Cyber Harassment Survivor’s Kit – STORIES OF SURVIVORS
How Cyber-Harassment Ruined My Life
And then I got a phone call from my parents. The gist of it was pack your things, you’re coming home, you’re a disgrace, and no, you don’t have a choice – you’ve brought down our family name! As I have mentioned before, my family is very conservative, so I took great pains to keep my personal life under wraps, away from their eyes. However, my parents seemed to have found out about the whole Facebook affair – but how?
I would find out later in the car on the long drive back to KL that someone had sent links to my FB page and screenshots of J’s post to my aunt, who then told my parents. I was lectured on how I had disgraced the family, and had acted unbecoming of a woman by having a child out of wedlock. I would also like to add how they flat-out refused to hear anything I had to say, and took everything in the FB posts and comments at face value.
When we got home, I had my laptop and phone taken away, and was made a prisoner in my own home until I could prove that “I had repented”. First my friends, and now my family were against me. I got extremely depressed and just slept constantly. I will not talk about how my family treated me, although I will say that I was not physically abused and leave it at that. I will say that it was enough to make me ask for J to take me back, so I could escape my family after two months under their roof.
J and I were together for slightly under two months – he did certainly seem like he still had feelings for me, but he also became extremely over-protective and controlling, with a bad temper on top of it all. I was only allowed to go places if he was with me, and he constantly checked my phone, among other things. I still found this arrangement liberating – I could finally contact my friends and tell them what happened, though I didn’t have very many left after many of them turned against me. I was still depressed – I didn’t have the energy to think up a plan, and just went through the days like a robot on autopilot. One day, we had a nasty argument, and then he threatened to contact my family.
My parents and two of my cousins came to J’s apartment in Penang and literally dragged me away. I would like to say that I went out kicking and screaming, but I just let them take me quietly. I spent a few days in my own house as a prisoner, and overheard my family members talking about sending me to a religious rehab centre for “unwed mothers” and those who had “social problems”. On hearing this, I panicked and tried to contact someone to help me, but that just led to me getting screamed at by my parents even more. They shipped me off to the rehab centre against my will, but this time with quite a bit of screaming and kicking.
*Inspired by a real survivor’s account