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April 5, 2023

Episode 74: Pursuing Breaking the Silence: Empowering Youth Through Film and Conversation with Mollie Leivars

Episode 74: Pursuing Breaking the Silence: Empowering Youth Through Film and Conversation with Mollie Leivars

As technology advances, so do our methods of communication. Social media and the internet have allowed us to connect with people from all over the world, but with that comes the risk of online harassment, commonly known as trolling. In this episode of the podcast, we explore how trolling can affect individuals, how to cope with it, and the power of film in telling stories of those who have experienced this kind of harassment.

Mollie Leivars has experienced online trolling and found it difficult to escape from it. Even when she logged out of social media or turned off her phone, she still worried about others seeing the trolling. The trolling felt more personal when the trolls were acquaintances. The feeling of being targeted still occasionally arises even though it's better now. Social media can be good but also difficult as it makes people constantly accessible. It's not surprising that many individuals are struggling with similar issues.

While it can be challenging to receive negative feedback or trolling on one's work, Mollie advises that it is important not to burn oneself out in the process of creating. She emphasizes not caring as much about the quality of the film and instead focusing on getting the issue across and helping others. While Mollie loves the writing side of filming and the excitement of getting ideas out there, she enjoys the physical aspect of filming the most, despite the serious topics involved.

Filming is a powerful medium for storytelling, and Mollie has used it to explore issues that are not often discussed. The Love of Eve is a film that centers around the issue of county lines and drug dealing. Through this film, she tries to highlight how people involved in these issues are not just statistics or issues, but real people with families and loved ones. The film explores the idea of what people are willing to do for the ones they love, even if it means getting involved in dangerous situations.

During the podcast episode, Mollie shared their experience of being bullied at school and having mental health issues from a young age. Bullying included name-calling, rumors, and online harassment amplified by social media. These experiences drove her to want to help others who are facing similar challenges. However, despite still experiencing bullying, she almost attempted suicide. But the realization that she had more purpose in life stopped her.

Enrolling in a college course for people in similar situations solidified the idea that Mollie had more to do. A teacher who played her films in front of students further confirmed her purpose. Mollie is grateful for the teacher who helped her realize her direction. It goes to show how a single supportive person can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Cyberbullying is a continuous form of bullying compared to traditional school bullying, which could be avoided by not going to certain places. Adults may not fully understand what it's like to be cyberbullied because they did not experience it growing up. Cyberbullying can be 24/7 and has the potential to be more debilitating because it affects a young person's whole world, including their friends and school life. The negativity coming from cyberbullying can be overwhelming and can prevent a young person from growing and developing their perspective on life.

While it's natural to want to fix people's problems, sometimes it's enough to just listen and be there for someone. People often just need someone to talk to; they don't necessarily need all the answers. Knowing that someone cares and is trying can be enough. It's also important to look after yourself because it can be difficult to hear about someone else's struggles.

This podcast episode tackled the topic of online harassment and how it can affect individuals. It's important to know that you're not alone and that there are ways to cope. Additionally, the power of storytelling, as seen through film, can help bring light to important issues and provide support to those who need it. Remember, no matter how tough life gets, there's always someone out there who will listen and help you, even if you can't talk to your family. Keep communicating, keep creating, and keep surviving until you find yourself living more.