Six months ago – just before I went overseas – I worked on a secret project with Tara Moss. She’s a model and author, and anti bullying campaigner. The project was a TV show called Cyber Hate, and it airs on abc2 tonight, as well as ABC Iview. Some of my friends feature in it too – Van Badham, Celeste Liddle and Ginger Gorman, as well as Joel Creasy and Benjamin Law. Tara has worked so hard on this, discussing a topic that has affected her deeply.
It’s an important watch for people who work and play online, those who support us, and those people who bully and troll.
Australians (and those without geoblockers) can watch the whole show by clicking here.
Episode 5 which features a lengthy interview with me can be found when you click through the link above.
I spoke to Tara about when my photo was misused on Reddit, and the impact it had on me. You can read about that here.
I responded to the trolls. While I don’t recommend everyone does this, it helped me take control of my story. It changed the conversation from an attack and many assumptions to more positive when I stepped in.
I advise those who choose to respond to online trolls to seek adequate support to do so. (And I acknowledge this is not always possible.)
I’ve written and spoken extensively about Reddit. I get pretty disheartened when people who know what happened to me – and others – continue to use it and defend it, and claim that it’s a valuable and safe space. It’s not. I will not click there.
Some of the Reddit moderators apologised to me in private, yet let the bullying continue, claiming it was out of their hands.
I take a risk everytime I put my photo online. It might be misused like it was on Reddit, I might have my experience diminished (which has happened a lot lately), but there are higher chances that it might make someone else who looks different feel less alone and more confident. It helps change the perception of facial difference and disability. It progresses my career – so many exciting things have happened because of being online – including this opportunity!
I just submitted a piece of work which had a supporting document from a blog reader who has Ichthyosis. She’s a little older than me and said that it’s because of me sharing my story that she now has the confidence to wear a summer dress in public. I take the risk in sharing my story because I know the difference it makes to others.
Tara and I first met in person last year – but we’ve been online friends since about 2014 when I reached out to her with an article I wrote, that I thought she might be interested in reading. We met in person at the Dumbo Feather event, and bonded because I was sent a dick pic. She is so smart and warm and kind and funny and nurturing. As well as Cyber Hate, I wrote a few pages for her handbook, Speaking Out. You can buy it at Booktopia.
Tara listed the the following support information on her Facebook page:
“If you watch the show and this brings up experiences you are going through, I want you to know that cyberbullying and online attacks are not OK, and in some cases are against the law. As with other crimes, you can report it. Block and ban where possible, report the abuse to the platform (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and if appropriate, consider reporting it to the police.
* Children who are bullied or find their privacy attacked or private images shared online without their consent can report that to the police, or report to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.
* You can also contact Kids Helpline Official on 1800 55 1800 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
* If the online abuse you are receiving is linked to domestic abuse or abuse from a former or current partner, you can contact 1800RESPECT.
Thank you to Tara, Gerri, Bryan and everyone at The Full Box Productions for having me on the show. And I guess, thank you to the trolls on Reddit who aimed to ruin my life by humiliating me, but didn’t.