So I'm not really thrilled about this topic and have actually been avoiding it for the last five years since I experienced severe cyber bullying. Although I had experienced cyber bullying before this and actually produced a musical called; "I Survived the Deletion", it wasn't until this incident that I felt there was truly an intent to harm, and because I have been avoiding it harm has happened via my denial; emotionally and psychologically, challenging my self esteem, which is why I am finally choosing to write about it now. Perhaps rather than something to bury and forget about, it can be something for others to learn from to avoid making the same devastating mistakes as I did. I used to have much more flare and creative expression through my internet personality but because of this incident I have felt ashamed to fully express myself since, and I don't want myself or anyone else to have to feel that way.
This is a great message for young women or women of any age who suffer self esteem issues and are too quick to trust the wrong men, the way I did. I've desperately been trying to find a way to make the physical aftermath of this incident disappear (by having all cyber evidence obliterated as it still triggers anxiety in me), but google has not obliged, and so to this day there is defamatory content written about me and impersonation of me for anyone to see if they care enough to look for it, which in certain incidents they have and so it's come back to haunt me that way.
For whatever reasons (a story far too long to tell here that I am working on explaining in detail in a book that I hope to one day publish) I became romantically involved with a man who I met on the internet. The romance was not extensive but it was there, we talked on the phone occasionally, he was very flirtatious and charismatic, he had extensive websites of a spiritual nature and a large following, and I felt that I was safe to trust him, although in retrospect I can look back and see that there was a manipulation happening from the very beginning that kept me hooked in an unhealthy way as I wanted to believe that love could conquer all, or whatever else we tell ourselves when we are prone to being victim of harmful relationships due to a lack of self confidence.
Over time I trusted this man with personal photos of myself that I did not think anybody else would ever see, and the results of this were devastating. It's very obvious to me now that the person I was dealing with is actually very unbalanced and potentially incredibly dangerous to anyone who might try to get close to him. For reasons that I still do not fully understand, he created websites about me; our common ground was of a spiritual nature, or so I thought, but anything that I talked to him about on this subject turned into him accusing me of all kinds of things; o lying, of being a "groupy" just making things up to get close to him, of being a satanist who practices black magick, and that I did pornography, just to name a few. The kicker here is that he did not just accuse me of these things, he wrote about them extensively in public articles that he posted on his websites, using my full name so that these websites would come up in web searches when anyone googled my name. He impersonated me, posting comments to these articles making it look like I was the one posting them when it was actually him, and he made websites exclusively about me, posting the photos I had sent him along side my home address and place of employment. When I begged him to take them down he accused me of stalking him and made more websites about me titled; "XXX female stalker alert" and posted contracts saying that I owed him ridiculous sums of money for the creation of these sites and that until I paid him they would not be taken down.
My parents wanted to show friends some of my artwork and googled my name to find this. I don't know if telling it here can even convey the devastation that that brought to me and my family. When this man phoned my workplace in an attempt to get me fired I had enough on him to take to the police and he was given a warning for harassment and the creating of the websites stopped as did all contact between us.
I wrote in complaints to Google and they removed the content that displayed photos of me or my home address, but after many attempts they still will not remove it all, even though it is clearly cyber bullying and defamation of character, as well as exploitation as there are still viewable "contracts" stating that I need to pay money after a long list of insults and name calling. I have been shocked and completely disappointed in google, but like I said, perhaps this is what is calling me to tell my story so that others can avoid the same mistakes. I know in my heart of hearts that what I experienced is not even close to the exploitation and abuse that women all over the world endure just for the mistake of hoping for love in the wrong places.
I hope this can be a message to women and girls and anybody really, that you can never be too careful in who you trust, especially over the internet. I've been in other challenging situations with men in "real life" where there has been an abuse dynamic which I've dealt with, but somehow on the internet it's different in a really creepy feeling kind of way. In the wrong hands, information that you share can be twisted and manipulated and left there to haunt you, with little to zero support from internet servers or the law. It lurks after you... it never goes away.
If anyone reading this has any kind of dynamic in their life that has them drawn to a person or situation that is hurtful or abusive, especially if there is a dynamic of bullying; PLEASE talk to somebody about it right away who you know you can trust instead of being like me and trying to deal with it all on your own while instead it continues to go rapidly sideways... and find ways to love yourself more. I think for me this is also a teaching to continue to get up and get out and get something, no matter what anybody else says about me or does to me; at the end of the day only I decide who I Am. I think when we're strong in that, none of the rest of it can bring us down so much anymore.
Leave a Reply.
Janette Sarah Anne