Online Abuse and How I Dealt With it.

Monday 26 February 2018

I have suffered online abuse from a variety of people before, given I have spoken back and tried to stick up for myself which in my opinion I shouldn't have to do. Back when I had my first twitch account I made friends with some streamers one was being horrid and I said I bet your mum would be proud of you today in a very sarcastic manner as unfortunately his mum did pass but before we even knew each other. Now that does not excuse for his behaviour but by responding with something so harsh it made things worse for myself and I know I shouldn't have said what I did because it's not a nice thing to hear and ignoring would have been the better option. Sometimes people push you though they know how to upset you so things we respond with can be a normal reaction. What I said wasn't too bad but it made me leave both twitch and Twitter as this person created fake accounts to send me abuse. Not just me but my family and ex-partner too, things could have been sorted much more easily by talking but they didn't want to. They stopped in the end which I was grateful for and know now to never even breathe those words to a person because it can hurt them in a way that no other who has lost a parent would know and I'm very sorry I even said it.

A different kind of abuse experienced online is when I turned down someone advances towards me, he was one of my friends mates and because she wasn't interested he wouldn't leave me alone. When I turned him down he sent me tweets about how he would shoot my ex-fiance with one of his guns and make me watch, he sent messages to my ex saying he would rape me. In the end, he was told we would take it further if he carried on and because he wanted to join the military (he was American) he stopped. Then more so I got abuse via other people sent to me by a ringleader, this is when I said enough of was enough I had people saying my chronic illness wasn't real, my friends sent me screenshots from the persons YT where one of their friends threatened violence against me and then this same person liked my FB page and commented. I recognised the name straight away and banned them from my page as well as blocking them via my profile. I also found out people who I had blocked could still message my FB page so any message I received I would ban that person from my page so they couldn't send any more.

I finally filled out an online form for my local police stating that the abuse had gone too far and people had started to become ableist towards me and that I was a young disabled woman who was being affected by this all. Within a matter of hours, I had a phone call and we arranged a meeting with a police officer for the following week. Now don't get me wrong as lovely as the police are there is only so much they can do but as I had screenshots and this was affecting me mentally and affecting my illness they had to go and speak to the person in question. They did ring me to tell me that the person was ignoring their calls and not answering the door but as far as I know they spoke to them and I was left alone. When all this abuse was taking place I had not long come out of the hospital and was trying to get myself better but the more abuse they sent my way the more it affected me and my blog. I wasn't about to let someone ruin this especially someone who has held onto a 4-year grudge against me for posting a picture of a PSP online when they did too (apparently it's copying). Moving away from this I just want to give some tips to help you tackle abuse you get online.

1. Cut all contact with the person who is sending abuse, don't speak to them or respond to any of their friends sending abuse. The more you interact the more you provoke them as shitty as that sounds it's better to not acknowledge that they even exist. This is something I should have done from the start but alas to this day the last person I mentioned thinks everything I tweet is about them.

2. Go private for a bit, it helps trust me, it feels like you're being punished having to do this but the more secure your accounts are the less chance they have or trying to follow on fake accounts or get people to follow you and send abuse.

3. Keep every bit of evidence from what they say/do or have sent others to do to you. That way you have the evidence to back up your claims and they won't accuse you of wasting police time if you choose to take it further.

4. If you do see the abuse on facebook or twitter report it, they aren't that great when it comes to this but they don't tend to tolerate targetted harassment or name-calling directly at someone.

5. Speak to someone about it, they can help you get through it and take your mind off things, they can even report anything they see that is directed at you for you.

6. If you feel threatened to go to the police straight away if you are unsure where you stand there is a site called stop online abuse, it helped me a lot and it gives advice on law, harassment an explains what online abuse is.

I hope this has helped anyone who has been afraid to speak up about the abuse they receive online, my messages are always open to anyone who wants to talk about what they are going through I will be more than happy to help you.

Elle May

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  1. I think we all say things in the heat of the moment, but sometimes people just go too far. I'm sorry that you were struggling with this and I hope that it has been put to bed - it's great that the police were able to sort the situation out so quickly! x


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