I want to tell a story of a situation that happened to me personally some weeks ago. It details the reality of cyber bullying when it goes beyond just the usual social media insults and pettiness. Although there are some people who have worse stories than mine, I still experienced it in an alarming way. I also hope that it encourages others to stand their ground and take action against the other person if they are able to.
Melody and I…
I met Melody (not her real name) on Whisper a while back. She commented on one of my posts there. A very open post, that you’re supposed to be able to feel confident about sharing on a site like that, but what I later regretted. We chatted, found out we live in the same area, exchanged numbers. We texted often. I thought she was an attractive woman but she said she wasn’t interested in a relationship or sex at that time in her life, and I was cool with that. We still talked.
I made the mistake of trusting Melody with things that were really bothering me in my life at the time. I was feeling trapped and depressed, and needed to get it out I guess. She gave me the impression that she understood. We also talked about her life and things she did, trying to build a friendship. We added each other on Instagram and Facebook. I saw photos of her siblings she told me about. I also shared a link with her to one of my Takes here. But I got the sense after awhile that she really was only keeping up correspondence just going through the motions with me. So when things finally ended after about two weeks of texting, I was glad, but not for the way they ended.
One day she decided to take something I mentioned about her sister as an insult which wasn’t at all, and if I were to show you the text I’m pretty sure you would agree with me. So she used that last correspondence as a final angry exit from our interaction, asking me to leave her and her family alone (I never spoke to any of her family). I tried to ask her how she perceived what I said as an insult, but she didn’t respond anymore, and I didn’t say anything else.
A nasty messenger in hiding…
A week or two later, one night I started getting notifications to strange replies someone was leaving on my Whisper posts. First starting out as just your regular jeers people can make. But they kept coming for the next hour or so, even on much older Whispers I posted, and they got more personal. This person knew where I worked, what I liked to do in my free time, and even what I looked like. I wondered how they were able to find all my Whispers and know it was me because no one is able to link a user with their Whispers or vice versa, so they must’ve combed through all the local ones and connected my username with each one.
I messaged the person asking who they were, if this was a prank. At first I couldn’t be sure if it was a co-worker or someone else I knew, and it showed that they were also in my area. They immediately replied, a girl using a name with a play on my GaG name. She wanted to toy with me and even posted a photo with my face in it. I blocked her immediately, then reported her to Whisper officals.
All that night I kept trying to figure out who this person would’ve been. I mulled over everyone I knew in my mind, even Melody, but I didn’t think she would do that. Then one day I saw Melody driving by in the shopping center, and she pretended not to see me. Was the first time we’d ever been that close in person. I looked away and kept on going. Later it all came flashing through me with sharp realization: Melody’s sister was the anonymous snake. All the reasons for why and how added up very quickly. Melody would’ve told her all the things she and I talked about. She had betrayed my trust.
As the day went on it all made more and more sense. That night I took a screenshot of one of her nasty replies, and sent her a simple message on Facebook with nothing but that screenshot, to let it say enough that I knew it was her. In just minutes she blocked me, and that told me right away I had the right person. But a few more minutes later she unblocked me and confessed that she was the one behind those nasty messages, and apologized - which she only did because she knew she got caught and was terrified that I figured out it was her - and said it was best we go our own ways, as if we were ever in any contact to begin with.
I told her she had no reason to do all that, and made it very clear to her that if she tried that bullshit again I would get the police involved. She replied that she understood and awkwardly wished me a good night. And that was it. A couple days later I saw that she blocked me again, but it didn’t matter, I said all I needed to say the first time and she got the message.
I believe Melody’s sister is also here on GaG, but I’m not interested in responding to her, as I have been advised not to do in handling a case with a malicious person like her. I made my point clear to her already, and will do what I'm told to do if things go further.
How "cyber bullies" work…
I am a good investigator, which I don’t tell most people. I’m very observant and I’m very good at collecting information, just as easily as Melody’s sister could do with me. And when it comes to dealing with people online I am super good at finding out about them elsewhere online if I have sufficient details to gain more info. I've even done this with some of my own supervisors at work before.
When I used to be a moderator on a former site, I secretly lead what you could call recon groups or spy networks, where we worked to get rid of trolls, puppet accounts, and break up abusive cliques. It was just an unofficial thing privately between me and other users who shared and collected information about others, and sometimes I was even a ‘mole’ inside the bullies’ circles. So having “operated” in that, I came to have a pretty real understanding of how these creeps work online.
Anonymity, or distance, is the weapon of choice for most, because they know - or think - they can’t be caught or punished. Some of us do know exactly who a bully is on the other end of the phone or computer screen, maybe someone we actually know in real life, but most cyber bullies are just petulant trolls with nothing better to do than pester you and others with constant assault and ridicule because they know they can. People think I’m cruel for hating Anons on GaG, but they often really are cowardly trolls, especially the pink ones. Online anonymity was invented for privacy but is just as often misused and abused.
One common way these imps operate is by trying to get you or others on their side against a particular user they dislike and want to harass. These are the obssessive ones, and often this is the case for female bullies. They will bother you almost every day about a user they hate, messaging you about what they said here, what they posted there, and giving you links to the thread hoping you will go there and vote them up or join in against the person they hate. I know because I used to have more females in my circles than males on other sites in the past and many of them operate in the same way.
I will give you many chances…
Unlike a lot of people online, I hardly ever block anybody and I will give you more chances than you really even deserve. I can be patient with people for a long time before the last sand runs out or the string finally breaks, but when it’s up, it’s up. I don’t like to be petulant and pissy like a lot of other people who block for nonsensical shit, so the only times I ever block anyone are for racist comments towards me, intensely vicious insults towards my family or my personal life, and if you are one who likes to come on my questions or posts just to repeatedly spam my content with personal assault or naysaying. Which I had to do with two users here recently. One of which I used to talk to regularly but things went downhill a while back, but even in that I was veeeeery patient with her before I decided her time was up.
Last year I had a problem here with a user who would also repeatedly harass me on almost every answer, comment, and question I made. She was an “Uber Mod” abusing her powers, and things reached the impetus when she brought her girl gang in to bother me about some bologna I didn’t even know or care about. Having enough, I wrote to the staff about her and they removed her Mod status. And having once been a moderator myself, I know how the system works and how to approach the situation.
Hound me enough, and I will finally bring the hammer down. You can poke, prod, and jeer at me but I won’t let you get away with it forever. And if you’ve noticed, I’m not one who has a tendency to resort to personal attacks with anybody unless I really, really want to but is not very common or necessary for me. If we are going to argue or debate, I will do it intelligently. I don’t care if you don’t agree with me on a topic, but I won’t tolerate intense brutality. I will shut you down.
Don’t back down…
We all have a right to be online and express ourselves, say what we think, and post what we want. I don’t have to agree with you, and you don’t have to agree with me, but respect MUST be maintained, even in criticism.
Some people are actually killing themselves because of harassment they face from online bullies or attackers. But you don’t have to let it end that way. If someone is repeatedly harassing you, you don’t have to take it. I know a lot of people do solve the problem by blocking, but if your cyber bully is particularly serpentine or malicious like Melody’s sister was, you CAN take action if you have an avenue. Don’t sit back and take something like that or be afraid to have something done about it. These cowardly individuals are scum of the earth and need to be dealt with.
Keep doing your thing and DO NOT run or hide from anyone.