My experience with online harassment

Thinking

This post is different than the ones I normally post, but I’m on the verge of shutting down my social media accounts. It’s no secret that people get bullied, harassed and stalked online. There are tons of articles about it and what to do if it happens to you. There are also laws against cyberbullying or stalking in lots of countries. But when it does happen to you, you’re kind of at a loss as to what to do. Some people don’t understand it because it hasn’t happened to them, or say that it’s part of putting yourself out there, so I should expect it. So it almost seems like it’s become almost acceptable or excusable in certain cases.

But no it’s not to be expected. It’s not acceptable and blaming the victim is never ok.

My social media presence

I’m on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I use them all daily. I try to spread messages of positivity and healthy living tips and recipes. I also like to connect with and learn about other people’s views and things they have to offer. My Instagram and Twitter accounts are open. My Facebook account used to be open, and now I only accept friends of friends (more on this later).

I am very active and engaged on all platforms. I like and comment on the posts of people I follow, and I respond to every comment on mine (unless they’re inappropriate).  My face is out there frequently as I try to match the images I use to the content. I fully think out my posts. But my face being out there is the problem I guess.

Backstory

Insta

I have/had (he’s been quiet for a couple of months, so maybe this time he’s given up) a stalker that found me on Instagram, but it didn’t stop there and got so bad I had to call the police.

I also had to shut down my original Facebook account because of sexual harassment and bigotry. But to run the Art of Being Fabulous Facebook page, I need a personal Facebook account, so I opened up a new account in July with a few friends and then accepted some friends of friends. However, some people that are close friends of my family or friends have started to send unwelcome messages and pictures, even after I have either not responded or directly said to leave me alone.

  • I state no Direct Messages in my bio on Instagram.
  • I have taken messenger off of Facebook (although people can still message you whenever they want for some reason).
  • I block people when they do something inappropriate.

But the point is, how did this all become acceptable?

What is not acceptable (These have all happened to me in the last year)

  • Sending unrequested nude pictures
  • Repeatedly messaging someone (I’ve gotten up to 50 messages in one day from a person) who isn’t responding or tells you no
  • Calling someone a bitch or worse for not responding
  • Verbally harassing a person because they are not responding (especially when said person has no direct messages right on their profile)
  • Telling someone your fantasies about them when they haven’t expressed an interest in you
  • Threatening or using intimidation tactics to get a person to be with you
  • Getting a new profile or phone number after you’ve been blocked so you can come back and start harassing again

Victim blaming

Cape Breton water view

When I tell people my stories, most times the response has been “well you put yourself out there what did you expect?” One person I know that uses dating apps said this to me, and my response back was if you didn’t like someone you went on a date with and they did any one of these things to you, would that be ok? She said no of course not. And that’s my point, why is it ok to happen to me, or people like me who are just on social media like so many others? I’m only trying to spread messages of hope and positivity.

None of us ask for people to harass us, and it is uncomfortable and scary in some instances.

Yesterday the messages I got from someone were almost my last straw and made me want to shut down my accounts immediately. And I don’t want to do that. I have connected with some cool people through social media.

Sorry, this post turned out a lot longer than I thought, but I needed to get it out!

59 replies »

  1. No one deserves the treatment you have gotten. I am so concerned that there are people who are doing good things online like yourself that will be forced off because they have to protect their hearts and souls. Thank you for your friendship and I am in the corner of those who want to be positive and affirming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It gets frustrating when it takes places like Facebook so long to do something about them. Threats and bigotry they’re better with, but sexual harassment not so much. Just blocking people doesn’t mean they won’t do it again or do it to others. But meeting people like yourself makes it worth it. Thank you kindly for your words of encouragement and support. Thank you also for your friendship! I hope you have a wonderful day Tony.

      Like

  2. Sorry you’re going through this. I had a friend with a similar story. She shut down for awhile, but as a personal trainer, she needed it too for her business. Hopefully you can get it taken care of soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am very sorry to hear what you’re going through Samantha. Online harassment and bullying is not acceptable and at my work, many kids are experiencing the same issues. Your blogs are very encouraging and a powerful influence for living a positive, healthy and successful life. Please stay strong, positive and lean on your support network of friends and family. Don’t let those trolls get to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks kindly Marko. I really appreciate your support. I feel sorry for kids, it must be so much harder for them. Unwanted or negative attention can wear you down. Thanks so much for your comment, it means a lot. Happy long weekend!!

      Like

  4. This makes me angry, mostly the attitude that it’s somehow your fault because you “put yourself out there”. It’s part of how we do work and socialize these days and unfortunately it does make it easier for people to do these things because they are hiding behind a computer. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This happens to so many people. I’m really glad you wrote about it. I’m sorry it’s happening to you. You bring a lot of happiness to people every day with your posts and it would be a shame to lose that

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m really glad you shared your story. You’re a very positive and inspirational person. I am sorry you’ve had to deal with these kinds of things. We love your messages, your blog posts are so uplifting and so are your posts on Instagram. I’ve followed you since the beginning and it would be a shame if you were to close down your accounts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your comment, I really appreciate it. I will never figure out how people can think someone “asks” for something to be done to them. I hope one day we will see some change. I hope you have a wonderful evening

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hiya! I just found your blog and I am loving it already – you seem like a wonderful and positive person, and I am sorry to hear that this is happening to you. It’s such a shame that this has to come as a side effect of putting yourself out there on SM to spread a message and victim blaming is the worst, because it is bringing down someone who objectively hasn’t done anything wrong..I really hope that people understand this sooner rather than later!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you kindly! I really appreciate it. Victim blaming is the worst. I have never understood why anyone would think that people are “asking for it”. I also hope they understand it sooner rather than later. Thanks so much for your comment. Have a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. So sorry you have to go through this. As someone who follows your social media accounts too, I can say you would be missed if you closed them. You bring positivity and helpful tips to all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I hear you. My stalker is my mother in law… I had to delete my Facebook account totally. I used it to try to keep in contact with my biological siblings and biological parents, having a FB page with my name on it, my mother in law completely stalked and ‘told on me’ to my husband if I posted something that offended her. This went on for almost 4 years, maybe a little longer. So when he told her I had stopped using FB, she was flabbergasted. And then I totally deleted it, she didn’t know what to think.. she lived far enough away that she watched the kids stuff, ie… School sports and musicals, etc. I might one day open a new account, but I kinda like the freedom I have without someone asking why I didn’t like everything she posted..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow! It’s super tough when it’s in your family. I can’t imagine. It not only impacts you but your marriage. I love that you did that, it must be freedom and also for your peace of mind. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really appreciate it. I hope one day you are able to do it (if you want) without having to worry about it. Have a wonderful day

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sam, I had no idea you were going through this. I’m so sorry to hear. Please know that I’m rooting for you and if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know. Bullies are nothing but cowards and as someone said above, it’s easy for them to do because they hide behind an electronic device.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Aunt Lyn. Yeah it’s been frustrating and comes and goes in waves. I don’t talk about it much because the times I have, I’ve heard the “well it’s to be expected since you’re out there” message. I’ll fill you in on the stories. There are some “wow” ones. The anonymity has made this all so much easier for people to stalk and harass.

      Like

  11. Great post Sam and you’re right, too many people blame the person it is happening too rather than looking at what is acceptable behaviour and when it crosses the line

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a shame. It is easy for people to do it because they’re behind a computer and don’t seem to care or realize that they’re actually hurting someone. Your posts are always on point and you are engaging. I follow your Instagram account and would miss your positive messages if you do shut down but I understand your frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for sharing. It’s important to reiterate (almost constantly) that it is NOT THE VICTIM’S FAULT. Unsolicited messages (photos, text, mean, sexual, incessant, etc.) are 100% the responsibility of the sender. No matter how public or numerous your profiles. No matter the content of your profiles. You could be a nude blogger, and it still wouldn’t be your fault if someone was harassing you. … Anyway, thank you for sharing. ❤ x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your comment Kaiya. I really don’t get victim blaming. I agree 100% that you can be a nude blogger and the harassment is not your fault. I don’t understand how people get blamed for the actions of others. I really appreciate your feedback . It means a lot. Have a wonderful day

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Stay positive Samantha. My wife stays off of social media for the same reasons but I don’t think anyone should have to. It would be letting them win if you quit and the rest of us would miss your posts! You are always positive and engaging on social media and it’s a genuineness that we don’t see in everyonne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your support. It means a lot that you enjoy my posts and continue to follow. It’s a shame that your wife has to do that. I agree, it’s just so hard sometimes. I really appreciate your comment.

      Like

  15. So sorry that you have to deal with so much harassment. It angers me that people think it is okay to harass people just because some of us have a public profile. As bloggers we put in so much of hard work to grow our social media and stuff and some people think it is okay to sabotage all that!😠Block the trouble makers, report them, remove them from your network. But you shouldn’t have to shut down all that you have worked so hard for..x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your support and comment! It really is so angering. We do put a lot of effort to grow and connect with people. I don’t think some people realize how much goes into it. But I agree. I shouldn’t have to, I had some moments of “why am I bothering?” but to your point, it was a lot of work. Thanks so much for the encouragement! Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sweetie! I’ve experienced the same. I can’t travel or even take public transportation alone.

    Wp is deff better than any other site I’ve been on. I don’t have any other social media.

    And those friends of friends delete them! Your real friends will understand their uncle is a creep and you deleted them. You have every right to remove people who are sick from your life.

    The rest of us love you. Block all the pigs!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for sharing your story. I can imagine the support not being there. I have seen responses you are getting because I have read it before on other people’s posts. It’s hard for some to understand because social media is relatively new compared to what some people are used to.

    Liked by 1 person

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