Most social media savvy folks out there would have faced cyberbullying at least once, whatever be the reason. Bullies are using the online space to post abusive content about another person. A Facebook group, a place where we can create a community, where people can help each other for a cause, is also not free from cyberbullying.
I would like to share my story on being cyberbullied so much that I had to leave an animal welfare group on Facebook, and even considered running away from the city. Some self-proclaimed animal welfare activists came down against me with targeted trolling and bullying over something which had nothing to do with the post I had made.
Let me give you some background. I was struggling with depression after a job loss, it was that time some seven puppies came into my life. They changed my life a lot. Out of seven, three got adopted within four days which gave me the confidence that I can get the rest easily adopted. No sooner, I realized that the truth is far from that, Indie puppies are difficult to get adopted.
I responded to seven other requests online for fostering and took the responsibility of taking care of them. As days and weeks went by, I was unable to find a home for the puppies. I was unable to find enough freelance work sitting at home looking after the puppies, neither did my fundraising campaigns help. I messaged mutual acquaintance saying that I wanted to get rid of the bigger ones, probably abandon them in a shelter home. She took it in the wrong way and circulated the message on a random WhatsApp group that I am going to abandon all puppies on the road.
I never got to know what was being discussed in these WhatsApp groups. Some random guys messaged me, threatening to file a case, and coming over to my place with an animal welfare officer and take away all puppies. I put up resistance and refused to abide by to their demand. A lady who has always been nice, helped me negotiate with them, and keep 4 puppies. When they came over to my place as self-proclaimed activists, they all turned out to be a young bunch of people trying to moral police me. During this time, unfortunately, one of the puppies I was fostering ran away. This made matters worse.
I also found out that they were keeping screenshots of my chat history and Facebook posts to continue bullying me.
It was really awful to be moral policed and harassed by a group of self-proclaimed activists, but when cyberbullying began to spread online I suddenly felt as if I had nowhere to hide. I got messages from the same people saying that I will not get help, the world would be better off without me, and that everybody hated me. I was bullied, trolled and humiliated in my last post, where I justified that rescuers can ask for help, and there is nothing wrong in that.
I lost all self-esteem and became paranoid about people.
The more I responded, the more it was easier for them to attack me. These folks went on tagging all their friends to attack me, and even threaten of publishing my private WhatsApp conversation with mutual acquaintances to prove their point. Gosh! I never thought that they will stoop down to such level to prove their point.
I was trolled and humiliated with half cooked stories repeatedly with a maligned intend to put me in a bad light and destroy all my supporters, which will wash away everything good I might have done so far.
I haven’t done anything wrong. Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes in their life, so did I. I was waiting for the person running a rescue to be free from some responsibility so that he can give free vaccination to all puppies. I was doing everything I could to take care of them. I took up puppies more than I can handle without realizing that I didn’t have the resources to keep them. I didn’t realize that we live in a society where no one wants to adopt an Indie puppy.
I strongly feel that cyberbullying and humiliating someone for this mistake is not fair. We learn from our mistakes and grow to be better people. I would have been happier to accept and understand if it was explained to me in person than being trolled, humiliated and harassed online.