After He Harassed Her Online, How This Woman Clapped Back Is Worth Your Applause
Lifestyle| | By Jason Owen
In the age of the internet, online harassment is an all-too important issue. Cyber bullying has become rampant and given that social media users can mostly hide behind the anonymity of their digital persona, often people will use that wall to shield themselves from the exact harassment they bring on others.
But after this incident, one woman’s powerful response to harassment has a lot of people standing up and applauding her.
On January 7, a popular online belly dancer allegedly received a message from one of her “fans,” asking the woman if she found him “physically” attractive. According to the belly dancer’s friend, who reached out to Your Daily Dish about the incident, the belly dancer was driving at the time and couldn’t respond right away to the man’s frequent messages and missed calls. [Note: Your Daily Dish will not publish the harassed woman’s name, or the accused.]
Hoping to dissuade the harasser, the belly dancer finally responded, saying, “I think everyone has something beautiful about them.” She also told him she was in a relationship and not to call her.
That wasn’t enough for the man, who quickly became overly aggressive in his messages and still continued to call the woman. In order to turn the tables on the harasser, the belly dancer posted screenshots of their conversation to Facebook, where she received an outpouring of support from her over 500,000 Facebook followers. The man harasses belly dancer photos went viral.
Unfortunately, the photos do not meet Facebook’s privacy standards and were removed. That’s when the women all started posting the photos of the online conversation, which reportedly embarrassed the man. As the harasser’s name spread through the community, at least one other woman noticed that the same man verbally harassed her as well.
In the second woman’s response, she shows that the harasser didn’t want the women posting his name because he was afraid his family and friends might see that he repeatedly harasses women online. (Boo hoo.)
Others noted that by deleting the posts showing the man harassing women, Facebook was in their opinion “protecting” abusers.
One commenter noted that searching for the abuser’s name on Facebook now returned no results, meaning he either removed his own page or Facebook took action against him.
For the belly dancer’s sake, she’s hoping he learned something from the experience.
“Well, I would like to think that he has learned a valuable lesson,” she wrote on Facebook Tuesday.
On Thursday, the belly dancer told Your Daily Dish, “Getting told complimentary things and then being verbally accosted when you don’t reply or they don’t get a reply that they deem desirable is not uncommon. Dick pics are not uncommon. Being sent pornographic gifs, images, and videos is not uncommon … People often assume ‘Well you’re a dancer, your pages are public, with a relatively large following, and you attract all this attention, it’s bound to happen,’ but the thing is that those things are not really a factor for this to happen. It happens to so many women, whether they have private or public profiles, whether they are dancers or not.”
The belly dancer also hopes that her incident shines a light on how Facebook handles these situations, which she notes the social media network currently just tells people who are harassed to block the harasser’s account. The belly dancer said that’s not enough.
“I feel like Facebook needs a new approach for reporting harassment. When you try to report it it just tells you to block them. That is just a band aid until they make a new profile or just start harassing someone else. There should be an option when reporting harassment or bullying to submit screen captures to be reviewed, and if the individual is indeed harassing someone or as it turned out in this instance multiple individuals their account suspended,” wrote the belly dancer in an email to YDD.
Since posting the images, the belly dancer has been heartened by the overwhelming show of support for her, not only from her own fans, but from men, women, and “just people with decency and respect for others.”
“I think a part of the incredible response is that so many of us have experienced it and just were relieved it was being talked about openly. When one person speaks up against wrong doing it helps empower others to do the same. And equally important I think it is hoped to be a deterrent to those who have harassed and to show them that this is not acceptable behavior. This is not how you treat people and you will be held accountable for your actions,” wrote the belly dancer.
This serves as a reminder for harassers that if you come at the queen, you best not miss.
See the full conversation unfold below.