Proudly Safe SA
ENHANCING E-SAFETY AND COMMUNITY CONNECTION FOR LGBTIQA+ YOUNG PEOPLE
Online abuse recovery
If you have experienced online abuse, it is crucial to seek support, prioritize self-care, and try to maintain a positive outlook on life. Taking care of yourself and focusing on the good things in your life can help you recover and move forward.
It is common to feel anxious or depressed as a result of online abuse, which is a form of trauma. It can be helpful to remember that you are not alone and that many others in the LGBTIQ+ community may have experienced similar forms of abuse and be coping with similar emotions. Reach out for support and know that you are not alone.
- Tip 1: Healing Time
For some people, the effects of online abuse may require a period of healing. This may be necessary due to feelings of vulnerability or injury, or because they have been deceived by someone they trusted. Healing from these experiences can take time, and it is important to be patient and to take care of yourself during this process.
“However, my experience took a dark turn when I was stalked by someone I had met through one of the apps. The stalker constantly harassed me online, sending threatening messages and showing up at my workplace. I felt scared and violated, unsure of how to escape their grasp. However, with time and support from loved ones, I was eventually able to reach the acceptance stage. I realised that the stalking was not my fault and that I deserved to be happy and to find love. I also took steps to increase my online safety, such as using a different username and only sharing personal information with people I trusted.”
- Tip 2: Brain Training
It is common for individuals who experience online abuse to blame themselves for what happened. However, it is important to remember that no one deserves to be abused. If you are struggling with thoughts about the abuse and find it difficult to move on, there are resources and support available to help you cope. Practising mindfulness, accessing resources from organisations like Beyond Blue, and speaking with a counsellor from a LGBTIQA+ support service can all be helpful in addressing the experience and moving forward.
“I was shocked and hurt, and I found myself getting caught up in the negativity and anger. I realised that I needed to change my approach if I wanted to avoid getting caught up in online negativity and trolling. I began to train my brain to think differently, focusing on positivity and mindfulness. I started by unfollowing accounts that spread negativity and hate, and instead, followed accounts that inspired and uplifted me. I also made a conscious effort to focus on the positive aspects of my life, such as my relationships, hobbies, and accomplishments. I also practised mindfulness and self-reflection, taking time to reflect on my thoughts and feelings and to let go of negativity. I learned to not take online comments and insults to heart, and instead, to view them as a reflection of the person who wrote them, rather than a reflection of myself.”
- Tip 3: Release The Blame
It is not your fault if you have experienced online abuse. It is natural to second-guess yourself and wonder what you could have done differently, but it’s important to remember that we have no control over how others behave or respond. Do not blame yourself for the actions of others.
“But I never expected the backlash that followed. The person I called out directed their abuse towards me, using hurtful and demeaning language. I felt overwhelmed with self-blame, thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have spoken up in the first place.However, as time passed, I started to have conversations with friends and family about what happened. They reminded me of my values and why speaking up against injustice was important. I also sought support from a therapist, who helped me understand that the abuse I received was not my fault and that I had done nothing wrong by speaking up.”
- Tip 4: Experience Sharing
If you have experienced online abuse, it may be difficult to reach out for help, but talking to someone about your experience can be very beneficial. Our suggestions for talking to friends and family, as well as accessing resources from LGBTIQA+ support services, can be helpful in finding the support you need. Remember, you are not alone and there are people who can help you through this difficult time.
“The person I was talking to convinced me to send them money, promising to pay me back. But, of course, that never happened. At first, I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I couldn’t believe that I had fallen for such a scam. I felt like a fool and didn’t want to tell anyone about what had happened. But as time passed, I realised that keeping it to myself was only making things worse.So, I mustered up the courage to share my experience with a close friend. To my surprise, they had also been scammed on a dating app before. They shared their own story and offered me words of support and encouragement.”