewish student group by pulling his shirt collar down to reveal a swastika tattoo on his chest. Unfortunately, across the country, including St. Louis, our Jewish community has experienced similar attacks.

This COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented by itself, however, these types of attacks on different community gatherings make this situation even more unprecedented! The hate that begins with religion, faith, race, gender, and nationality never ends with them. If you and/or your community have experienced similar experience, please report it to your U.S. Attorney's Hate Crimes Task Force. You may also contact your local ADL office.

Sources: “Relationship Between Loneliness, Psychiatric Disorders and Physical Health? A Review on the Psychological Aspects of Loneliness; What are the rules of social distancing?; How to Prevent Loneliness in a Time of Social Distancing; What is "Zoombombing" and Who is Behind It?; Hate Crimes and Trauma: A Guide For Supervisors

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