LIVED EXPERIENCES

We have thousands of stories

submitted to us each year of those experiencing

or witnessing Cyber Abuse. Here is a rare opportunity to read these stories on the world wide web and see the fact that this problem is now a global epidemic

If you also have a lived experience you would like to share personally with the All Rise team or publicly on this page you can get in touch here.

My boyfriend and I have been targeted for well over a year now, sporadically, with people trying to make me out to be a terrible person I'm not. They send the messages to him, but paint me in a bad light. Saying things like how I'm cheating on him, or sending pictures of women that look similar to me in precarious positions... It's painful. I'm not that kind of person, and my boyfriend knows that... And while I know he doesn't doubt me, I don't like anyone trying to give him a fake reason to. People are harsh, and these are adults, in their late 20s and 30s doing this. Cyber bullying and trolling are serious issues, and I wish more people understood just how much.

 

Female, 26-35, USA
 

Abuse gets a lot worse online because they feel like it has no consequences. I'm an administrator of a very toxic community. The people there are extremely fast to throw death threats. Insults and other such demeaning things towards us moderators. A lot of good friends have stopped and quit the community because of it. It's never good just a horrible, horrible thing.

 

Male, 19 - 21, Norway
 

I was born in 1988, and didn't have internet access until 2003. The 'only' abuse I suffered was face to face in school or when I was out with friends (sometimes, the abuse even came from my 'friends'). At home was my sanctuary with my loving and supportive parents. The internet made this sanctuary even more amazing, since in my generation the great majority didn't spend that much time online. I was free and made some amazing friends, to some of which I still have regular contact. That changed with the advent of social media, and I noticed abuse 'leaking into' the online world. Slowly, my sanctuary got breached, and the cyber abuse started. I realise that this began probably at the very beginning, but for me it started in 2006, after my Coming Out. Cyber abuse is the modern form of a very old plague, wreaking harm, havoc, pain, and even death among children, teenagers, and adults. Often it comes hand in hand with its own progenitors, name-calling and other forms of face to face abuse. While it is too late to nip it in the bud, it is not too late to rid us of this pest.

 

Male, 26-35, Germany
 

Both Online and Offline abuse made me want to kill myself. If you can say what you want you can be really nasty and quite vile. It destroys the lives of many young and old people.

 

Female, 20 - 22, UK

My cousin committed suicide because of cyber bullies who wouldn't have the guts to say what they did to her face. People should be able to say what they want to but without harming others. It needs to be stopped because I lost my cousin who was my best friend 18 months ago because of cyber bullying.

 

Female. 20 – 22, UK

I have received threats of violence, rape and death because I have dared to do things like "use the Internet" and "speak". Already marginalized groups are being violently attacked every day and the conversation is still focusing on facile "is it real if it's online" debates. It's 2017, online IS real, there's nothing that doesn't intersect with Internet usage.

 

Female, 26 – 35, USA
 

It gets to you wherever you are, even at the safety of your own home. 
It is always there. The words you read stay in your head. You should think before you speak. Cyber abuse has impacted me much worse than any other forms of bullying. It happened to me over 2 years ago and still effects me now, more needs to be done to stop it, and more help needs to be given to those effected by it.

 

Female. 20 - 22. UK

A pupil created a fake email account in my name, accusing me of paedophilia, which could have led to me losing my profession. The police didn't understand and did little .The school network manager investigated and we knew who was culpable but could not take action without parent support.

 

Female, 60 and above, UK

I know from bitter experience (both my own and that of my loved ones) that the harassment and abuse that can be perpetrated by a determined individual or group online can destroy lives and be far more difficult to "shut out" or "step away from" than real life abuse. Context is vital, online as in the "real world", and abuse anywhere should be taken seriously.

 

Female, 26 – 35, UK

 

 


 

I have been targeted by a renowned hoaxer and online troll, prolific criminal and Neo Nazi who relishes harassment and smearing people for 16 months. The police are aware, he's been convicted of malicious communications before, is currently on trial facing 7 counts which include malicious communications and harassment, he's serving a 2 year supervision order, was on bail which he breaks almost on a daily basis, has produced an official looking online poster (complete with my local police authority logo) which falsely states that I am a high risk paedophile and thinks that all these things aren't doing anything wrong as it's his freedom of speech/expression. I cannot begin to do justice to how awful this experience has been, it started with a 2 word comment I made on an fictitious article; defendant was later charged with malicious communications and now faces prison for offences he's pleaded guilty to (once he's been allowed to cause as much mayhem as is humanly possible in the meantime.)

 

Male, 36-45, UK
 

I was hacked. Hackers (one a PR) attempted to construct a tweet narrative that was defamatory, while threatening litigation. Also I’ve had my email hacked.

 

Female, 46 – 60, Ireland
 

I have been the victim of cyber abuse on Facebook on 30+ occasions and despite various requests to Facebook to either tell me who the culprit is or for them to remove the person, they ignore the victim. Time and again, the perpetrators are protected whilst those bullied continue to suffer. The effects of this have been various at different times: leaving social media and/or self harming (with medication) have been notions I've considered in the past. It doesn't help that I already suffer with anxiety and depression. Yet there is little scope to stop this problem of cyber harassment when the owners of the business don't actually appear to give a damn. They talk the talk but so not act and with Facebook in particular, it is incredibly difficult to make a complaint and get any kind of response whatsoever.

 

Male, 46 – 60, UK

My abuse originated from Romania, so there was no authority to which to report. When it is libelous, it is simply not right. Also there needs to be a balance between private and public. When so many anonymous abusers, now called trolls, stand upon their electronic soap boxes to proclaim their truths, there is seemingly no way to defend yourself, seek justice, or correct. Readers are more inclined to believe and stay with negative untruths, before standing back and assessing the abuser.

 

Female, 36 – 45, USA
 

Cyber abuse has been used to try to ruin my life by labeling me as a pedophile - I work in a school. If people Google my name, those articles come up. They did this because they disagree with my political viewpoint. I'm not the only person to have received this treatment and I won't be the last. Strict rules need to be imposed on those who commit these kinds of crimes. Smart phones etc. should be taken off them until sentencing (this currently doesn't happen and victims continue to be attacked). The system isn't working.

 

Female, 23 – 25, UK
 

I run a website with a large discussion forum as part of my job. I'm under no obligation to host abusive speech; visitors do not have freedom to post it. I'd like to see more organizations get their heads around the fact that freedom of speech does not obligate them to put up with abusive behavior. I also run social media for a very popular organization. My job's necessarily online and public facing - and everybody I know with a similar job has to deal with abuse; we just consider it one of the less enjoyable parts of our role. Gendered abuse is very, very common; and very, very tiresome.

 

Female, 36 – 45, UK
 

The most place cyber abuse occurs to me is while I play video games online. I'm 24 and have been in the online community since I was 15 and have been called a b*tch, threatened, harassed, and told to "go back to the kitchen" so many times that it's almost normal for me to expect that to happen any time a guy just hears my voice, and I think that behavior needs to cease. I don't want any other people growing up on that.

 

Female, 20 – 25, USA
 

I was stalked online and abused by the same man for several years - he threatened to expose embarrassing details about me and mocked me for sexual favours. I believe this is an all too common issue that begs to be addressed.

 

Female, 19 – 25, UK

Last year 4 boys from my school were humiliated when someone using a fake name posted nude pictures of them on twitter. They weren't smart to take those pictures in the first place but still, one of them almost killed himself.

 

Male, 13 – 18, South Africa
 

I've been set up by anonymous groups who have threatened me, 
while revealing personal information about me that only the closest person to me could’ve known. They reveal my home address, phone number etc. Combined with threats to my safety this can be very frightening and has lead me to not feel safe enough to leave my residence on an occasion.

 

Female, 26 – 35, Australia
 

Cyber abuse is something that is very real and affects many people.

It has affected my teenage son. 18 months ago my son started changing. He went from an outgoing extravert, confident young man who was excelling at school, training in football and MMA and had a group of close friends. Through being abused on social media he now battles with an eating disorder, he had to finish year 11 and 12 at TAFE and not the mainstream private school he was attending, he has developed poor self- esteem, he barely socializes any more. He is not the same young man he was. He is now seeing a Psychiatrist to assist him with the issues that have arisen over being cyber bullied. As a parent you feel helpless to see your child go through such hurt, no matter how much you love them and care for them, these bullies seem to be able to get into their heads. What’s worse is that he didn't say anything, I knew something was wrong.

 

Female, 38, Australia

 

 


 

I am a retired CEO of a number of multi-national corporations and have been responsible for leading some very large teams of people, globally disbursed. I feel I have a very good understanding of the importance of team work, community connection and of the behavior that evolves an organization or a community. I know and understand very well the digital and technology business world. One thing I know for sure is that this relatively new digital world of the internet and social media is here to stay and that, whilst this medium has significant potential, it is already responsible for great harm and evil. I have been on the receiving end and have been be singled out by a cyber-bullies. I have had my  reputation tarnished by people who do not know me but who get a kick out of the anonymous mask of the internet so as to abuse people to the extreme by spreading damaging lies. The cyber bullies have no idea how this hurts and the damage to careers, relationships and personal well- being that they are having in their senseless games they play. Cyber- bullying is now out of control and there are millions of innocent victims around the globe. Yet our regulators stand by and allow this to continue with minimal protection from the law. The internet service providers and application software providers are allowed to facilitate such behavior without punishment. These suppliers and facilitators are allowed to trade in our back yards whilst polluting our lands. The consequences will be long term as communities degenerate from the poison of more and more cyber–bullying leading to mental health issues on an epidemical scale. The financial cost will be saturating government budgets and the brake on communities evolving will have massive social fall outs. It is time for action to pre-emptively address cyber bullying and the abuse of the internet.

 

Male, 63, Australia
 

When cyber abuse has happened to me, it was one of the most anxious feelings of my life. It kept me up at night for weeks, and had me fearing for my career prospects and my reputation. I was deeply affected by the falsities that were written about me, and the damage took months to repair. The cyber abuse that targeted me was mild relative to what I’ve seen online and heard about. The level of cyber abuse today leaves me in dismay. Thousands of people are affected in the same way I was, or much, much worse to the point of suicide. It is not okay. Cyber abuse is equivalent to public harassment and assault, and I sincerely believe that cyber abuse should be de- anonymised and criminalized by our public protection agencies, and by the public at large.

 

Female, 32, America  
 

As a consequence of online defamation directly about me and my associations, my business has suffered greatly in a number of ways. Due to the seriousness of these online lies and allegations, there has been question and doubt raised by clients and members of the community, who may or may not have been directly related to my business, that would have otherwise been completely aligned in simply knowing me and the business that I have been building over the past 12 years. This resulted in a loss of at least 50% business and the cancellation of a major project through people’s retraction in response to the online allegations. It must not be underestimated the amount of valuable time and resources that are now required to defend, justify and explain the extreme untruths that have been disseminated online and are there for public view. The impact extends far beyond financial, which is significant, to the otherwise untainted reputation of myself as a health and business professional. I use social media less for fear of further public retribution, which then further impacts on the growth of my business and financial security. At different stages, the seriousness of the attacks and allegations, have also impacted on my own mental health and confidence in myself.

 


Female, 37, Australia

 


 

I have been accused, harassed and threatened online in the most abusive ways by people I personally have never met. This cyberbullying has cost me loss in income, considerable time and distress to me personally as well as to my business and family.

I have been threatened, harassed and abused online as well as receiving emails and anonymous phone calls since 2013, attacking me privately and on a professional level. Pictures from my private Facebook page were taken and circled on the internet with abusive and vile threats to me and my partner. My relationship has been denigrated and our whole family has been affected by the online abuse, in terms of our wider family reading and being distressed by the abuse, lies and vile comments of me. The use of my own Facebook posts in a way that it was not intended and used to ridicule me and my work does not reflect the true nature of my practice. Any complaints made to police or government bodies have not brought any stop to this and it is still ongoing.

 

Male, 52, Australia

 

I have been consistently bullied and defamed on-line. The online defamation and harassment campaign has accused me of unethical and abusive practices and has continued on to date via ongoing denigrating comments posted relentlessly on social media stigmatising me as inept and unqualified with a deliberate intention and agenda to denigrate my reputation and the publics perception of me in my local community. I have been publicly humiliated, gossiped about and my reputation undermined. As such the results were that most of my established clients at the time the defamation began in 2012 were fearful of continuing to utilise my services as well as fearful of being targeted themselves within the local community. The harassment and intimidation directly impacted my business financially with the result that I was forced to stop practising all together and close the business.

This person had attended my home and had been a recipient of my services and openly appreciated and expressed benefit from my services. However, behind the scenes was a contrasting picture at play, which inevitably resulted in my becoming fearful of further damage and retaliation in the community toward me and my family

The effect of this harassment and defamation became far wider reaching than publicly undermining my honour, integrity and ethics; it adversely affected my future prospects of work. I attended a final stage job interview in 2012 (at the time that the on-line harassment hate campaign was gathering momentum) where the scrutiny that I was then under due to what they have found on the Internet was almost depilating. They raised their concerns about by association potentially opening themselves up to the same-
targeted harassment and impact on their own reputation. Not only had the targeted campaign shut down my own business but also it was now have devastating affects on my potential employment. The very real impact of this hate campaign on my self-esteem and self- confidence was debilitating. I became fearful of seeking other work for a long period knowing well that that any future employer researching me would come across this vile about me on the Internet.

 

Age: 41, USA
 

I was hospitalized in August because of cyber abuse from two people who wanted to kill me. I was suicidal for three months prior. This is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.

 

Female, 19 – 25, USA 


 

In a social network that used to be very popular in Brazil a few years ago - called Orkut - my mom started talking to a guy, who was a friend of a friend. My mom can be VERY naive and gullible, so as the friendship grew, she would tell MANY details about our family's personal life. She told him about me, about where I study - I was 16 at the time, where she had her apartment at the beach, her marriage problems with my father... One day, he started blackmailing her. He'd tell her where I study and tell her that I'm easy to kidnap because I'm a redhead - here in Brazil it's very rare, he even showed up at the beach while my mom was sunbathing after she blocked him in Orkut. But the thing is, he expected that my mom would be too afraid to say anything and give him the 2,000 realise he was asking for. During that, life became hell. We had to delete all of our social media accounts, any pics or videos or anything, and if we wanted to go back, we were obviously advised to choose other names or last names, as a disguise. After school, I could NEVER leave it without my mom. And when I say NEVER, I mean I couldn't even wait for her on the street. We had to sell our apartment at the beach and we had to sell our car and buy another. Yeah... so that's that.

 

Female, 19 – 25, Brazil 


Cyber abuse has been used to try to ruin my life by labelling me as a pedophile - I work in a school. If people Google my name, those articles come up. They did this because they disagree with my political viewpoint. I'm not the only person to have received this treatment and I won't be the last.

 

Female, 22 – 25, UK

Going on ten years for me since a girl I used to be friends started harassing me over the internet now I can't go anywhere without fear.I been bullied since I was 16. She told me to kill myself, said no one would mourn me. To this day I can't go anywhere without a whole lot of anxiety. If I see her in public it haunts me for days afterwards. No one should ever have to go through this. I always say I could recover from physical abuse better than the emotional and mental abuse I suffered from cyber abuse. This girl still stalks me to this day though she denies it. Claims she's against bullying of any kind but considers what she did to me as justified. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too far gone to recover. But there are others out there that are going through this and should not. Especially with what’s going on in the world. It's just not right.

 

Female, 19 – 25, Canada

A friend of mine, back In my country–Ivory Coast, metamanona dating website. After about a month of emailing and phone calls with my friend they talk of getting married and her moving to the country of the man. He came over and Ivory Coast, booked a hotel and told her friend that he was there and for her to come and meet him. She turned up to the hotel and he was there with 2 other men. They raped her then killed her and dumped her body. Eventually they were caught.

 

France, Female, 31 


Last year I saw an ad about two lost dogs. At 10:30pm that day,I saw the dogs eating trash on the street. I had my husband and my two big dogs in my car. One of my dogs is a rescue animal who was badly abused and we had had her only two months. I could not stop for the lost dogs, but I did post their location and explained why I couldn't pick them up. The next morning, in my Facebook "other messages" box, I received a message telling me that I was an awful, horrible person. The message said that Jesus saw what I did and he would see that I would burn in hell. It said that I should starve to death for driving by. It asked that I kill myself. I looked at the person's profile and they lived 60 miles away. What prompted such a tirade is beyond my scope of knowledge.

 

33, USA
 

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© All Rise Say No To Cyber Abuse 2017