Proudly Safe SA


Home » Online Threats

Online Threats

Direct and constant offenses about sexual orientation, gender identity and/or cultural background can be experienced by LGBTIQA+ individuals. Being threatened online is never OK and being threatened because of your sexuality, gender identity or cultural background can be particularly hurtful. 

Image-based abuse is defined by someone sharing intimate images of you, including pictures of you without religious or culturally significant attire which you normally publicly wear. This is very serious and you should report it to eSafety.

Adult cyber abuse is outlined by someone menacingly, harassingly or offensively threatening you. It is designed to cause you serious harm and is never okay. Your first step is to report this behavior to the service, platform or app used to share, post or send the damaging content. Secondly, it is important to report it to eSafety.

We have information and resources to support you if the abuse online is a part of family and domestic violence.

“Outting” someone due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Some people maliciously use online services, platforms and apps to threaten to expose your sexual orientation or gender identity to your family, friends, colleagues, or your communities.

“Growing up in a religious family, I always felt like I was living a double life.”

“I loved my family and my faith, but I also knew that I was gay and that this part of my identity was not accepted by my community. I kept my sexuality a secret, only sharing it with a few close friends. But my life changed forever when I received a message from a stranger online. This person threatened to out me to my family and my church if I didn’t send them money. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I felt like my life was spiralling out of control. I reported them to eSafety and their profile has vanished.”


Community or religious shaming

LGBTIQA+ people can be targeted on dating apps by individuals with intensely-held religious or cultural customs and beliefs.

“My secret was exposed. A family member had found out that I was gay and told my parents.”

I was called to a family meeting, and what happened next will haunt me forever. My parents and other family members were furious with me. They told me that being gay was a sin and that I was going against everything that our faith stood for. They berated me and told me that I was a disappointment. I felt like I was being attacked from all sides, and I didn’t know how to defend myself. I tried to explain to them that being gay was just a part of who I was, but they wouldn’t listen. They told me that I needed to change and that I was making a mistake. I felt like I was being rejected by the only family I had ever known. For months, I felt like I was living in a nightmare. I was constantly being attacked by my family and I felt like I had no one to turn to. I felt like I was losing my faith, my family, and my sense of self. I was struggling to keep my head above water. However, with time and support from friends, I started to heal. I realised that my family’s beliefs were not a reflection of my worth as a person. I found the courage to live my life authentically, and I learned to love and accept myself for who I was. I also found a new community of people who accepted me for who I was, and this gave me a renewed sense of hope and purpose.

– Alton*


When you are made to feel uncomfortable, threatened, or worried by an individual keeping persistent track of you online, that is known as cyberstalking. Even after you make it clear you are not interested, they could still keep trying to contact you and get your attention. These behaviours can range from repeated posting, sending or sharing unwanted abusive comments, false accusations about you or sexual requests. They could threaten you with sexual, physical or verbal violence or smear your reputation.

Offline stalking often accompanies cyberstalking. You can read advice from the eSafety commission on cyberstalking and take the step you need to protect yourself.

If you are in immediate danger or at risk of harm, call the police on Triple Zero (000).

“I received a friend request from someone I didn’t know on social media.”

I accepted the request, thinking it was just another way to connect with people. However, things quickly took a turn for the worse. The person who had friended me started sending me messages, and they were not friendly. They started sending me abusive messages, telling me that I was ugly, stupid, and worthless. They also started threatening to harm me and my loved ones. At first, I tried to ignore the messages and to block the person. However, they just kept creating new accounts and sending me more messages. I felt like I was being attacked from all sides, and I didn’t know how to make it stop. I started to feel anxious and paranoid, constantly looking over my shoulder and checking my phone. I felt like I was losing control of my life, and I was struggling to keep my head above water. I decided to take action and to report the cyber stalker to the authorities. With the help of a friend, I gathered evidence of the harassment and presented it to the police. They took my case seriously and started an investigation.


What to do

Gather evidence

Take pictures of the chat or the post. It is good to keep this evidence to report it to the police, eSafety or online services if things turn nasty. You can read more about gathering evidence here.

Report hurtful content

Report hurtful profiles or posts to the platform, service or app. Most apps reporting links can be found in the eSafety commissioner’s eSafety Guide.

Avoid further contact

Once you have gathered evidence, you are able to use in-app features and settings on the web browser to unfollow, mute or block the individual and change your privacy settings. Furthermore, the eSafety commissioner’s eSafety Guide is the place to read about key online safety functions for many online services, platforms or apps.