Have you ever been cyberbullied? Or has anyone told you that they’ve been attacked online? Well, I’m here to share with you what it was like to be cyberbullied on a global social platform — Twitter.
How did it happen? I tweeted something about police brutality back in May 2020 when it was an ongoing hot issue. It wasn’t directly about what was happening, but rather a tweet to defend an artist who wore a police costume for a broadcast in South Korea. The choice of outfit made people upset and they demanded an apology from the stylists. However, some started blaming the artist who wore the police costume for being insensitive and demanded an apology from him. So, I defended him as outfits were set weeks prior to the show when the issue was not spoken about.
In the beginning, people seemed to agree with me, but then a few people started calling me insensitive as well. Then things started to turn the wrong way — more and more people came forward and said things to me.
Worms for brain. Deranged. Rotten. Racist. Disgusting. Insane.
These are some of the names I was called.
At first, I was angry as I didn’t get why they couldn’t understand my thoughts, but as the notifications kept coming in, my fingers started getting cold, I started shaking, and my chest felt warm. I was scared and humiliated — as if I was stripped naked in front of a crowd. In short, I was miserable. I started to question myself, “Did I do wrong?”, “Was I really being insensitive and racist?”. Thoughts of me being the worst human being alive flooded me. Then one tweet really hit me, “a name won’t take her life”.
I was horrified! Was I really that worthless? It was as if the world turned dark and I was sucked into a maze with no light at all.
Thankfully, my online friends who saw what was happening reached out to me, supported me, and told me to ignore those tweets. Some of which I’ve never spoken to also sent me a private message telling me to breathe and take a rest.
One of them called me directly, making sure I was fine and told me to get off the site. And I did, I logged off my account and talked to my friends.
It took me two weeks to calm down. I diverted my attention to my assignments and watched a couple of dramas and a variety of shows. These helped me to forget about the incident, but the best of all were the talks I had with my friends. Their motivation made me stronger and allowed me to stand up for myself.
Till today none of my family members know this had happened to me. I didn’t want to worry them. Truthfully, I didn’t know how to speak about it to them.
I’m forever thankful for the people who reached out to me when they saw what happened. Without them, I’m not sure if I would’ve survived.
I learned that the internet can be a scary place and that people you don’t know at all can ‘scream’ and call you ugly things; but I also learned how to protect myself, to always think twice before I tweet my opinion because, sometimes, it’s better to just keep your opinion to yourself.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you, if you’ve ever seen someone feeling down, reach out to them, you never know what is going on in a person’s mind. And if you need someone to talk to, seek help from someone you can trust.
Do you feel uneasy talking to someone you know personally? You can make an appointment with Taylor’s Centre For Counseling Services or reach out to Befrienders 24-hour hotline at 03-76272929.
Denise Chang is currently pursuing Foundation in Communication at Taylor's College. She is also the Director of Public Relations and Events for Taylor’s AKPK Club.
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