In June of 2019 I became a victim of cyber abuse. Today, I’ve taken the biggest step towards putting that particular time of my life behind me. This post is about my journey to accepting the events that took place, learning how to build myself up through the experiences I had and the steps I have taken today to make me who I am.
A little history.
Up until the middle of last year I had another blog. This one I was super proud of. I would post regularly and had a group of friends and followers that I would interact with on a regular basis. I held nothing back. I shared stories from my own life, experiences I had and many other types of content. In general, I was pretty active on social media however all of that changed when I started to receive comments on my blog posts. These comments were hurtful and contained vulgar language not fit for anyone to read. The comments insulted my friends, my loved ones and I. The person behind the comments targeted my weight and various other aspects of my physical and mental being. Following the comments, I was registered to several sights including fetish sites, religious extremism websites, white supremacy pages and Craigslist where an advertisement for a house was posted in my name. The final act of this person was to register me for enrollment in a college and a treatment center here in Queensland.
The center where I was registered at offers services for people suffering drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, mental illnesses and other medical conditions and the course I was enrolled into was a weight loss and nutrition management course.
What happened then?
After a week of waking up to new emails and feeling scared to check my phone, I decided that enough was enough. I made contact with the college and treatment centres to discover who it was that had done this to me. It is at this point that I should mention my fear. I was scared to be alone in my own home so I took a trip to see my mum. I was supposed to be celebrating my 25th birthday yet I found that hard to do with so much hanging over my head. The treatment center I called was able to share what information had been given to them on my behalf. The college on the other hand was uncooperative and insisted I pay a cancellation fee. At this point, we thought it was time to head to the police. This turned out to be a waste of time though the officer who assisted me was saddened by the lack of power he had in this case. I was sent home with recommendations of filling out a report with Acorn, an Australian online cyber crime reporting network. After submitting the report all I could do was wait. It took a few weeks to receive a reply from a constable at my local police station. I was advised that He would be visiting me to discuss my case. The visit never came yet I did receive a reply from the ESafety commissioner who advised me that there was nothing to be done and that I should not click on any of the websites that I had been registered on.
What did I do next?
I stopped posting on my blog and created new personal social media accounts under a different name. I followed the advice of the ESafety commissioner’s office and I sought help from a psychologist to build my confidence again. I did my best to wipe the horrible words left by the cruel individual who did this from my mind yet wasn’t always successful. I relied on my friends for support on my down days and did everything I could to surround myself with positivity. After months of feeling afraid of getting back into the blogging world I faced my fears and created this new blog. I cleared my email of the comment notifications and reported the website emails as spam.
This morning I erased all content from my old blog and deleted the blog itself. I took steps to deactivate my old Facebook account by messaging those I wanted to stay connected with on the new account. I have plans of deactivating my old Twitter and Instagram accounts as well. I can’t help feeling sad at the loss of my old blog and the memories attached to my social media accounts but I know that by removing the things that hold me back I’m making room for new memories and experiences that allow me to grow as a person both on and offline.
Advice I have for Others.
The biggest piece of advice I can offer anyone online is to stay safe. Make sure you know what privacy settings can be enabled on your social profiles and examine the content management features and options on your blog or website. I hope what I experienced never happens to anyone but the truth is it will continue to if cyber abuse and cyber fraud are not reported. If you are a victim of cyber abuse and experiencing depression or anxiety, consider making a visit to your doctor for a mental health checkup or clicking on one of the links below.
America. NAMI. National Alliance on Mental Illness
The UK. SANE
Australia. Lifeline Australia
I’m sure this hasn’t been an easy one to read yet I’m glad I wrote it. It has allowed me to work through the rest of my experiences while potentially helping others who have gone through or are going through what I and many others have and do on a daily basis. This post has taken me nearly all day to write but I am glad I took the time I did to complete it. I had many breaks to collect my thoughts and step back from my work for a while. If you read right to the end, I thank you for doing so. It means a lot to me that I am able to continue blogging and that my posts are being read.
Thanks once again for reading,