Cyber-flashing: 'I get explicit messages every day'

BBC News
BBC News
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“I receive explicit, inappropriate pictures and videos from men daily.”

Fitness influencer Elle Edwards has spoken to the BBC about dealing with...
He's writing as a subject like have you missed me? And all this creepy stuff um and sending really disgusting graphic images. There's literally so many and they're all different angles of his private parts and I go into my Emails you know I'm gonna do a bit of work and I get that. I was always fascinated with social media growing up like I even had a YouTube account when I was like a kid to post like dances on and things like that and then when I was at university after my first year I decided to sort of get in shape. So I started my Instagram account and I was just like sharing my workouts, tracking my progress, and sharing pretty much like my whole life. It sort of just blew up. The world of social media is a minefield. I get a lot of positivity. People are really sweet but then you also get a lot of strange comments as well particularly because as a fitness influencer, your physique and your body is the focus. People say really disgusting things like really disgusting. In your comment section, you can't post pictures so they're limited to text so then you go across the DMs and sometimes people will send like really disgusting vulgar um pictures and videos of themselves. I would say I receive like explicit inappropriate uh like pictures and videos from men daily. I was just checking my DMs and this pops up. He had another. This literally so many and they're all different angles. Sometimes it's really uh like intense like the videos will be like saying my name or something like that. I've had a scenario where uh something that's happened online has really got out of control. This guy was very obsessive. He he knew exactly where I lived. He found out my address and he said he knew I was running in the mornings. He knew what floor I was on in my building and it got to the Point where I can leave my flat. I was so terrified. I shut all my blinds and basically got to the point where this guy was like, if you don't send me a naked photo, I will release your address to lots of bad men and yeah, it was it was a lot. It was really intense and inescapable and he made like hundreds of accounts. I was just coping with this situation and this guy was messaging me hundreds of times a day and it eventually got to a point where I completely crumbled and I went to the police. I didn't know what this person looked like. I didn't know where they were or whether they're watching me. Girls and young women are having to put up with endless daily sexual harassment including cyber flashing that it's become almost normalized but this is an intrusion into their space every single day. I really welcome the law commission's report. It's a welcome first step but I think we need to now go further. The cyber flashing law needs to focus on the core role which is non consent. That's the harm. I feel like for me, it's the fear that it's not just gonna be a picture and then I move on. It does gonna be a personality behind the picture that is gonna harass me. And and that's really common. I think it's really sad.

Posted 8 days ago in Social Issues