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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Verbally assaulted for being female, then sent threatening images over Facebook

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Author Topic: Verbally assaulted for being female, then sent threatening images over Facebook
708
Neophyte
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Hi Scarleteen,

I'm going to try and summarize this quickly. Basically I am an admin on a gaming group on Facebook with over 5,000 members. On the group today, one of the members began abusing me particularly focusing on my gender. The argument between him and I went on for some time before I asked could he leave the group or I would ban him. Afterward, I felt guilty for my harshness and sent him a private message apologising, and stating I was sorry if I had upset him and I would rather I make friends on the group than enemies.

He began to question why I cared so much to message him, being female meant I was heartless, horrible, only using my sexuality to get anywhere. I had never met this guy on my life and got angry, trying to explain to him he was wrong to say that, and if he wanted to trade some items in the game we could. He called me names, told me to **** off. I told him he could feel free to block me if he wanted, but I refused to play victim to him. I wish I had never even PMed him in the first place.

It got suddenly very much worse. He started sending me images of murder scenes, real ones, of mutilated women. Immediately I was terrified and blocked him right away, and deleted the messages. They were so graphic and vile that I vomited. He stated that he loved the sight of dead women. How can anyone be so sick?!

I've been up all night worrying and very traumatised after this abuse, which I've never suffered before. The person obviously has some kind of mental illness or struggle, his facebook was full of hate against females. I was an idiot to get myself into this mess.

As I say, I blocked him once the messages came in and deleted them, so I can't report him any more. I'm frightened he may have been able to see some of my information; another member and close friend in the group confirmed he could see my old place of work near where I live, and my past school. The person who abused me lives in the state of NY, America and I'm in the UK.

I know I'm probably acting absurd for being so worried but this person was so messed up that I can't stop thinking about it. Never have I been abused in this way and physically threatened with such disgusting images. Unable to sleep and close to tears over the trauma of it all.


Sorry for the length... I hope someone can help talk to me about this. I've learned my lesson.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Oh, 708, I am so sorry this was done to you. This sounds beyond hideous. And this is SO not about you being an idiot: it is about this person choosing to be abusive to you.

I do not think it is unsound for you to feel scared: this is very serious harassment this person engaged in.

Personally, my very best advice would be to save and document everything and bring it to your local police station. This is serious harassment and abuse, and it should be treated seriously as the crime that it is, not just with reports to Facebook, who are not in the business of handling crimes. Okay?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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As well, in terms of the trauma you are feeling, do you know where to get in-person help, if you want it, to help you cope?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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708
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I deleted the messages so I can't prove or report anything. I knew at the time it would prevent this kind of thing but I had to get that filth away from me, both the person and the images.

I've talked it over with my boyfriend and two very close friends, who have assured me I am most likely safe from harm, seeing as we are very far away from each other. They are most likely right but I still worry.

I'm not sure who else to talk to about this, I feel like people may think I'm foolish or an idiot by getting upset over something that they probably see as silly or not a threat, from a stranger halfway across the world.

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Heather
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Also, since he is here in the states, as is Facebook (per their office and servers), you can also -- or instead, if you don't feel comfortable reporting in person -- report all of this to the FBI here right here: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/cyber

You'll scroll down to "report a cyber incident" to do that.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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No one whose job is to advocate for and counsel victims of crimes -- especially cybercrimes, which people who work in this area know are no less real -- will see it that way, I assure you.

(What that person sent you can also likely still be dredged up form Facebook's servers or your own computer if need be, even though you deleted it. You often really have to scrub computers to get things all the way gone, not just hit delete.)

[ 03-11-2014, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Here's one advocacy site and helpline for you: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-victims/ive-been-affected/cyber-crime

Note what it also says right on that page (bolding mine):
quote:
When people use the term cyber crime they are referring to a variety of crimes that are conducted online using the internet, including paedophilia, stalking, bullying, fraud, spam emails, viruses and hacking.

Committing crimes online gives someone the cover of the internet to hide their identity and whereabouts. It also allows them to target someone directly through emails or viruses, or by hacking into their online accounts, home or work computers, mobile phones or other electronic devices.

As a victim, all of this can make you feel like you're facing a powerful and invisible attacker. You may feel under siege and powerless to defend yourself, even if you are computer literate. Some people might feel embarrassed about this kind of crime, because they may have been tricked or think they could have done more to protect themselves.



[ 03-11-2014, 08:20 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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708
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Thank you Heather, I'm going to draw up a report right now.

It seems silly but I've always been a worrier, even though this person lives so far away he seems so hateful of women and mentally unstable it doesn't even seem an impossibility for him to 'get me.' This all came from me trying to be nice on a video game which is has really hurt and traumatised me.

He images were uploaded to the chat so he obviously had them on his computer and viewed them regularly. Ever since the incident I've deleted all my personal info off my facebook. My profile was always private but it allowed messages from non friends so members of the group could PM me as an admin if they needed anything, or to report breakages of rules.

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708
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I've just noticed that site only seems to deal with fraud incidents where the victim loses money.
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Heather
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But they get this: so what I would suggest is calling the helpline for emotional support, which they clearly are prepared to give. And if they are not exactly the right service for you, I bet they can refer you to whoever is. [Smile]

Honestly, feeling traumatized after harassment is not you being a special snowflake: harassment is traumatizing to most people most of the time. Threats are scary to most people most of the time. Being exposed to violence is almost always traumatic. feeling fearful after something like this? That's the way most people will feel: it is scary, it makes sense to feel afraid and take steps to protect yourself as you can.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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708
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I hope I've done enough by blocking the person and removing all my information. I already have a lot going on in my life and this is only adding to things. I think the fact I'm under a lot of other stress is only escalating this... I've already had horrible thoughts in my mind about this person, what they could do to my family, etc. It makes me feel sick and it makes me want to cry.

I think I will call them tomorrow and have a talk. Getting to sleep tonight is my main challenge now, I still don't feel ready to face it. Regretting this so much.

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Heather
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Try that hotline now, maybe? They can probably help you calm down a bit.

Alternately, maybe ask a friend to sleep over so you can feel safe? Like you said, realistically, this person is not buying an airline ticket to come track you down. But it is also real that you FEEL afraid, so doing what you can to help yourself feel safe is important.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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708
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Thanks Heather, you've been so helpful.

Part of the reason I've turned to Scarleteen is as I'm in the UK, hotlines will be closed, most of my friends are in bed now seeing as it's nearly 2AM. I've felt bad enough disturbing my boyfriend out of his bed to have a chat about this and it has helped, but I think my chat with you has helped most so far.

It's not even what he might do to me; when I went into his profile to message him initially he had listed the US army as his occupation. This makes things more serious, and it's a lot to take in.

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Heather
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If it's true: it's quite common for people who are abusive to pretend they have positions of authority or power. If it is really true, he likely wound not have done any of this, since it would easily get him discharged in nanoseconds. You also said he clearly is mentally unhinged, which makes it very unlikely he is in the services.

But too, not tonight, but tomorrow, when you are rested -- let's assume that will happen. [Smile] -- you can certainly easily find out if that is true if you have his name, and if it were, that is somewhere else you could report and expect results. I'm not exactly what anyone would call pro-military myself, however, realistically, they tend to act fast to get rid of anything that could become a giant PR problem, which this certainly would be.

But for your comfort now? It most likely is not true.

I am sure a supportive partner was not upset for you to wake them with something like this and you feeling the way you are: he was probably glad to be able to be there for you.

So, if hotlines are closed, I'd just suggest finding whatever you know comforts you to help you calm down: maybe a favorite movie, song or book, maybe a favorite safe place to sit or lie down, silly videos on YouTube, whatever you know is a comfort to you.

Glad to have been of some help, and I really hope you can get some sleep. If you want help following up with any of this as you can tomorrow, I will be around and would be glad to help you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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708
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Heather, thank you so much, truly. A lot of what you're saying makes perfect sense... he is mentally ill, and I am nearly positively in no personal danger, but because my fear is real I need to find a way to deal with it.

I will do my best to keep you posted on how I get on. Now to get into bed with my cat and tire myself out on youtube.

I'll message back here tomorrow on how I feel.

Goodnight! [Smile]

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AprilK
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Hi 708... I don't have anything to add, Heather has given phenomenal advice. I just wanted to let you know that I've been thinking about you all day (since I read this this morning).

I would be scared too, even if there is no real danger, this person is ill and should be reported.

I hope you're able to find some peace and got a good nights sleep [Smile]

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Heather
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Just checking in to see how you're doing, 708. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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708
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Hi guys,

Thanks so much for your thoughts/concerns. I'll run over what has been happening.

I decided not to come online/talk about the incident as that was what I spent most of the day after the incident doing. I got put through to lifeline who really helped me discuss my worries and help my anxiety. After the phone call I had a friend come down and we talked about it, and decided maybe it was best to try and get on with things for a while and see if I still needed some more support, or if I improved.

The incident is still on my mind but talking with one of the lifeline counsellors really has helped put my mind at ease. Victim support also sent me out a letter with some ways in which I can report the incident. This guy needs to be brought to some kind of justice for what he did, in case he should do it to other women elsewhere.

Thanks so much guys, I will update this with any news regarding my reporting of the incident.

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Heather
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This is all great to hear, I am so glad. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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acb
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Hey! You seem to be doing better now but in case you're in a phone line jam again, Samaritans in the UK is open 24/7 and I've used them before when I've been anxious and wanted help sleeping. They have been pretty happy to just chat to me until I say I'm calm and then I fall asleep. Though I'm sure a supportive partner wouldn't mind being woken up either. Hope you're doing well! [Smile]
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