Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Understanding and Dealing with Online Harassment

Haters Walk on Water“Fatties Gonna Fat.”

That’s the first message I ever received from an internet troll. I had two immediate thoughts: What does this even mean, and who has enough free time to send this kind of nonsense to strangers?

Now, over six years later, I’ve become an expert in online harassment the hard way. There are forums devoted specifically to hating me, and the largest has over 4,000 members. Websites exist with the sole purpose of ruining my reputation, and there are coordinated efforts to convince people to cancel bookings and abandon partnerships with me. Map routes from my home to the places I work out have been published online, along with my home address and telephone number. Trolls have shown up at events I attend, including at speaking engagements and triathlons. They’ve taken pictures and videos and harassed me, the event organizers, and other participants. Once they even tripped the fire alarm during a speaking gig.

It’s one thing to have to deal with the trolls who inevitably show up in every comment section and social media platform, but the stakes are raised even higher when you become personally targeted for harassment. Here is what I’ve learned about trolls and harassers, and how to deal with them.

Click here to read my full piece about this over at Better Humans!

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